In the first post of this “series” I eluded to some laughter at my expense…so here goes. True story – don’t judge!
I am on the road, a lot, running between home and the kids’ school and activities, 20 minutes away. As a side effect this also means I am at the gas station, a lot. So on one particular afternoon, a few months ago, I zipped into the gas station, grabbed my gas card, and swiped it. The screen read, PLEASE SEE ATTENDANT. My thoughts, “Ok, for real? I really don’t have time to see the attendant and I know this card works, too bad your gas pumps don’t.” (I don’t know for sure that is verbatim but knowing myself as well as I do I can only guess it was along those lines.) I took my card and walked into the gas station, handed it to the attendant and said, very politely (I may think snarky things but they usually stay within the confines of my own head) “I tried to use my card and it didn’t work.” She looked at it and said “We don’t accept this here.” Me: “Since when? I just used it here a couple of days ago.” I am dumbfounded at this point. What memo did I miss?! She handed it back to me and said, “We never have. We have always been a Marathon station.” At this point I finally look at the card I am trying to use to pay for my gas and realize it is for the wrong gas station. I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING! With that, I said nothing else, walked stoically to the car, pretending I was not the biggest flake in the world at that moment and drove next door to get gas at the correct gas station. I am sure the lady thought I was insane, I actually considered it for a moment myself.
There are a lot of things I could try to explain in my defense, but suffice it to say, this is what my brain looks like on overdrive. (Does anybody remember the tv commercial where there is a guy holding an egg and they do a voice over saying, “This is your brain.” Then they crack the egg and scramble it and say, “This is your brain on drugs.” Ok, this is kind of like that only it wasn’t on drugs, it was on “busy.”)
You scribbled these envelope notes a really long time ago, before you really had a clue what busy was going to look like today. Before you knew how busy, busy can be. Take a moment today and just reflect on what you wrote, sounds like you could use it. Most days you do a decent job of abiding. It’s the premise behind Run and Be Still, stilling your spirit amidst the chaos and activity. Abide in HIM, listening for the still small voice of God. This is how the crazy that is your life these days can become beautiful.
Remember, Satan likes you busy and distracted. This kind of busy is the place where you are producing a lot of action and very little fruit. This is the place where stress, and worry, and exhaustion become the preoccupation. This is the place where you try to force things by your own efforts. This is the place where you go to the wrong gas station.
You know what, self? There is one word which I have already said to you that you need to remember in all of this. It is the answer to the problem of “that kind” of busy. Abide.
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. (John 15:1,4-6)
Abide in God while you are driving, waiting, washing, cooking, mothering, working…abide. The most important end of the branch is not the fruit end but instead at the connection to the vine. Without a strong, healthy connection, fruit will never be produced, no matter how hard we try on our own. Without a strong, healthy connection we will wither, crumple, become brittle, snap easily.
Our minds are always full, what we are filling them with is important. It will shape and color every other aspect of our day. Matt Chandler said these words, “You will live your life, or it will live you.” Inject God into your day, abide in Him. Take back control of your thoughts, even if you can’t help your busy schedule. Begin to think relationally instead of morally. God as your friend to share your day with not a referee making sure you follow the rules and play fair. Do this and see how much can change.
Oh, and for crying out loud, look before you swipe at the gas pump!