Daily D – John 15:3
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. JOHN 15:4 (NLT)
COVID-19-related restrictions have been in place long enough for us to develop new habits. We have discovered new ways of working. Some of those have been surprisingly productive. The ability to focus in a home setting with only our dogs for company has accelerated achievement in different areas. Fewer disruptions have led to longer periods of focused work.
For several years, I have discussed with my coworkers the possibility of working from home a couple of mornings each week. The silence and lack of interruptions fuel accomplishment. They wholeheartedly consented. Yet I had such a hard time releasing that arrow. Now I cannot imagine going back to my old schedule.
Trying on this new routine has also involved a few setbacks. I have struggled to talk with people in live settings. Spending so much time alone has winnowed my gift of gab. I didn’t realize how true this was until someone dear to me questioned me about it. Two of my top strengths according to the StrengthFinder assessment are Learner and Intellection. What this means is if I am not careful, I tend to live too much in my head. I have a rich and satisfying thought life. The longer I am alone, the more I focus deeply, intently on one subject or another, the more I tend to shut out others.
Focus is good. Ignoring others is bad.
Moving toward a new work schedule will involve adjustments. I want to maintain focused productivity. I also want to engage joyfully with others. As something of an ambivert who tends to move toward introversion or extroversion based on the circumstances, I need the balance of time alone and time with others. This season has been most helpful in seeing these issues more clearly and creating new rhythms to achieve the appropriate balance.
Jesus said to abide or remain in him. He says, “Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing,” (v. 5). Jesus wants for us more than weekly worship and daily time alone with him. He wants us to invite him into every moment, each conversation, all of our events and activities. He does not want to serve as an invisible advisor we can call upon as we need his wisdom. He wants to live fully in every moment with us.
Many people have expanded their prayer lives in this season. It would be a pity for that improved habit to return to the way things used to be. People have discovered that Sunday worship is less of a show and more of a gathering of individuals, families, and friends seeking to express our love to God and to hear his truth for our time. Maybe, just maybe, we do not need smoke machines to create a worshipful atmosphere.
In many cases, worship has been simplified. Prayer has been simplified. Discipleship has been simplified. In many of those same cases, truer worship has been experienced. Prayer has become more passionate. Discipleship has deepened.
Maybe, just maybe, we are learning to remain with Jesus in every moment as he intended. Of all the takeaways from this season, this is by far the most important.
I will remain in immediate connection with Jesus at all times and places.
Our Father, I need time alone. I need time with people. I need to know and experience you in every moment. Grow me in the grace of abiding with you. Teach me how to remain in constant contact with you. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)