“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit [c]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. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so [d]prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” -John 15:4-11
What does it mean to abide?
Loosely translated to me it means to allow love, goodness, and fruitfulness to flow through the the vine that is Christ. That flowing and connection can produce much fruit and goodness.
Abiding contains three parts: Connection, Dependence, and Residence
1) Connection- connected in salvation, acceptance and baptism. We are connected through the Holy Spirit. I can stay connected by spending time with Him, through prayer and His Word. Our connection is cyclical in that we abide in him and he abides in us.
2) Dependence- True connection of the vine provides sustenance and life. We rely on the vine (God) for life. We are completely dependent on Him for spiritual fruit. He can survive without us, but as the branch we cannot live without being connected to the vine. For us to bear fruit, we must be completely reliant on the vine. The branches do not produce fruit if they are disconnected from the source (the vine).
3) Reside/Stay- To abide means to stay, to reside in His presence not temporarily but permanently. Our relationship with Christ is not simply a one-time fling, but a life long relationship. It is a marriage of love and sacrifice. God sacrificed because of His love. We aren't simply visiting His presence, He beckons us to stay awhile, in fact He asks us to stay a lifetime until we are forever home with Him..
As life becomes monotonous and we go through the motions, He beckons us closer. As the seasons come and go and change, He calls us to stay close because He will help us weather the storm. He simply asks for me to abide because He makes a way.
He made a way indeed these past twelve weeks. Over the past four months, God has revealed so much to me and my word of the year has been abide. In what felt like a spiritual drought for myself a few months ago, God led me into deeper communion with Him. He taught me what it means to abide in Him.
When I first took my job as a buyer in Claremont for a transportation logistics company it was not something I ever saw as permanent. There were hopes of growth but there was continuous management change in my department. I oversaw large accounts and built great relationships within the network, but I don't think I could ever reach my full potential. My strengths could not be utilize or flourish in the way that I believe that they were meant to. So I began seeking and praying to God and began applying for jobs.
As previously mentioned, I felt like there was a lack of spiritual growth in my life during this season and I was challenged to abide in His word. I went to visit a church down in San Diego, and the pastor challenged us to get into the book of John. Each day he challenged us to read one chapter, I like to call it my own 21 day fix. I obliged in the reading because I needed something to draw me closer in my quiet time again, and John 15 stood out to me more so than it ever had. As I completed the 21 days, I went to a women’s conference and a chapter they focused on was John 15 again.
I had been unhappy in my career for sometime and was absent in my own relationship with Christ at times, but I started just digging deeply into His word and prayerfully seeking what to do next.
In December, I spent many long nights after work updating my resume and cover letters and applying to jobs all over. The process alone of juggling two jobs (corporate and then part time as a financial advisor) and then emotionally and mentally applying left and right is quite exhausting. Well, mid-January I received a call. I had a phone interview and then another in person a week later on my birthday (I gave up social media right before to eliminate distraction and truly seek what He was going to do next). Four more interviews later, I received an offer. In the process of about 6 weeks, I was first overcome with anxiousness and then so much peace. I believe peace is the precursor to joy.
The offer financially was not what I wanted, but the offer for new life was. You see I had just received a 15% raise. The job transition was not only in a completely different field, but taking my new raise into consideration, it was almost a $10,000 pay cut. Yet, I felt peace. God was going to do big things through me. He calls me not only to abide in Him daily, but to allow my finances to abide. He calls me to trust in Him.
I am so thankful for the support system that God has surrounded me with… an amazing small group who prayed and encouraged, a peaceful home filled with two very wise and Christ-seeking women, and a handful of prayerful best friends/mentors who gave me references and provided guidance and blankets of prayer. God had been blessing me in more ways than I knew. When I took on the second job (one year in June), I knew I was skilled as I continued learning and growing in the financial industry. My desire for that job has always been to pay off debt and save more money. I had no idea how God will bless me in this new work field as He gave me new friends (some of which whom I now spend all my time with), but also that I had a talent in financially helping and teaching others. I was just awarded as one of the Top Ten advisors in our office over the past four months. My pace of clientele will not only make up the difference but provide so much more than I ever thought.
|Visiting my favorite spot,|
So after just over two years in the corporate arena on February 19th, I gave me two weeks notice, cashed out my vacation time and took a week off. Now as I end this twelve week social media fast, I am already embarking on my sixth week as a Success Coach with Azusa Pacific University’s University College. It has been a dream of mine for over seven years to go back and start my career with APU. It has been a dream that I have long held onto and God blessed me beyond my wildest dreams.
|First Day (back) at APU|
If you have made it this far, I thank you sincerely for reading. You may now pass GO and collect $200. Just kidding. But on a serious note, I hope this encourages you to abide in Him and ask yourself what He is calling you too. No dream is too small. Eliminate distractions and get into His Word if you feel distant and surround yourself with an amazing support system of those who love you, encourage you and lift you up in prayer.
Now go out and find and achieve those God-sized dreams...