The craziness of the holidays can get to us all. Even just a few days before Christmas, when the frantic pace hits its peak, nourishing your spirit by taking time—even just a few minutes—for the Lord can be a game-changer. Instead of greeting the people you loved in a stressed-out, frazzled, hot-mess type of attitude, embrace them with warmth and patience. Shine the light of Christ by first pointing your heart toward your lifeline, the true Vine, Jesus our Lord and Savior.
In Part 4 of this series, we observed the benefits of abiding. We began an introduction detailing how to Abide in God. The first step in abiding is following Jesus. If you missed that post, you read it here.
The second step is to practice two things: Be silent and wait.
Nourishing Your Spirit Through Silence and Waiting
Silence is our friend, yet it feels so foreign to our society. We’re almost always surrounded by noise: the TV, music, podcasts, crowds, traffic, and thousands of media interruptions. To practice this second step of abiding, get into a quiet place and practice becoming comfortable in its warm embrace. Next, ask God to reveal Himself to you. These things will happen very slowly and you’ll need to work on it every day. So, the second thing you need to learn to do is to wait.
When Moses went to the Mountain to receive God’s instruction, He waited for six days. Six, Days. Before God showed Him a thing. And Moses sat quietly and waited. In our own lives, we wait two minutes and think it’s more than we can bear. If you feel like God isn’t showing up, remember that Moses waited for six days—non-stop. That will make your wait feel a lot shorter.
Keep at it. The wait is worth it.
Nourishing Your Spirit Through God’s Word and Prayer
The third step to abiding is to connect with God by reading the Bible and praying.
I’m not suggesting you read the whole Bible before bed tonight. But begin reading. If you’ve never read the Bible, start with the book of John. It’s closer to the back than the front. Read just a few verses a day and in your times of quiet and waiting, ask God to help you understand what it says and show you how it applies to your life.
To pray simply means to talk to God. Tell Him about your problems. Ask for help. Invite Him into your celebrations. Just talk with Him as you would a friend. It will feel awkward at first, but it gets easier and even enjoyable as you grow in it.
In prayer, you can also express your worship and your gratitude. This means thanking the Lord for the things that anger and frustrate us as much as for the blessings and happiness He brings. Make a point to recognize God’s activity in your life (including the character-building moments) and express my gratitude to Him. It’s easy to thank Him silently or aloud, alone or with your family. Showing thanks is a quick and simple way to invite the Lord into every aspect of my day.
The Investment of Time
Believe me, I understand that I’m encouraging you to commit time during one of the busiest seasons of the year.
Remember, the Lord knows your frantic, holiday pace. Holidays (originally termed ‘Holy Days’) were His idea—along with celebrations and festivals. Making time to be still with Him doesn’t require an hour or even 30 minutes. It requires just enough time to turn my heart and focus on the Lord.
In my own life, this may look like 5 minutes locked away in the bathroom reading Scriptures on my iPhone, trying to tune out repeated knocks on the door. It may be purposefully turning to Him during my first cup of coffee before anyone else is awake. It may happen in my car, one of the only silent environments I can find. Whenever it happens and however it looks, this intentional practice is essential to abide in Him.
Those of you who have walked with Jesus for a while now and are thinking, Cathy we already know to do all of this.
Yes. I understand. The problem is, we often stop the foundational practices of our faith. We stop reading the Bible and think, I already know all of that. We stop praying, thinking God already knows what I need.
What if we treated our earthy relationships like this? If we stopped talking to our husbands believing they (should) know everything about us by now. [[Don’t try this at home.]] That’s no way to abide. It’s trying to coast while moving uphill. We are created to connect with God.
Learning the Chords of Nourishing Your Spirit
We need to stay faithful, nourishing our spirit in the little things. The simple steps I’ve shared are like chords on a guitar. When we know the chords—when we practice them— we can put them together and play countless songs. Without knowing the chords, we’re just making noise.
Abiding is what helps us encounter the real love of Jesus, embrace our real purpose, and become bold agents of real change. Abiding in Christ results in fruit that shows up in real-life. In Part 6, the conclusion of this series, I’ll share how the practice of abiding is manifesting itself into the hard parts of life. I hope you’ll join me right back here for the final segment!