There is a good reason I’m not a variety show performer. Coordination is strongly lacking in my abilities. However, I’m awed by people who can juggle and spin plates. Not just with juggling balls and real plates, but in life as well, with schedules and to-do lists. In addition to being coordination deficient, I’m also time management and productivity deficient. I was not prepared for the mental, spiritual, and physical juggling motherhood requires. Motherhood keeps our days and hands full. It’s easy to feel disconnected from Jesus as we work to keep all the balls in the air and the plates spinning.
I grew up with someone who is now a professional juggler. One thing I noticed watching him juggle over the years, was where he kept his eyes: Upward. His neck stays slightly tilted upward the entire time. His eyes catch the balls as they fly through the air. The moment he looks down or at his hands, the rhythm breaks, and the balls fall.
This visual has been a reminder for me of what it looks like to stay connected to Jesus when my days and hands are full.
3 Simple Ways to Abide in Jesus
In John 15:4, Jesus says to the disciples: “Remain in me, as I also 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.”
When Jesus extended this invitation, he knew our lives would be full and the only way for us to juggle it all is to keep our eyes on him. But it’s hard. Our tendency is to look at our hands or see which ball is coming next. Do you ever experience tension between longing for a close connection with Jesus and the reality of your scattered days? Our minds and hands bounce from one thing to the next, hoping not to drop a ball. Or at least not drop a really important one. The “how” of abiding in Christ while wearing the hats of wife, mother, employee, friend, and leader can leave us feeling defeated before we start.
We don’t have to wait until our schedules are slower or we are retired to experience Jesus’ abundant presence in our days. He wants to meet us in our ordinary moments. Here are three simple ways to abide in Jesus when your days and hands are full.
1. Start Small
I want to hike the Grand Canyon for my 40th birthday. I’ve got roughly two years to train for the 24 mile rim-to-rim hike. It’s not an endeavor that requires rigorous training but I can’t expect my body to sustain a long, rigorous hike without some strength and endurance. To help prepare myself I’ve started walking 1-2 miles in the heat of the day several times a week. I would prefer to walk in the cooler morning air, but I know it won’t prepare me as well for the desert heat. Notice I said, I’m starting with 1-2 miles, not the full 24 or even half of that. I’m starting small with a long runway.
Abiding in Christ isn’t a sprint. It’s a lifetime pursuit of growing more and more connected to him. Start small. Identify a time of day or situation where you long for more of Jesus’ presence, peace and power and simply start there.
2. Cue Yourself
In Deuteronomy 6:8, God tells the children of Israel, “Tie them (Scripture) as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” I always thought this was a little intense, until I realized how forgetful I am. We are bombarded daily with distractions and disruptions and our very best intentions to connect with God can get sidelined. God was prompting the children of Israel to remind themselves to keep their eyes on him when they were tempted to focus on their hands or the next ball coming. We need these cues for ourselves. Prompts remind us to pause and respond to his presence with us.
Ways to Cue Yourself:
- Set an Alarm for the time of day or circumstance you want to experience more connection with Jesus. I have a daily alarm set for 2:30 PM. A time I’ve learned I need to pause and lift my eyes upward.
- Set out Scripture in the places you are most. I have scripture prayer cards set out around my home in the spaces I spend most of my times, at the kitchen sink, the laundry room. Cue yourself not to just complete a task but to engage with God while your hands are full.
- Choose a Spot to prompt you to pause. When I pull into carline there is a sign that prompts me to put up the pick-up number and to pause, pray and connect with Jesus before we head into the chaos of after school. (Family Christian’s Carpool Line podcast is designed specifically for this!)
Jesus says he is the vine and we are the branches. The branch receives everything it needs from the vine. Receive means to take into ones possession what is given. Freely receive what Jesus gives to you as you abide in him. He’s pouring out patience, love, kindness, grace and mercy abundantly to you.
In Psalm 16:11 the author proclaims, “you will fill me with joy in your presence.” Jesus’ invitation to remain in Him isn’t one more thing for us to put on a to-do list. It’s a posture for us to learn to live from. He longs for us to cease our striving and live from abiding.