I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…
Another morning where I wake much earlier than I should have. But I couldn’t help it. My thoughts were taking me down a familiar path that has worn a deep groove in my mind. As much as I try to distract myself from the cause of my sleeplessness, I cannot. And so I slip out of bed, and creep out into the living room where I’m drawn to a book with a Promise written on every page.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…
I cannot stop thinking about this one question: “What, Lord, is your purpose for my life?”
It’s not a new question; humanity dwells on this even if we aren’t aware of it. We see others doing good works and wonder if what we are doing is good enough. We reach forks in the road and stand hesitant, unsure, fearful of making the wrong move.
What if I make the wrong choice? Does that preclude me from ever making the right one again? Will the trajectory of my life be destroyed if I choose poorly?
I forget about the grace of the Father’s love for me too often.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
My heart searches to know the details of the story only my Father sees completely; it desires to be told exactly what the next step is, it searches for purpose.
What happens when the purpose I’ve been actively looking for has been right beside me this whole time?
What happens when rather than hearing “go-go-go”, I’m told to “rest-rest-rest”?
What if in the abiding, in the resting is where the journey really begins.
What if I cannot go until I abide.
The command is to look not to the future or distant forks in the road, but only to Jesus.
Is that good enough?
No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
Being a bearer of good fruit is something I want to be, it’s the getting there that trips me up as I seek to plant seeds I have chosen for myself. Turns out it’s easier to check things like “clean the bathroom” and “fold the laundry” off of my to-do list than it is to focus my attention on the answer to my cry for purpose.
Remaining in Christ, truly abiding in Him and being a bearer of good fruit is often something I push off to another day, especially if I heap guilt on myself when I fail to live up to the standards I think He has for me.
This command to remain in Him requires what I do not have, which is why He issued it to begin with. God is not merely suggesting I keep Him in view out of the corner of my eye while I search for what He might have for me.
My purpose isn’t to search for my purpose…
Remain in me, as I also remain in you.
To know my purpose, I must remain in Him.
My purpose is His purpose, but I can’t know what that is unless I’m walking in synch with Him.
My purpose is to get to know Him a little more every day, to allow Him to change me to be a little more like Him every day.
My purpose is simple, which is maybe why it’s easily forgotten.
The hard things in life are the things I tend to gravitate toward and make a part of us. In the past I have allowed these things, these events to define me rather than allowing Jesus to define me. I still struggle with this at times. Words of others etch themselves on my heart and make me question the journey I know the Lord has called me to.
What if I just agreed to redefine myself by allowing Jesus’ definition of me to trump all other definitions I or others place on me?
Turns out? Being the Me Jesus says I am grants a greater sense of purpose than I could have ever dreamed of.
Now I’m not searching for the unknown. I’m focused on the goodness I know of the Lord.
Now I’m not plodding down a well-worn path of worrying I’m not enough. I’m resting in the glory of the Father who is always more than enough.
Now I don’t think about the forks in the road that MIGHT be ahead of me. I’m allowing today to be the day my face reflects the glory of Christ a little more brightly.
I am able to rest.
I am focused on abiding.
I am filled with a renewed desire to follow Him.
I am able to fully rejoice in who He has made me to be.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
The musings of my heart in the wee hours of the morning always lead me back to this place.
Rest. Abide. Follow. Rejoice.
Turns out? The hardest thing to do is actually the easiest.
All images found at Unsplash.com
All scripture references from John chapter 15