Yesterday I remembered who I am. Yesterday, for the first time, really, since coming to MTI, I didn’t feel like I was confronting all the things about myself that need to be changed or addressed. Instead, I was free to remember the worthwhile stuff about me. The parts of me Jesus has been at work redeeming. The parts of me that shine His light. In other words, for the first time, I felt free to be Kim.
Before I go on, I have to say MTI is outstanding. The people who work here are great, the facility and surroundings are lovely, and everything we are learning is important and helpful. I appreciate the thought and care put not only into the individual units, but in how they’ve been woven together. We aren’t simply working our way down through each section. Instead, we move back and forth, always building on other things we’ve learned.
After yesterday, I now see the things I really struggled with have been caused by my own self-doubts and insecurities. For example, no one has told me I must hang out after dinner, but I’ve allowed myself to feel like it is a requirement. No one has told me that needing a lot of time alone is bad, but I’ve chosen to hear that. Why have I been doing that to myself? Yesterday I began to figure it out.
So, yesterday. Our topic for the entire day was Embracing Rest and Sabbath-Keeping. As some of you know, Sabbathing has been an interest of mine for the past couple of years. Not because I do it well, but because I so desire to have this beautiful and loving commandment as a part of my life!
For a long while I was spending my Sundays Sabbathing. Lots of time reading, reflecting, being alone with Jesus. Long walks, hanging out with friends, worshiping with my church family.
In the past months, however, I’ve spent Sundays giving presentations, preaching, planning, thinking about all I need to do. In themselves, none of these are bad things. What happened, however, was I stopped taking intentional time to unplug. After all, I had way too much to do! And what happened? By choosing not to unplug from the pulls and pressures of my life, I actually wound up loosening my attachment to the Vine.
You know, God is so amazing. He’s been putting John 15:1-17 in my path for months now. I just keep ignoring it! We’ve used it over and over here, too. Abide in Me. This is not just a nice thing to do. It’s not just something to take time for when things are running along smoothly. Instead, I have discovered in a rather distressing and painful way, the toll ignoring that connection can take.
By not taking time to let go of all of my ‘big important stuff’ (and a lot of it really is!), I was also letting go of the life-sustaining Vine. Part of my ‘meltdown’ earlier this week was because I had forgotten who I am in Christ. The sad truth is this losing sight had started long before coming to MTI. I’ve been allowing the busyness of my life to shout all kinds of things at me, drowning out the still, small Voice of the only One who matters.
Being confronted here with new voices, new thoughts and ideas, new things to process and think about, hit me hard because I had not been allowing God to speak truth to me each week about who I am – or remind me of Whose I am! Without that intentional weekly time of letting go of myself, I’ve been losing myself.
Yesterday we spent pretty much the entire day not only talking about the Sabbath, but ‘doing’ the Sabbath. And, it was glorious! In the afternoon we all went outside by ourselves to spend time with our Bibles, and some questions to help us ponder our relationship with Embracing Rest and the Sabbath.
It was a warm day, but also incredibly windy. I found a spot near the building where I was mostly sheltered from the wind, but could still look out at the majesty of the Rockies, the beauty of the trees, and feel the warmth of the sun. Every so often gusts would whip around me, causing me to stop writing for a time, holding down my papers until it settled down again. The trees were flailing all around, but in my spot, I experienced a great deal of calm.
As I sat there, I was reminded of God’s love for me. The world around me seems to be blowing in all directions. Sometimes all I can do is close my eyes and let the winds come. But, in all of it, I have the shelter of my Strong Tower. He loves me right now. He doesn’t just love some future version of me that is going to be so much more grown up and so much more like His Son. He delights in me, right now.
Only through this Sabbath could I hear His invitation to abide in Him. Right now. Not when I finally get my act together. One of my classmates put it beautifully: In offering God Nothing, I am actually offering Him Everything. Yesterday I was reminded that in having Nothing to bring to God which is of any true value, I am giving Him Everything He has asked me to bring.
Today is a new day in many, many ways. Today the Kim I am right now is ready to face whatever challenges the day holds. Because today follows yesterday, that day of Sabbath, when I stopped, and allowed God to start healing me once again.
Oh, Father, how amazing and deep and wide and long and high is Your love! Thank you for Your invitation to just be with You, bringing Nothing but me. Thank you for delighting in me right now. Thank you for rejoicing over me with singing. Thank you, Jesus, my true Vine for loving me before I was even born. Holy Spirit, help me to cling to You, my only strength and life.