Abiding in God
By Sandy Rothschiller
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. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:4-5, NASB).
It’s that time of year again. Schools are recruiting parents for classroom duties, sports teams are looking for coaches, and the volunteer opportunities in the community are begging for help … and the list really does go on and on.
How do you react when an opportunity for service presents itself?
Do you feel guilty saying “no” and give in to the demands for your time?
Do you feel as if you have to do it all?
For years, I tried to earn the love and approval of God by doing everything I could find to do. If a position needed filling, I filled it. If a job needed doing, I did it. If volunteers were called for, mine was the first hand in the air. After all, if I was doing all of these important things then I must be important, too. Right?
The result was not good. I got sick, a lot. It was as if God allowed me to run to the end of myself, and then shut the door and turned out the lights. I heard God loud and clear, “That is enough! It is time for you to slow down. Stop trying to earn My love by doing, instead, abide in Me and I will give you rest.” I soon learned that to abide in God means to rest and requires more balance of priorities in my life.
I had to learn how to begin to live a balanced life. I found it difficult to set boundaries. I failed to establish margins of time for the unplanned or unexpected. It took time to figure out what was important and needed my time and what didn’t. There are many demands for our time and energy. Many of the demands are good. Good causes, helping others, serving others are all good things. But too much of a good thing is too much.
I was doing all the time instead of spending time with God. I was missing that time of rest and renewal that brings life, wholeness and healing. And that can only come from God. So I started spending more time with God and took a look at my priorities in a new light.
I wish I could tell you that I now lead a perfectly balanced life, but the truth is that I constantly have to re-evaluate my priorities and goals in order to find the holy balance God intends. Many of you tell me that you have the same struggle.
The good news is that I don’t have to fight alone and neither do you. God is with us, urging us toward the light and God’s restoration power that comes from a heart and life that rests and abides in God.
Sandy Rothschiller is the Pastor of Spiritual Care at Prince of Peace.