Back to Abiding

We’ve made it to the Christmas season once again.  To me, this year feels like it was a blur and just flew by.  I can’t believe we’re at Christmas already.  It can be easy to slip into feelings of hopelessness and restlessness in the climate that we’re in, but we get to choose the mindset that we’re living in.  It’s so easy to focus on what we’re missing, what we wish was different, but remember the unique opportunity that you have here.  You have time and space to sow into your relationship with God.  You have time to abide in Jesus.  Your life is sustained by those moments you spend with Jesus.  So I want to talk about how we can sustain hope, contentment, and surrender during the break when we’re away from our community in such a strange season.

HOPE

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Hope has been a common theme for me in this semester.  I’ve learned over and over that you cannot place your hope in the things of this world.  The world will disappoint you over and over because it is flawed.  But place your hope in God, and you won’t be let down.  Hope goes against what the world tells us.  The world says hope is useless because you’ll be disappointed, so it’s better not to hope at all.  But, because we have the Holy Spirit, we are given the power to hope.  Hope has POWER.  Hope is rooted in the power of God.  By choosing to hope we’re saying to God, “God I trust that you are good, that you are powerful, that you love me with an everlasting love, and that I’m worthy of your love.” 

SO in this Christmas season that may look different than the past.  Do not lose your hope.  If you feel hopeless about something in your life, spend time with God.  Don’t run away from Him.  In every part of this blog, I’m bringing it back to abiding with God.  Your hope will arise when you spend time in the word and with God because you’ll think more like Him. You’ll be more aware of Him.  You’ll have more trust in Him because you know Him more.  Let hope arise.

CONTENTMENT

Contentment.  There’s a lot of worth in the art of contentment.  Contentment is not the same as settling.  Settling is being ok with less when God has so much more for you.  Contentment is saying yes there are things that I want in life, but I will also be ok if those don’t happen.  I am satisfied because I know God and trust in God’s goodness.  

So for me contentment looks like this in my mind:  There are things that I am hoping for that haven’t happened yet.  I have so many things I want to do, places I want to see, people I want to meet.  I have so much more to learn with God.  I have dreams and things I want to accomplish.  There are things in my life that I wish were different.  And yet I’m not in a rush to do all these things.  I know that my security in God does not depend on these being complete.  

“In whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.” - 1 Corinthians 7:24

To me this verse says despite all these things, I will remain with God and my soul will be satisfied.  Again I’m not looking to the world to satisfy me, so my heart can be content in God.  Abiding in God allows you to be content in the “in between.” So this Christmas season may seem like an “in between” space where you’re waiting for the next thing.  This will make you restlessly yearn for the next step instead of allowing yourself to be fully present and aware of what this season has to offer.  Use this time to abide in God.  You can be content with where you are while also hoping for the future.  

SURRENDER

Surrender.  This has been my word for this year.  God gave me this word back in January and I didn’t want it.  I said “nope, give me a different one that sounds too hard”. But in order for God to be in my everything, I had to surrender everything else.  Yes it’s a hard thing to do, but it’s worth it.  Surrender to me is saying “God you are so much greater than the things that I value most in this world.  You are the most important thing to me.”

Surrendering to God is a good thing.  It’s re-ordering the things in your life to the way God designed us to live.  Only God was ever meant to be the most important thing to us.  Not another person or a passion or a dream.  God is on top.  The most important, and then all the other things will fall into place.  

So surrendering in this season, could look like laying down what your ideal Christmas season looks like.  Surrendering your desire to be with all the friends and family that you wish you could spend time with.  Now this is NOT saying the desire to spend time with people is bad at all.  This is actually a really good desire.  BUT it can’t be the most important thing to you.  It can’t be your source of happiness.  That’s why surrendering is tricky.  You feel like you’re getting rid of good things.  But when you surrender something, you’re not getting rid of it.  You’re just handing it over to God.  You’re saying “God, You’re the most important, I really value this other thing, but You are my source of life, not this thing that I’m surrendering”.  

And how do you learn to surrender? By spending time with God. By abiding in Him.  All three of these things: Hope, contentment, surrender, are all found in abiding with God.  

So I pray that in this Christmas season, where you get a break from school and you can slow down.  That you find a new love for spending time with God.  That the fruit that comes from the slowness is an unshakeable security in God.  An unwavering faith.  That carries you into the next season. I pray that you learn that spending time with God is everything.  He is where our joy, satisfaction, and security is found.  We can’t be truly satisfied with anything else.  

“God created us to live for His glory, and God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. We magnify God’s worth the most when He becomes our only boast.” — John Piper

Author | Samantha Forbes

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