the secret is in the vine

John 15:4-5

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.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

I’ve been short and snappy and hurried in my spirit.

This developed rather quickly, but also not overnight. Something had already been growing in my heart and I hadn’t weeded it out. In between my moments of scuttling from one school thing to another work thing to another event to another worship leading engagement this week, I found that I uttered to myself words that were telling of the state of my soul.

Once again, I’ve allowed myself to be drained, unhappy and dissatisfied. I knew that God was showing me where the cracks were, every time I felt negativity bubbling and threatening to explode. Thankfully, for my family, close friends and colleagues, no big explosions but mini ones.

The words that keep tumbling out of me lately (said or unsaid) have been things like…

…It’s a mad rush with all these events… No one understands the ground and the resource crunch we have to face.

…Why in the world am I studying and working at the same time. What purpose does it serve anyway?

…All these people take from me. I have nothing to give already!

…I want to throw my phone away so that I don’t have to look at all these messages and emails that keep. on. rolling in.

…Why am I the one picking up all the slack? 

…How nice that so and so can enjoy such and such while I don’t get that luxury of time. How are people so free?

And I’d better stop right there before I stumble anyone (further), oops. Thank God for the graciousness of my closest friends who allow me to ventilate, otherwise I would not be able to write this today, in a (relatively) calmer state. I listen to myself say the above things and gosh, I see that the presence of weeds and bad fruit have grown and overrun the garden of my soul: bitterness, comparison, envy, purposelessness, and a darkened perspective.

This morning in my very rushed quiet time (of which writing this post is a part of!) God brought to mind John 15. “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” I want to grow back the good fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. All of these will help me keep afloat in the midst of this December peak period ministry madness. As I keep busy, I want to keep busy growing good fruit, so much so that there isn’t space for any bad ones to grow.

So Lord, would you help me recalibrate. I can’t do very much about my schedule and load, but you can help me change my attitude and my perspectives. More than asking you to grant me multiplied rest and increased capacity, Lord I ask would you grant me a heart that remains in you, so that I can work from that rest, and draw all that I need from you to continue giving out. Apart from you, I really can do nothing! In Jesus’ name I ask this, Amen.

-exhale- That felt better. Pressure’s off now.

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