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It was a boy… I don’t remember which boy, but he must have been really neat because I do remember rearranging my locker schedule and my hall path so I could see him during as many passing periods as possible. Something about his face or his persona held the promise of joy and rapture for all my limited, high-school pursuits toward fulfillment. No, it was not love, but it was the intoxicating hope of love. The funny thing is, once he lost his shimmer and shine (no, I don’t remember how that happened either), I began shifting my schedule and path in every effort to avoid said boy. Fickle, fickle youth!

And yet, isn’t this a picture of all humanity in relation to our Creator? It is much like the garden. Abiding is always simple, but when we are in love with God, it seems easy, like the heart-palpitating days of a crush. We just want to be with God, learn more about Jesus, and experience communion with the Spirit. However, when the sheen fades… we hit hard times, we are offended by another believer, we experience rejection or loss, we enter a wilderness, or time simply passes… we enter the scene in which our Bible sits forlornly on the side table, collecting layers of dust as we chase after other pursuits that bear the false promise of renewal.

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! Why spend money on that which is not bread, and your labor on that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of foods.”     ~Isaiah 55:1-2

What a promise from Creator YHWH! If we come to Him, not only will we not have to pay for the true delight and sustenance we crave, but he says our “soul will delight”! In Matthew 11, Jesus offers a similar assurance.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”       ~Matthew 11:28-30

What? Delight and nourishment without cost? Rest with a gentle and humble yokemate? How could we say no to these offers? Why do we not abide? Why are we so prone to hide from the good we know our soul will acquire when we persist in the presence of God?

While the end result of abiding is peace and rest (and oh, do we know we need rest!), the path to begin abiding can be an outright battle. There are so many reasons we do not abide:

No time… Kids… spouse… family obligations… no time… more sleep… long commute… don’t know where to start… exhausted… no time… interruptions… apathy… anxiety… depression… no time…

Hear me, loved one, I understand some of these are genuine struggles. I am not diminishing the battle. I am merely naming the things that are often given power to keep us far from our God who has done everything to draw us near.

Many people I know point the finger at their family as the reason they cannot spend more time abiding in the presence of God. I get it. As the wife of a creative, bi-vocational minister and mother of 4 over a ten-year spread, I understand that family obligations can make it tough to find extensive, focused time pockets to just be with God.

My mother and sister also raised children with special needs. The mental stamina required to survive in some of those scenarios can mean any time there is a moment to pause, you find yourself passing out from exhaustion. It is a genuine hurdle.

On the other side of the discussion, I have unmarried friends without children.  They have an equally long list of reasons they find it impossible to spend daily, concentrated time with their Creator. My mama friends look at them and say, “If I had your time, I would spend hours with God!” To which they reply, “You just don’t understand.” And in this fashion, we excuse ourselves from calling.

Again, I am not invalidating our genuine fight to make 24 hours enough for all that life seems to require. But here is the rub (thank you, Shakespeare): we create time to do the things we deem necessary for affection and survival. Attachment theory is prevalent lately in conversations among both spiritual and psychological circles, touting proof that we, from infancy, will behave in ways we think will prolong our survival or garner us the approval we so desperately need and desire to develop and thrive. Recently, my eldest son gets up with the sun to spend an hour composing either his fiction or music. In the last 18 months, he has found an affinity and a passion in these areas, and he is in love! While pulling him from his bed used to be a feat almost as miraculous as raising Lazarus, he is now often up and productive before anyone in the house. Why? It fuels his soul. It makes him feel life and value. It connects him with his Creator. It is part of his means to abide.

And we know that we need this. In fact, God and Jesus both agreed that our need for abiding in God’s Presence and in His Word was as necessary as our physical food. And Jesus said it after many days of hunger!

“…man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”        (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4)

So, if I know that spending daily, consistent time abiding with the Trinity will do me so much good, why do I still hide? And it is hiding. We have to be honest about that. If we were loving Jesus with our whole selves as we are commanded (Deut. 6:5; Matt 22:37) we would rearrange our schedules and our plans just to catch a glimpse of His precious face. Can you hear Him calling? “Abide in me…” (John 15:4).

How could you rearrange your schedule by even 30 minutes during the day to spend time abiding with Jesus?

  1. Is there entertainment you can cut out to make time for Jesus?
  2. Could you get up 30 minutes earlier or go to bed 30 minutes later? Could you shut out or shut off all digital communication and social media in order to give Jesus your full attention?
  3. Are there tools you could use to turn commute time, waiting time, or lunchtime into abiding time? (Need ideas? We’d love to share some tools with you. Contact us here.)

Make a commitment today that you will stop hiding in your circumstances and begin the shift to abiding.

You were made for more (in Him)! You were created to live a life of Calling!