The New Normal: Pressure or Peace?
Do you experience it? The moments of first waking when everything in the world seems right; but within seconds the "to-do list" of the day floods in, taking the sense of joy right out the window.
Pressure seems to be the "new normal" for life. Expectations from our employer, our local schools, our children and spouse, and even social media continue to build, while our sense of well being and peace elude us.
It's not easy living the 21st century.
What's the answer?
I don't claim to have all the answers, but I know one who does. His name is Jesus and he calls us to a life of rest with him. He invites us to find a rhythm of life which includes a balace between work and rest, betweeen being fruitful and productive and a time to just be....to abide with him.
Jesus was a master at taking the simple things of life to build profound life lessons. One day he took his disciples out to a vinyard and showed him the difference between the vine and the fruit. He showed them how the vines went deep into the earth where they are fed, watered and take root.
He showed them the vines that grow out from the rooted plant. He told his friends that his father was the gardener. At that point, he took a knife and cut one of the vines off, telling them that unless we are connected to the vine, we can't produce fruit. But if we are connected to the vine, we will have the nutrients, the water, and the life so that we can produce fruit....lots of it.
He even went so far as to tell his friends, "If you abide in me and my words remain in you, you will produce much fruit...when you produce fruit, you are my disciples and it makes my father very happy" (author paraphrase).
I live in wine country now. We can drive out of our neighborhood and within a couple of minutes we are in the midst of the rollling hills with row upon row of grapes. We just moved here in January so I haven't yet gotten to see the grape vines laden with grapes....but I long to because I will have a real life glimpse of what Jesus taught to his disciples.
So, how about you? Are you experiencing the life giving nutrients and fresh water of God's Spirit refreshing you and building into you a fruitful harvest, or are you stuck trudging through each day wondering what is the point?
It's so easy to feel like the discarded vine, but this is what I love so much about following Jesus.
He is the ultimate grafter.
He can take a vine that has been shriveling for a long time, to the point of death, and he can supernaturally re-attach it to the vine, so that life begins to flow again.
Take a few minutes to breathe deeply. Close your eyes and imagine your shriveling vine being picked up by Jesus and reattached to the vine. Feel his love as he does this. Envision him smiling as he does this as he knows how much your attachment to the vine matters to his father.
Ask him to teach you the rhythm of his life which brings us peace. Imagine yourself like a rocker, which moves effortlessly back and forth and consider Jesus invitation to you in Matthew 11:28-30:
"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Do you experience it? The moments of first waking when everything in the world seems right; but within seconds the "to-do list" of the day floods in, taking the sense of joy right out the window.