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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pressed in, but not close enough yet…


Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
John 15:4 (NIV)

I have come to a startling realization. It happened as I was as discouraged and completely broken as I've ever been. Broken is not a good place. I've been doing my best, folding God into every area of my life. I have earnestly made every effort to ensure that He was part of every area of my life. I've been working on my identity, to ensure the life I live reflects who I am, all the time. I'm proud of my evolution. I look back at my footprints in the sand, sometimes seeing two sets, often seeing only one. I've done a lot.  It just isn't enough. I folded God into every area of my life. What hubris. You don't make room in your life for God. You give it over. I pressed in, but not close enough yet. I've got to learn to let it all go.

John's retelling of Jesus' parable of the True Vine helps me understand where here is. God the Father, as Master Gardener, prunes branches to length. Uncultivated, they might grow too long to properly bear the weight of fruit. Without the Gardner, the branches might produce leaves instead of fruit. Branches grow, but occasionally in the wrong direction, shading other branches, thereby inhibiting their growth. An uncultivated vine will produce fruit, but not necessarily reliably, and certainly not optimally. Branches separated from even the most well tended vines will certainly not produce fruit. Branches separated from the vines die. 

I don't feel disconnected, and it is not as though I've been uncultivated. I am acknowledging that I need more tending, and my capacity conundrum has gotten in the way. It's time to kick it loose. I confessed to my mother and a couple very close friends that I have completely shed the notion of control. Shedding the notion wasn't the critical component. Acknowledging that I never really had any was….

Tonight our nation re-elected a President. I've had friends worrying about this election for weeks. I reminded several people today that the Word says "be anxious for nothing…" (Certainly not an election. Whomever wins the election, God is in control) That's the lesson. Why are we worrying? Our worry serves no purpose and furthermore, we are not in control. We must give it over. I'm pressing in and letting go.

I came to a startling realization…maybe not so startling after all; the clarity is comforting. All that I've worried about, all at which I feel I've failed, was never my responsibility.  Yes, I am called to be a goodly steward over that for which I am responsible, but it was never my job to carry it all. I've been folding God into every area of my life, instead of folding every area of my life into Him-see the difference? He was in the mix, but He wasn't the mix.

The clouds just lifted. It was so simple, and yet I missed it. Lord, I humbly ask Your forgiveness. I seek your correction; I'm looking for the yoke; I'm dancing for joy. I've always been able to assert that God is good, but I have evolved. That's always been so. Here is what I know. Here is what I can share…God is in control, and with that, I'm pressing in, and letting go.
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