A couple weeks ago at work during our staff meeting, we were discussing a passage of scripture found in John 15:4.
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit [a]of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither canyou unless you abide in Me.
My boss ended the conversation by reminding us to take the time at some point in the day to truly abide in God and to spend time just meditating and studying His Word.
Abide, what an interesting word, I thought. For some reason, the word really stuck out to me, but I wasn't sure why.
I went on about my day, thinking about the word ever so often, but thinking more about the distractions that kept my attention; a to do list of projects, a crawling baby who was in to everything, what I was going to throw together for dinner.
Fast forward to the following Sunday. I sat in the chair listening to the sermon being shared.
"Abide, it's such an intimate word isn't it?"
There it was again, that word. Abide. And again, the word just seemed to jump out at me, it was as if God was saying,"Do I have your attention yet?" You would think after two times of hearing this word being spoken to me, and clearly being aware that something about it was captivating, that I would listen a little better to what God was trying to share with me.
Unfortunately, no. Yet again, I pondered on the word through the day, wondering what it was about it that just wouldn't leave me alone? Why was it embedded in my brain?
Still not sure, I went on about my day; preparing lunch, enjoying a walk downtown, finishing some work projects, and so on. A couple days later, a friend shared a post on IG and low and behold, there in her post, my word showed up. Abide.
On INSTAGRAM. Of all places.
Okay, God. I hear you. You have my full attention. What do you want me to know?
If you look up the word "abide" in a thesaurus, these are a couple of the synonyms that are given: live with, remain, rest, hold
And just as quickly as I had shrugged the word off the previous times I had heard it, it became clear as day to me. My heavenly Father simply wanted me to abide in Him; to spend time with Him, to rest in Him and to cling, or hold to Him. You see, during the past couple of weeks, I had been in somewhat of a funk. I had just felt overwhelmed, over extended, under valued and a lack of sense of what my purpose was.
I was exhausted mentally, physically and spiritually. It's a busy time of year for me at my job and juggling work in office and from home with a tiny one who has recently mastered crawling, as well as trying to balance friendships, appointments and fitting in family time, though all great things, was wearing me down.
Being an introvert, I thrive from spending time alone when I become overwhelmed and I was craving just a moment to be alone. When my moments came though, I discovered even after having just a minute or two to myself, I was still feeling anxious and stressed. The exhaustion felt more like a heavy weight and just seemed to keep getting heavier.
When was the last time I sat down and truly talked with God? Listened to God? Just enjoyed His presence? I thought.
"Abide in me."
I hear you, God. Loud and clear. I mentioned earlier that the pastor pointed out how initiate of a word abideis. If you abide with someone you have a relationship with them. I love that one of the synonyms for abide is "live with."
Live with me, rest in me, hold to me, God says.
It's scary sometimes how complacent we can become in our walk with Christ. Over the last two weeks, I still attended my small group bible study, still went to church, had godly conversations, read pieces of scripture almost daily, all good things, but my time was spent doing things and not spending one on one time with my Creator, with my Father. My time over the past couple weeks had been more focused on remembering to do things,but not sitting down and actually talking with God.
Just as my friends desire to sit down and verbally talk about life, how we are doing, what's new, what hurts, what funny thing happened, God desires for me to sit down and share with Him; to seek comfort and rest in Him, to tell him why I'm so exhausted, to cry with Him, to laugh with Him, to thank Him, to simply share my heart with Him. As a mom, it is so hard sometimes to find a minute to physically sit down and have a conversation, with anyone for that matter, whether it's your spouse, your friend, let alone, God.
But if we are not abiding in our Father, life is so much harder.
As the branch cannot bear fruit [a]of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither canyou unless you abide in Me.
The second part of this verse is so true. What I noticed about myself over the last two weeks was how different my mood and actions were. Anger and frustration seemed to constantly be sitting, just waiting for any chance they could get to erupt out of me. I felt defeated. Unkind words would fly out of my mouth to my husband, I quickly would become aggravated with tiny things that my daughter would do, which normally wouldn't bother me.
I was not abiding in my Father, and it was evident. My branch was not bearing fruit.
When I saw the word abide for the third time and finally understood what my Father was wanting, I was so convicted. It took time being on social media for God to finally fully capture my attention.
Let me tell you, I did a heart check right then and there and my priorities were not where they needed to be. My time was not being spent where it should have been. You know those friends that you love dearly, but sometimes you go long periods of time without seeing, then when you finally do see them, it feels as is if you picked up right where you left off and the love they have for you is so comforting and warm?
That's how I felt when I finally set down and talked with God, only better; when I finally set down and shared my heart with Him and sought rest from Him, I truly felt rejuvenated, I felt peace. Life isn't easy. It's chaotic and busy. Your time is constantly being asked for, by both good things and bad things.
But if you're not spending time with the One who Created all that is, who created time itself, if you're not abidingin the Father, you will experience exhaustion and defeat; your actions and words will reflect your lack of time spent resting and living with the Father. You may find temporary relief, but nothing will satisfy like the peace of God, the kind of rest that only God can give.
So the next time your sweet babe takes a nap, and you go to turn on the TV to binge watch an episode of your favorite Netflix series (guilty), or go to wash the dishes, or fold the laundry, or take a nap, (I am so guilty of all these, it hurts just typing them out), instead choose to sit down and spend some time with your Father, your friend.
Trust me, it will be the most restful thing you could possibly do.