I take all three of my kids to the gym with me. My baby girl is 5 months, so I cart her around in her stroller. My two boys stay close to me as we walk through the parking lot to the sidewalk that leads to the gym’s Kids’ Club. My boys know to stay close to me in the parking lot because the cars scare them and they sense the danger. Once we get to the sidewalk, however, it’s a free-for-all, and they run ahead of me.
When we first began this walk, I would urge them to stay close. My heart raced because drivers are constantly cruising down the street looking for parking, and one of my boys could easily take a few steps off of the sidewalk and get hit. Also, the boys would get to the Kids’ Club so fast that they would have to wait for me to catch up. They couldn’t enter in without me, so they just stood there anxiously crying for me to hurry.
One particularly nerve-wracking morning, they ran ahead of me again. I kept yelling for them to wait, but my voice was getting blown away with the wind. I remember thinking that if they would only walk with me, I could protect them and enjoy their presence. I could chat with them, ask them questions and tell them how awesome they each are. Also, if they stayed with me, they wouldn’t be anxiously waiting for me at the entrance. There would be absolutely no lag time, and they would arrive at the entrance and immediately walk in.
As I tried to push the stroller faster toward the Kids’ Club where my boys were waiting, God gave me an image of me constantly moving ahead of Him. In that moment, I understood what God had been telling me for years. I realized that whenever I get a glimpse of where God is leading me, I take off running. I run from His protection and from His presence.
I did this exact thing with the Granola Bar Devotional Ministry. God directed me towards doing this ministry and, zip, I took off. I was so busy editing, marketing and writing that I didn’t have much time to spend with Him. I was so consumed with trying to make this ministry successful, that I didn’t enjoy the process of starting a ministry. It was a lot of work, and I made a lot of mistakes. I had to change a lot of things and do a lot of things over.
I look back and recognize that I wasted a lot of time and energy and endured needless heartache and frustration. If I would have clung to God during the entire process, I would not have made so many mistakes, I would have enjoyed myself more and I would have established this ministry in His perfect timing. Instead of making a straight shot, I made a bunch of zig-zags, u-turns and complete stops and start overs. I wasted my time running and then crying out to God to hurry up! I could have skipped all the chaos if I would have just abided (to stay) in Him.
Abiding is so important. Abiding is why we were created. Abiding is our joy. Abiding is our protection. Abiding is everything. Ministry is just a side note and nothing more. When we make a ministry more important than God, we have seriously failed. Our purpose is to love God and to allow Him to love us. Anything else in this life is simply a manifestation of His divine love.
So now when God shows me the “sidewalk,” I don’t run off; instead, I stay close to Him. Life is so short, and God has a specific design and plan for me. I don’t want to miss it or mess it up. I wasted a lot of time not abiding in Him, and I do not want to make the same reckless mistake. If I would simply abide in Him, I would fulfill my God-given purpose and enjoy life in the process.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me” (John 15.4 NASB).