One morning this week, I woke up weary. It was my middle son’s birthday, and I felt like the day should be focused on him, but my attitude was one of defeat.
I even wrote in my journal, “Father, I’m so tired.”
I was tired of handling the kids by myself.
I was tired of messes in the house that never seemed to go away.
I was tired of late nights to finish up projects.
I was tired of a summer work schedule that was harder than planned.
I was tired of dropping my boys off at summer camp and the guilt it brought. Every. Single. Time.
I was tired.
I sat there on my porch swing and told God about it.
Through my Pray the Word Journal he reminded me that he’s there in our tired messes. Through the book I’m reading, Abiding in Christ, God reminded me that it only takes faith to abide. He does all the work. Through the music on the way to take the boys to summer camp, he reminded all of us, “His is the name that saves.” Through the At Home with Sally and Friends podcast on the drive to work, God reminded me that I needed to take more time for my friends and to expect miracles.
These reminders pointed me to the five ways to abide that can really transform my days. When I’m struggling to figure out what it means to lean into Jesus, to trust God, and to abide, I find these five things give me a good starting place.
1. Prayer—It always begins with prayer. God wants to help. He knows we can’t abide on our own. In John 15:1, it says he is the vinedresser. God cares for us just as much as he ever cared for Jesus. Turning to him in prayer to ask for help and praying throughout our days helps us to stay connected to the vine and abide.
2. The Word—We can’t know someone we never take time to learn about. Opening God’s word helps us to learn more about his character and how to live in relationship with Jesus. It teaches us how much he longs to help us and how we should treat each other. It reminds us of our purpose and encourages us on hard days. If we never open his word, we’re losing out on one of our biggest lifelines.
3. Worship—Worship requires sacrifice. It requires us to put someone else first and to acknowledge that we’re not the center of our universe. In hard times it requires a sacrifice of praise reminding us to trust God even though we can’t see. When I choose to worship God even when I want to give up, when my attitude is begging for chocolate and a huge bag of chips, when the anxiety and depression threaten to overwhelm, it takes a sacrifice to choose faith and worship over fear.
4. Community—We can’t abide in Jesus alone. As 1 Corinthians 12 explains, we are all part of one body and we need each other. My friend’s prayers have often carried me through a hard day, week, month… Wise words from a mentor or author, have guided my way when I felt lost. Time with friends has helped turn a week around. It can be hard to reach out to others and build relationships during our busy, busy lives, but it is worth it!
5. Service —We were never meant to horde our relationship with Jesus. The first command is to love God in Mark 12:30 and the very next is to love our neighbors as ourselves in verse 31. There are many ways to serve others, from writing a note, taking a meal, helping with housework, babysitting kids… it really means just filling a need we see. If you’re struggling with service, ask God to open your eyes to those around you and give you a heart to fill those needs. He loves to answer those types of prayers!
By the time I picked up the boys that afternoon, I was in a much better frame of mind and was able to celebrate my son instead of drowning in my weariness.
Though I was still tired, I was no longer weary. I was reminded that even though I can’t handle everything on my plate, God can; I just need to lean into him and have faith he’ll come through.
Want to join with others as we learn to apply these 5 ways together? Join the Abide 5 Day challenge that begins Jan. 13th! Click below to join.