"When you undertake some special endeavor, do not concentrate your attention and heart on it, but look upon it as something secondary; and by entire surrender to God open yourself up to God's grace like a vessel laid out ready to receive it." (The Art of Prayer)
Only when we are open and empty will we ever be truly able to receive whatever it is that God is longing to give us of himself. When our hands, and thus our hearts, are full of agendas and plans, expectations and demands, then we are indeed too full of ourselves to ever be able to see or to notice, much less receive, the gift of God's peace and His presence. Somewhere a surrender must take place; a giving up, and a giving over, of all that so often fills our hearts and our souls; in order to make room for God's Spirit and God's grace to do its work in us.