I have read a thousand verses and sung a thousand songs; prayed a thousand prayers and heard a thousand words…
Yet here I sit, constantly wondering about God and His goodness—I’ve realized my greatest points of question have come at times when I am not being consistent or intentional in pursuing Him with my time. There is this really funny thing that goes something like: I actually have to spend time with the Lord in order to get to know Him better and continue cultivating relationship and fruitfulness with Him.
I believe the word that is emphasized in this regard is abide.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:4)
If that’s not a convicting verse, I do not know what is—every time I read it, I think about how I’m pursuing God, even as He pursues me, and am often incredibly disappointed in my lack of intentionality regarding this matter. Not that my value as a human being or child of God decreases in these moments, but I just feel like a horrible daughter, to be real about it.
Have you ever felt that way before?
I can say with almost complete certainty that we have all felt not good enough or unfulfilled. That’s why we sin, more or less, out of need for comfort or fulfillment of some kind, but we just can’t seem to achieve the level of fulfillment we need on our own.
I am so incredibly grateful for His grace—He is very good.
But there has to be growth in the grace. Sitting where we are, not even looking to grow closer to Him or allow God to interrupt our lives in any way is cheap grace and incredibly unhealthy—it is certainly not living in abundance. It’s just bleh. I have an impressive vocabulary, as you can see with my word choice for living stagnantly – bleh.
I’ve found, though, that describing life living apart from the will of God is exactly that—this really is a perfect word to describe it; maybe there’s a less neutral term, though, that could be used, especially in seasons of depression and anxiety, but bleh seems to sum those up fairly well too.
We’re coming up on Christmas – and guys, it is by far my favorite time of year. I have never been able to accurately express the extent to which I am so much in love with this season. There is nothing like it, and I am obsessed. Something that I have always found myself thinking about this time of year: Where am I actually at with the Lord? Because day after day in December (and also most of November and October, and sometimes back into July, but it’s fine), we sing all of these songs calling Jesus to come, claiming our expectant waiting to fruition, but I think a lot of times we forget just exactly what we’re hoping in and waiting for—just a little baby. We are waiting for this Savior, coming in the most insignificant, scandalous way to make a way for us to be freed for all of our bondage to sin.
We have found it incredibly easy, I think, to look at what God has already done in a lot of confidence, work done through, at first, a little baby, but we seem to think that a lot of things He has promised to do now, or we really need Him to do, seem much too significant for Him. That’s where the abiding comes in—He literally raised Himself from the grave, singlehandedly crafted the entire universe with His breath, and knows the exact number of hairs on our heads. Are things seeming quite so big and difficult with that in mind?
If He can wrap Himself in flesh and come as a baby, He most surely can do any miraculous thing He so sees fit in any given situation.
It doesn’t seem so hard to trust Him with finances, friendships, family, and the rest of our lives in that perspective, huh? Eternal mindset, my friends, is a wonderful thing to keep at heart. So, what does it look like to spend time learning to know God in a way that causes a real shift in mindset that positions us to actually desire to create a space that allows us to abide.
Getting out of the “bleh” space that we so often find ourselves complacently living in.
Don’t you want more?
Sometimes the answer is no, and in those moments when we realize that not getting any closer to God seems easier and much more convenient, that is the very moment we absolutely have to swallow our own desires, and with teeth grinding and fists clenched, fight every part of ourselves with the one thing we know is absolutely worth it—time with the One who has spared Himself no measure of pain to get closer to us. Because we know He’s good, we know that, even when we don’t feel it.
So, He will do all things and everything just to be in relationship with us—anything, and to death and to resurrection—anything.
Breath in the air of goodness, come to Him with clenched fists and gritted teeth, and He will begin to unclench them and draw songs of praise from your tightened jaw.
It is difficult, yes, to come into line with the Heart of the Father some days, but He will be faithful and good and true when we are completely incapable of it.
He is our sufficiency.