This is going to be a slightly different tenor than my other posts. Jesus has been walking me through a place where I am learning to lean on His plans rather than my own in many arenas of my life. This, writing, being one of them. I have been pondering these thoughts and ideas for a couple days, and now I am going to attempt to make sense of my Bible margain scribbles and journal notes. Here we go!
This season of my life is some definitely uncharted territory for me. And it’s not really because situations make it that way, but rather, the path I am choosing through these situations is very much foriegn and untraversed in my life. To be honest, I have found myself in situations that bubble up the same types and amounts of emotions as I have experienced in past chapters of my story. But, my responses have been much more dependant on my Father this time around. So, it’s a completely different journey. Now, to be clear, I haven’t always stayed on the straight and narrow this time around, but I feel I have quickly found my way back when I have started to waunder on some spiritual rabbit trails.
Have you ever tried to put earthly analogies to what place your heart finds its place in?
This season of my life is much like hiking mountains. Tall mountains. It’s been a long hike. I have moments where my hike will keep me deep within the wooded areas, where all around me there is lush green vegetation, it’s hard to know that you are walking mere steps from a deadly dropoff because the trees, moss, and ivy all seem to protect my mind from the real dangers so close by. In these moments, I am tunnel visioned. My eyes can see the beauty of the moment in its peripheral view, but my eyes stay fixed on the deeply contrasted brown path, with rocks along the way that could trip me up, cause me to stumble, injure me as I climb. I stay focused with one foot in front of the other. Deep breathing keeps me focused on the fact that although this place is beautiful, it’s not where I’m going. These portions of the journey can feel like both an upward and downward motion. With streams trickling in the background reminding me that it’s so evident that so many people find their lives in these places ,and although they are sustained by the nature around them, never experiencing what he is calling me to – the summit. This place is comfortable in the atmosphere, but unsettling at the same time. My heart longs for more, but could easily slip into content right here, as everything I would need would be provided, and by God. So how could that be so bad?
Then there are the moments when I climb, head down, pace slower, incline steeper. These look like thinning trees, looking up reveals nothing but sky, no tree canopies here. The air is thinner, so the simple things like breathing become the focus of my daily existence. The sun is hotter here, but yet, the air is colder. There are times when the path will level just slightly and I will find a large rock to sit on, knowing now, full well that the drop off is there. Its’ ever present here. So climbing out to the rock is a shaky experience because even the most experienced in heights find themselves shaking slightly because the climb has been hard, and the drop off is evidence of just how far you have come, and at the same time, how quickly it could slip away with improper footing. As I sit on the rock, I look out and see above the timberline, the same trees and vegetation I came from, but now, from a different perspective. My view is not limited here, in fact, it’s so vast that it gives some slight anxiety and simultaneous awe as I quickly realize how much more there is than what my limited view would allow me to see where I was just at. I feel small in this season. Insignificant yet victorious to have reached this moment. But it’s quickly a sombering thought because no matter how triumphant this moment feels, I could not survive in this place. This is not my final destination, and its overwhelmingly evident. I can see the many opportunities in my future all around me, because I am above looking down, but yet, the climb is still upward.
It’s on this rock that I am writing to you today. Sitting here, looking on, knowing that I have come from some extremely lush situations, and yet, right now, I’m closer to God than I have been in a long time, but realizing that means, in some senses, getting farther away from the world. Looking down, realizing it has been beautiful, but it’s not where he is calling me to right now, he is calling me to a summit season. It’s an isolating season. It’s a perspective shifting season. It’s a season where I know I will find myself back in the comfort of the vegetation and life and FRUIT, but with a new appreciation, perspective and understanding, because I have been to the summit. But it’s on this rock, resting, that I have begun to think about this word.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.JOHN 15:4-5 ESV
The greek word used for abide is menō. And menō which means “to remain” references three different things:
When you are above the treeline, this is certaintly not the place you see life in the form of vegetation and FRUIT. But yet, He still calls us to these seasons. We seem to reference valley seasons and mountaintop seasons from the perspective that a mountaintop is where we are feeling our best and valleys are our “low” moments in life. But, in reality the valleys are where we see the fruit. It’s on the mountains higher portions that we must remember to carry the fruit with us, or we will perish. But even yet, God is speaking to my heart, “be still, and know that I am God.” “Abide in me here. This is the place I am taking you. I will sustain you. Even when fruit is sparse. You have exactly what you need.”
When you are above the treeline, time seems to be irrelevant. Your pace is set by your abilities to take in the thinning air. Slower is better for you. Goals are seemingly smaller, but no less important. In fact, the smaller dreams now are vital. It’s in these places that God is saying, “remember this.” You are making progress, even when it takes longer to see it now. Time is what He needs with you. And so for now, time is all you can measure. Distractions are fewer here and it forces your attention onto Him and His presence. “Abide in me here. This is the time I have prepared for you. I will sustain you. Even when progress seems minimal. It is exactly this time that you need.”
STATE OR CONDITION.
When you are above the treeline, it’s so evident that you are seeing a piece of what the Creator himself sees. And yet, it’s merely a glimpse. Because although the big picture is more of a reality for you now, seeing the life and vibrancy beneath the canopies is something we still can’t see, and yet, He is still very much present there as well. It’s in this place that we realize that God wants oneness with us. He wants us to remember the big picture that we are seeing now. It’s all working together to bring Him glory. He is preparing us for more, by allowing us to see it. He is whispering “Abide in me here. This is my heart for you. To be with you, always. Even when it seems I am all you have, I AM more than enough. I am all you need.”
Menō reminds us that not every season produces fruit. Because there are seasons that the vine is pruned, cut back, so that in the next season it will produce double. We can easily look at each other and judge the fruit in season. He is not interested in consistent yet mediocre crop yields. He desires our lives to be pruned in season so that we may produce greater yields than before.
So, no apologies for my retreat season. I am out climbing, and learning the beauty of the menō mindset.
Stay Tuned for Profound Thoughts.