It’s ironic, of course, that I’m writing this post on a day when: I have really lost my temper numerous times, I have been frazzled and undone the majority of the day, and there are countless things still needing my time and attention. Grayson started online schooling today (temporarily mandatory in our county) and we both just barely survived. Poor guy! I’ve apologized to him at least once already. Trying to get back in the swing of schoolwork while trying to manage my continually-curious-and-always-grabbing-pushing-pulling-things 15-month-old foster son who woke up more needy and cranky than usual has been realllly fun. For some reason, my sleep has been totally off, as well. And…. PMS. (Of course.) So, yeah, this whole week’s basically been a disaster.
I can’t help but wonder, though, did it have to be? Not only did all of those aforementioned things factor in to a stressful week (many of them outside of my control) but I didn’t take time to pray or read the Word, which was in my control. Things got too harried too quickly each day and I just didn’t put in the effort. I chose rather to veg out during any down time with social media or reading. I was just cranky and felt like I deserved to “check out” and not concentrate on anything as important as prayer and bible reading. I know, I’ve disappointed you. I’m sorry. I truly am. I wish I could be a better example! But how can I be any encouragement to you at all if I pretend that I don’t still have weeks like this?!
I was brought up short one day as I was flipping through my bible (so maybe I did crack it open once) and my eyes fell upon the multitude of underlines I had made in John 15. It’s where Jesus is talking about being the True Vine and we the branches. It’s all about abiding in Him. Irony, oh irony! On a week where I have done everything but abide in the Lord!
This passage is becoming one of my favorites, though, probably because it really puts my responsibility as a child of God in perspective. You see, I’m one of those who feel like I have to push and pull and shove and grab and just muster up my goodness and productivity. I feel like all of my failure or all of my success at anything at all is up to me alone. What a truly heavy perspective! The beauty of this passage is that it reminds me that this is anything but the case. My responsibility is actually very light and simple: abide. That’s it, abide in Him. Read it for yourself! Worried about your life being meaningless or unfruitful in the Kingdom of God? Abide (John 15:5). Concerned that you might not be effective in prayer? Abide (John 15:7). Distressed about feeling unloved or unacceptable? Abide (John 15:10). Fretting that you’ll never be able to live righteously and keep God’s law? Abide (John 15:10). Disturbed by your lack of overflowing joy in your daily life? Abide, my friend (John 15:11). Yes, it’s all there. Read it for yourself.
What does abide really mean? Biblically, it comes from the Greek word that is transliterated meno. There are some standout definitions of this beautiful word! A few of my favorites are, “to continue to be present,” “to be held continually,” and “to remain as one, not to become another or different.” Just reading those three phrases makes me feel warm and cozy inside. How could I somehow think the “work” of abiding was not far overshadowed by the gain of staying close to Him?? Yes, it’s true. There is some effort involved. But, man! Look what you get!! It doesn’t even compare. It’s like doing a day’s worth of work and getting a year’s wages!
But what does abiding in Him really feel like? Because although I did not abide this week as I should have, I do know the treasure trove that accompanies staying present with the Lord throughout the day. It feels like insulation from the sharpness of life. It feels like
you can actually see things with clarity and the proper perspective. You know that muddled/vague/fuzzy/confused/overstimulated feeling you get from browsing social media too long? Yeah, this is the opposite feeling from that. It’s like you’re continually washing your mind so that it is clean and clear and your thoughts are orderly. Being held by Him continually gives you the confidence to handle anything your day might throw at you. It feels like joy, strength, and peace. Priorities just seem to sort of line up all on their own. Remaining as one with Him is like having a continual filter that rids you of the lies the world and the Enemy continually hurl at you, and only allows the truth of God to enter your heart and mind. It makes loving and caring for others so much easier. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
If you, like me, have maybe gotten a little off track, I urge you to get back to the basics and determine to spend your days abiding with Jesus. Being continually present with Him, daily, will give you the fullness of life that you so desperately crave. With Jesus by your side, you can face anything that comes your way. Now, go seize the day!