Remain in me

Since July, my focus has been on my marriage and my relationship with the Lord. It has been the single most transformative period of my life, and I was happy and content to continue as such. However, I had some changes in my schedule come up unexpectedly over Christmas. Changes I felt peace about making room for.

In the past, it’s been hard for me to have a lot on my plate. I just haven’t had the bandwidth for much more than the basics like work, marriage, and family. It’s usually ended badly when I’ve taken on more. But having peace about something makes all the difference. I wanted to follow where God was leading.

But even though there’s peace, there’s still a new rhythm and balance to find, which inevitably will result in trial and error. I’ve gone through this before without much luck. I don’t want to go through that rigamarole this time. Ideally, I’d like to have it figured out before it even begins.

I took to my journal to try to sort it out, and the prompt at the top of the page was, “God can do in a moment what we cannot do in a lifetime. Ask for God’s favor, power, and intervention today.” So I started asking for him to show me what my new life balance is supposed to look like. Instead of mapping out my weeks and trying a hundred different schedules, why not go directly to the one who has the answer?

What I felt was a whisper…Remain in me.

img_4587I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. – John 15:8

It’s not a black and white answer like, “On Wednesday nights you’ll do this and on Friday mornings you’ll do this.” But it’s an answer that I understand and that makes it so completely simple.

Remain in Christ.

Over the last year I’ve seen the fruit of spending hours each week in prayer and in the Word. I’ve been able to handle the curve balls of life unlike any other time. My focus has been on the Lord and I have hidden myself in him. God has indeed produced fruit in my life where otherwise I would have nothing.

I felt peace, so I know that he’ll provide what I need to see it through. He’ll give me the extra energy and time. He’ll bring the resources. He’ll supply my every need.

My answer isn’t a perfectly planned schedule. It’s residing in his presence.


Featured photo by Maja Petric on Unsplash

Come back

I’ve been out of whack mentally and physically this week. I’ve been putting all my mental energies on something I’m waiting on, and I’ve had a lot of dairy lately – which my body doesn’t tolerate well. It’s made for a tough week both at work and at home. I feel pretty drained this morning even though I slept for 10 hours.

But even though the ramifications of the dairy are irritating and uncomfortable, it’s nothing compared to the mental energy I’ve spent on this thing. That is truly what is stealing my peace and my joy.

This morning I spent time with the Lord and was reminded of Psalm 46:10 which says,

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

It got me thinking…what can I accomplish with all my thoughts on what worries or concerns me?

Nothing, except for that which is harmful.

All my worries, all my planning and analyzing, get me nowhere. All it does is make me anxious, discontent, and lose sight if the here and now. It adds nothing to my life. My constant thinking does nothing to speed the process along. My worry actually robs me.

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Instead, I need to come back to focusing on today, and stewarding what the Lord has already given me. I want to steward it well. He has entrusted much to me, and just because he is working on something else that may come to pass, doesn’t mean that I also need to work on it. I have responsibilities to attend to. I have blessings to enjoy. I have gifts and relationships to invest in and take care of.

God is omnipresent. It’s good to remind myself of this. He is working in many, many ways and areas that I cannot see. But he is also right beside me. He hasn’t left me. While he is working, he is also still teaching and directing me.

So the reminder today is to not get so caught up in what could be, but to come back to God so he can help us steward well what is.


Featured image by unsplash.com/@federicorespini

Remember

The Lord has done so many things in my life to prove that he is the Lord, God Almighty. Why should he need to keep proving himself if I chose to disbelieve? Maybe you’ve been there lately, where you’ve been asking God to prove himself. We’ve all been there. But as I think back on even the last year, he has proven himself time and again not only that he is active in my life, not only that he’s guiding me and whispering to my heart, but that he is God Almighty.

As I read this passage below, I quickly realize my own failings and how easily I turn my back on God and blame him for the trials I am going through.

10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, 11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”

13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:10-14 NLT

Don’t be afraid. Watch the Lord rescue you. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. How many times have I turned on God at the first sign of trouble? God had a plan for the Israelites. God has a plan for us! All he needed was for the Isrealites to trust him, like a child trusts a father. Hadn’t God already proven who he was with the plagues alone? How could they witness that and still despair? How can I?

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34 NLT

The best thing I can do is to cultivate a heart of trust and dependence on the Lord. He has proven himself trustworthy time and again. And the biggest thing that gets in the way of his provision is my own stubborn heart and my own disbelief. I need to remember what he’s done and honor him by trusting wholeheartedly in him.

Lord, help us. Help us to seek you first through all things in life. Help us to know your voice and to stand firm on your promises. Give us a child-like faith.