A Symphony of Praise Blog [https://asymphonyofpraise.com/blog/itw-januarymorning]
Written By Erika Michelle
“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.”
In John 15:5, Jesus says, "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." Abiding with Jesus has been pivotal in my life with Jesus. Each morning I wake up between 5:30 and 5:45 and spend an hour and a half abiding. I sit in silence and solitude for a while, pray, journal, and read Scripture. These moments over the past three years have changed my life in surprising ways. The trajectory of my life has shifted. My ways have ceased to matter, realizing that apart from my Beloved, I can do nothing.
In these quiet, often uneventful morning moments, I have fallen so deeply in love with Jesus, and I am beginning to discover how He sees me and wants to live out His life through me. I’ve often quoted Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. Her book Spiritual Disciplines has been a practical tool to help me walk through these wonderful rhythms.
About Silence and Solitude she says,
“It is difficult to find silence in an age of technology and information. Silence challenges our cultural addiction to amusement, words, music, advertising, noise, alarms and voices. Silence asks for patience and waiting. And both silence and waiting make us uncomfortable. They seem so unproductive. We can’t tell if we are doing anything in them. So when we come upon silence, we fill it. We cram it with something else we can learn or do or achieve.
We need solitude if we intend to unmask the false self and its important-looking image. Alone, without distractions, we put ourselves in a place where God can reveal things to us that we might not notice in the normal preoccupations of life. Solitude opens a space where we can bring our empty and compulsive selves to God. And no matter how well we “do” silence, God is there to accept, receive and love us. God longs for us to be our true self in Christ. He wants us to be who we are meant to be. In solitude we see how little we embrace our true identity in Christ. And we find the truth of who we are in Christ. We are the beloved, and God is pleased with us.”
GOD SAYS, “I WILL HELP YOU”.
“For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.' "Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you," says the LORD And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.- Isaiah 41:13-14
I reviewed my "to-do" list for the upcoming week this morning.
- Create a budget for home and work.
- Create Rule of Life 2023.
- Email all the people for all the things.
- Rake the leaves.
- Clean the car.
- Plan homeschool for January.
- . . . and on
- . . . and on
- . . . and on
And I started feeling so very overwhelmed. The looming "beginning of the year deadline" is coming up fast, and I don't have all of my ducks in a row for 2023. A hard blow of anxiety struck me on top of a month-long depression that is lingering, and I just started to cry as I faced all the things.
I picked up my phone to mindlessly scroll Instagram - a drug to get my mind off the anxiety and pain I was feeling. A post from Pete Scazzero at Emotionally Healthy Discipleship popped up, saying, "Are you guilty of doing more activity for God than your relationship with Him can sustain? Our goal as Christians is to abide in Jesus throughout the day, remaining in communion with Him in everything. I know my "doing" exceeds my "being" when . . .
- I can't shake the pressure I feel from having too much to do with too little time.
- I am ignoring the stress, anxiety, and tightness in my body.
- I am often fearful about the future.
- I am preoccupied and distracted.
- I fire off quick opinions and judgments.
And I sat with the conviction (not condemnation - they are different) that my doing for God and people has exceeded my being with Jesus. No wonder I was feeling overwhelmed. My priorities were out of order.
We are about to …open to another year full of hopes, dreams, and possibilities. And the to-do lists, goal-setting, and resolutions are knocking to be made and followed through upon. But in all of our well-meaning steps to start 2023 on the right foot, let us remember this important truth:
For I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you."
Let's not neglect time with Jesus in our planning and preparation. Our Lord is here to help us. God is here to hold us by the hand and lead us in HIS way for our new year.
If you are feeling bogged down by everything, ask yourself, "Is all this 'doing' exceeding my 'being'?" If, like me, you are saying a loud YES, then change your priorities. Put Jesus first who is here to help and guide. Structure your new year around being with Jesus; I promise you everything will change. His yoke is easy, Friend. His burden is light, and sometimes, we just need that reminder.
For Erika Michelle’s Blog content visit: www.asymphonyofpraise.com/blog
Merciful and Loving Father, I will yet hope in you. When Satan hits me with deep dark sorrows, I will look to You for peace. You are my hiding place, and my refuge from the storm. I know that You will come swiftly to my rescue and that You will be the lifter of my head. Heal my wounded heart, and grant me Your peace. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Take out a sheet of paper and write down the following affirmations that you will repeat every day this week.
- Because nothing can separate me from God’s love, I will rest in His Peace. (Romans 8:37-38)
- Because God’s goodness and His mercy pursues after me, I will rest in His Peace. (Psalms 23:6)
- Because I can all things through Christ who gives me strength, I will rest in His Peace. (Philippians 4:13)
- Even though I fall, the Word of God promises that I will get back up, therefore I will rest in His Peace. (Proverbs 24:16)
- Because God promised keep me in Perfect Peace as I focus my thoughts on Him, I will rest in His Peace. (Isaiah 26:3)
Published on Jan 29 @ 12:38 AM EDT