Monday, September 24, 2012

Striving and Abiding

Long before my alarm was set to go off,  I woke up thinking about tomatoes.
Buckets of tomatoes and cucumbers still in the garden waiting for me to do something with them. 
Staring into the dark more unfinished tasks began to march into my thoughts. The laundry that didn’t get moved from the washer to the dryer, we are out of mayonnaise, the checkbook needs balanced, some bills need paid and I didn't return that phone call like I said I would…. 

At this point I’m somewhere between annoyed and panicked and I’m bolting out of bed looking for a pen and paper as I mutter to myself, “ can something like tomatoes wake me up from a deep sleep? It’s not like I can go out right now and pick them at 4:30 in the morning."

I heave this heavy sigh. I’m not managing my life well at all. There is no such thing as “balance”. Not in any life season before and certainly not today. There is only crashing waves of demands and needs and to-do’s. Phone calls not returned, texts not answered and e-mails unresponded to. There was a wedding I missed, an aging woman I haven’t visited, a woman in jail waiting for a letter and grand-kids I haven’t seen to hug. As I reach in my purse for chap stick there are undelivered cards. Two sympathy cards for friends and neighbors who lost loved ones weeks ago, the card for the wedding I said I'd attend and didn't, a card for a birthday that is long past and a thank you note all rolling around with my good intentions in the purse with loose change and breath mints. 
These are just the symptoms of the bigger things that are stacked up in my life.
So I slump into a chair feeling defeated before dawn. 

It was never my goal to be BUSY.
I despise just being busy.
Who needs a breathless woman like Martha fluttering and fussing around acting like everyone should just be glad she arrived late?
So I turn to the only place I know of to seek peace in my personal little whirlwind.
His Word does not fail me with it’s ability to work grace over these scattered thoughts.
In the Psalms there is this verse that has the word "abide".


A small word that speaks of how to live large.

My personal mode of response seem to have more of a striving feel to it. 
Try harder. Get up earlier. Move faster. Make a longer list. Give myself a stern talking to and the next time anyone asks me anything I am going to say no!  

Striving is just me, in my feeble human effort trying to figure it all out, when God did not design me to figure it all out. Trying to work hard enough and long enough to make something happen 
     - -might very well make something happen, but striving and strife are unfriendly sister words.

In contrast this abiding verb is peaceful, resting and remaining in the shadow of the Almighty.
The Amplified Bible Version says it like this; "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]."

Oh I have need for some stable and fixed! So how do I remain in this tranquil secret place while surrounded by the noise and demands of life?  

 In John 15:5 it says; 
 “I am the vine, you are the branches.
He who abides in Me,
and I in him,bears much fruit;
for without Me you can do nothing."

 Abiding has this sense of just being connected. "Branches don't have to work at being  part of the vine." The branch is fed and maintains life through the vine. In real life, feet on the hot pavement living, there is ongoing communication with the Father as we walk through the day. I want to be that Mary woman who among the chaos of life, right in the middle of a party was found at the feet of the Savior because 'she has chosen the greater thing.'

The vines in the garden are still weighed down with fruit that hasn't been harvested and life all around me has needs too great for me to do it all. It makes no human sense how drawing near to God can sort out scattered thoughts or unscramble good intentions and sift what is truly important.

And as this day develops I hear of children whose most basic needs are not being met right here in our town and we prayer walk in the neighborhood and we remember again to beg mercy for sweet young parents with broken hearts because their brand new baby boy is not expected to live and for some friends that have need of a job we cry out and while we stood singing worship songs God Himself knew how we would receive the message that a friend lost her battle with cancer and was celebrating her first Sunday in Heaven while all the angels rejoiced. For El Shaddai (God Almighty) knew before the dawn broke today all the things that would be and I only knew to get up and to abide.

♥ Thank you sweet beautiful Marsha Kautz-Ryan for your words of encouragement about "branches not having to work and strive at being part of the vine." Oh I love your heart.

♥ Thanks Amy Jo @ A Moment Photography for applying your magic to my fog photo taken with your camera. =] Love you to the moon.


Unknown said...

Rhonda, Thank you for this today! Your words are exactly what I needed to hear this week!

Cindy said...

Been reading your blogs, and this one makes my heart sing! How many times this last two years God has reminded me about being a connected branch. It's becoming my mantra! Thank you for your beautiful story of its reality in your life. . .

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you! Thank you for stopping by.

© Rhonda Quaney