relationship vs. striving

At the risk of over-simplifying...
I think striving for righteousness is a sure sign for insufficient relationship with the Lord... either lack of depth, neglect, faulty understanding of God and His love, improper realization of the identity He has given me, a block in expressing God's love to others, or whatever. Where depth in relationship checks out, religious striving checks in. Because what one can only do through relationship tries to be done through the man's perversion of holiness - religious striving and effort - which does not work. If it did and relationship with God was only for religious leaders, then why did God send His Son to die on the cross so that all would have relationship, not just the high priest entering the Holy of Holies? To neglect relationship and to begin religiosity shows man to be more like the Pharisees than carriers of the kingdom of God.

What I also think I have seen is that it can be very easy for us Christians to go to the one of these things (the first list) that has been of help before and overemphasize it. For example, I went through a phase some years ago where I would share tons with the Lord on prayer walks, but neglected reading the Scripture to change my views of God. So what was my faulty answer if I felt frustrated at this point? For me, then it was that I just need more prayer walks (since that was the only place I was getting some help). I was not realizing that I had neglected major portions of my relationship. Similarly, some can spend their whole life coming to an incredible knowledge of who God is and man's identity and can know these things like the back of their hand, but lack connecting with God. We were designed for deep ongoing connection based on truth! The Gospel really is quite simple, Love the Lord with all of your heart and love your neighbor.