a guest post by Meredith Curtis
“Move!” I ordered aloud to the car in front of me.
I was at a stop light that had just turned green, running late, of course. The car just sat and finally moved forward through a yellow light. For me to follow, I would have run a red light. So, I waited for the green again, FUMING!
Where was my joy?
I spent hours on dinner, making everyone’s favorite.
Julianna texted, “Meeting a friend after work.”
Shine and Jimmy informed me, as they were heading toward the door, “We’re going to Navigators tonight after class.”
My husband came into the kitchen, lifted the lid and sighed. “Did I mention I’m fasting?”
So, Jenny Rose and I sat down to eat my delicious dinner and the rest of my hard work went into a plastic storage container.
Where was my Joy?
I could spend several pages sharing similar stories from the last few weeks of my life.
When Daily Frustrations Get You Down
Are you smiling because you’ve had similar experiences? Can you think of little frustrations in your own life?
It seems that in my life, I can feel God’s Presence through the tough stuff, but the daily frustrations really get me down. You know the feeling—you’re running late and you hit every red light. Sigh. I hate that pounding in my chest when I feel so frustrated, so far away from the Gentle Shepherd who says, “Take my yoke and learn from me because I am gentle and humble in heart.”
Why is it harder in the small stuff to keep my eyes on Jesus?
Is it because in the big stuff, I have to totally rely on the Lord? But in the little day-to-day activities of life, I say to God, “Don’t worry, Lord. I’ve got this! I don’t need you. I can do it myself.” Of course, I would never say that. But, deep down, is that where my heart is?
Trusting Jesus in the Small Stuff Too
You see when something is big, I know I can’t handle it myself and I rely on Jesus. However, isn’t it true that I need Jesus in the small stuff too?
Don’t I need Him to drive to the YMCA to work out, as much as I need Him to help me walk through the death of a friend? Just writing that on paper makes it seem silly. Why do I need Jesus in the little things? Because Jesus said I can do nothing apart from Him. No thing! Nothing!
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 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 15:1-5 NASB).
You see, Jesus wants me to be abiding in Him 24/7. Not just in the tough times. Not just in the hard times.
The Joy of Abiding with Jesus
The amazing thing to me is that Jesus wants to share every detail of my life. He wants to lead me, guide me, turn all the bad things to good in His eternal purposes. All I have to do is surrender to Him, to walk with Him, to abide with Him. He wants me to find His joy in the daily frustrations as much as the daily celebrations.
Jesus never said to His disciples, “Do something great for me!” He said, “Follow me.” And they did. They went where He went, they traveled together, they listened to His teachings, they watched Him perform miracles, and they knew Him intimately.
Today, He still calls us to follow Him, to walk with Him, to know Him. If I remain connected to Him, the fruit (love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control) will be naturally come forth in my life. A tree doesn’t put forth an effort to produce fruit. As the farmer cultivates the soil, prunes the branches, and fertilizes, the fruit grows.
So maybe all those little frustrations are just my loving Father in Heaven going “clip, clip” pruning me back so I can be more fruitful. Maybe Jesus wants ALL of me. He wants to live His life through me. He wants me to surrender, not tell Him, “I’ve got this!”
Crucified with Christ
You see there is an amazing truth that happened to me when I gave my heart to Christ and was born again.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20 NASB).
The old me, the one who is frustrated in traffic and when no one stays home to eat my special meal is dead. She has been crucified with Christ. Now I live by faith in Jesus, abiding in Him, letting Him live His life through me. All the striving, agenda, frustration can leave and I can put my hope in Jesus. I feel so much peace as I write this, reminding myself of an eternal truth. If Jesus did it all so I could truly live, then I want to live that peaceful life of allowing Him to get me to places on time, to order my life, to bring good out of the little frustrations that wage war against my soul.
If I abide in Him throughout my entire day, joy will flow. Joy will keep flowing because it comes from staying connected to Jesus.
Remember Jesus. He loves you. He is with you. Stay connected to Him.
Love in Christ,
Meredith Curtis, pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom of five amazing children, and grandmother to 3, loves Jesus, leads worship, homeschools, writes, mentors ladies, and sometimes even cooks dinner! She believes that all of life is a grand adventure with so much to learn and discover about Jesus. She is the author of Joyful and Successful Homeschooling, and God’s Girls Beauty Secrets, as well as Bible studies, unit studies, and high school classes. Meredith wants to encourage Christian ladies and families to enjoy a joy-filled life filled with the Presence of God. Visit Meredith at powerlineprod.com/, jshomeschooling.com/, and meredithcurtis.com/.