I love Saturdays! Today is Saturday, so I set my alarm to get up early. I was so eager to get going today that I woke up before the alarm went off and zipped through my morning routine. Hurrying as I got ready to go, I grabbed my computer, charger (just in case), Bible, journal, old Blockbuster card, fuzzy hoody, neon post-it-notes, 3 x 5 cards, and a wad of pens – more than 20, less than 40 (I’ve been told I have a pen addiction), and set off to the local coffee shop to drown myself in chai and rewrites.
My predictable, unchangeable routine is vital to my ability to create; to order words on a page in a meaningful way. It’s also vital to my ability to abide in Christ.
Whoa, wait a minute. Is that a good thing?
Before I started writing this morning, I was reading through John, chapter 15, and came across verse four. It says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
Abiding in Jesus when I don’t have a predictable routine has been a serious challenge for me…one I need to figure out soon because Christmas is coming and the first thing to go during the holidays is routine.
We’ve been on the road and operating without a routine since August of this year. I can’t even remember when I last had a “normal” day because every day has been different – interesting but different. Our travels have taken us to Oregon, Colorado, North Carolina, and Maryland. Along the way, we picked up Philip and Steven who joined the journey and have added new dimensions and opportunities for us to serve together. Some places we’ve stopped for only a couple of days, while at others, we’ve spent a week or longer.
Nothing has been predictable. Bob, Philip, and Steven seem to function well regardless of their circumstances, but I don’t. I have a difficult time transferring my healthy habits and personal discipline to unfamiliar locations and schedules. Sometimes I just grit my teeth and hang on for the duration of a trip hoping to find a rhythm in the chaos. At other times, I just give into the disruption and quit trying to maintain my own “normal.” If I do that long enough, however, a spiritual crash is sure to follow.
“Abide in Me,” Jesus said. Abide. The word can also be translated, “to stay, remain, or dwell.”
“Stay in me.”
“Remain in me.”
Jesus calls us to stay connected to him no matter what – regardless of our circumstances. If he’s calling us to remain “in him” even when we experience chaos, it must be possible to do so. It must be possible to abide even when we have been battered by the storms of life or when our routine has been disrupted. It has to be possible, or Jesus wouldn’t have told us to do it. Theoretically, I believe it is true, but practically, for me it’s a complete struggle.
I am a creature of habit – I function best and am at my best when I operate in routine. I’m also a prisoner of those very habits – I lose traction when I can’t control my environment. It’s a conundrum to be sure, but I do know this: when unexpected chaos breaks out around me, it’s in those moments that I most need to abide in Jesus.
We are going into the Christmas season next week when life gets hectic, unpredictable, and out of the ordinary. Am I going to postpone abiding with Jesus until January when all the festivities are over and life returns to normal? No, I have to find a way to maintain my walk with Christ no matter what Christmas throws at me.
Since I haven’t figured this thing out completely, I wonder how do you abide in Jesus when you’ve lost your routine?
I know one thing. Abiding is important; it’s all through Scripture.
Jesus was abiding with the Father before His incarnation – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
Jesus came to earth to abide with the disciples – “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Now we can abide in Jesus and He in us – “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4
What helps you stay connected to Jesus when circumstances threaten to spin you sideways?
© Copyright, 2012 by Donna Tallman.