When we moved into our new house, two hours away from all that had been familiar for so many years, it took me several months to begin to settle into my surroundings. As much as I was excited to be living at the beach and in this town, even a short trip to get milk felt awkward in all the newness.
After three years now, most activities feel less like an adventure and more like a settled place of home. This precious port city has been a safe haven in hard seasons for our family. We have learned to abide here and despite the trying circumstances in our lives, we have loved it here.
Abiding takes a settling in, of sorts. Abiding is remaining and dwelling in a particular place. There are boundaries to the location and there is familiarity.
As believers we are called to abide in Christ in John chapter 15. He encourages his discouraged disciples with the words, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
The comfort, peace, joy, nourishment and growth comes from the Vine. The Source of all things gives of Himself for His own. We are the branches. We are the ones dependent and needy. We are not made to be self sufficient.
We were created to be dependent, otherwise He wouldn’t have made a garden for man, a woman for man, a job for man. He would have dropped man off and removed his hands. But instead he holds our very being together and provides man each breath to fill his lungs until the very day He returns man to dust. It is all Him and all in His hands.
As the branch depends on the Vine for all the things, so we depend on God for all the things (whether we know it or not). And there, that very place of dependance and connection and where we are called to abide. That is where we are to settle into and live.
Abide in the Vine. Remain connected. Let His Words be so alive in your mind that it is living in you. Let all that you do turn your mind right back to Him.
One of the most tangible ways I turn my mind back to the Lord through out the day is through gratitude. This simple practice reminds my heart how very much I cannot do for myself and how much He keep gracing me with.
Each morning I take a moment to list all the specific gifts He has graced me with the previous day that I have not yet written down. I number them so I can, like a kid at Christmas, take rest in the love He has for me by all the many gifts I see. In my newest gratitude journal today I listed out gifts #737, 738 and 739. It brought me such joy as I remembered to thank Him and abide there in the grace of a God who gives good gifts.
I also at times pause in my day to thank Him for the gifts I see in the moment. When my boys were young we began the practice of clapping for God.
When my boys or I would see a beautiful flower, interesting caterpillar or bright stars filling the inky black sky, we would stop right then and clap and cheer for God, as a mom does at her child’s first steps. The joy of His intentional gift erupted joy out of us in such a way we couldn’t hold it back.
As my boys have become men, they clap less frequently. But they are still quick to point out the gifts of God and praise Him for them. Because once we begin to train ourselves to abide in the Vine and recognize all the places He gives abundantly, then we begin to settle in and rejoice.
Jesus closes His discourse of the Vine to His disciples with “these things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.” That real and abiding joy comes when we live in Him with eyes wide open, grateful for each gift and settled into His grace over us.
Who couldn’t use some joy these days? It is a result of abiding in Him.
What will you clap for God about today?
Spend time in the Word so His words might abide in you, opening your eyes to better see as you settle into His joy. 👇🏼