Oh y'all, are we going to do this? Yes. Let's do this.
For the past two years, I've grown this huge aversion to the word "busy". Maybe you did too. I decided I never, never wanted to describe myself as busy. I searched for new, honest things to say when catching up with a friend. When asked how I was doing, I decided not to sigh and just say, "oh...busy!". And when people would talk about how they know I'm busy so they wouldn't ask anything of me. I'd cringe and immediately assure them: I'm NOT busy. My hands are full. I work. But I'm certainly not TOO busy.
You know the only problem with that? I found myself pigeon-holed and trying to deny that I was busy. I wasn't being honest and I was demoralizing a word instead of the issues behind it. Instead of saying I'm busy, I could have more honestly said - "I'm in a state of constantly working on my priorities." I am too busy for some things, because God has not written them as a priority for me - but doesn't mean something is intrinsically wrong with me for being busy. But I don't need to feel weird shame or burden about having a full plate and trying hard to fit in all God has for me in this season.
I have done the same thing with the phrase "losing weight". Even now, I cringe saying it. But there it is: I'm trying to lose weight. I have been half heartedly trying for about two and a half years, but in the last few weeks and months I've felt the freedom to REALLY TRY. At the root of it, my heart has shifted so much and I wouldn't say I'm losing weight to be more beautiful or I'm losing weight to be more at home in my body. I'm losing weight because to be at my optimal health, there is weight to lose. And more than any of those things - I don't crave skinny or tiny or beautiful. I crave freedom. I crave the day when this is NOT A THING for me any longer. And I know that the Holy Spirit can do that work whether I lose 0 more pounds, 20 more, or gain 100.
I feel the temptation, just like with being busy, to say "Oh I'm not trying to lose weight, just be as healthy as I can be." I feel the temptation to hide the trying. But I AM working towards this goal and I'd like to talk about what happens when that meets the idea of Abiding. As I shared last week, this summer is 100% about abiding for me. And I'm wondering what it looks like to Abide, Rest, Remain in Jesus as I also push, press in, work hard, and attempt to do this thing.
And maybe for you it's not losing weight, maybe it's some other huge goal. Maybe even one that other people would scoff at you a little bit about? Maybe it's a goal that's caused an internal battle - how can I do this, but not do it in my own strength?
Here's what I've learned as I've dug into John 15.
Remember He is the gardener. This is not my fruit alone to grow. This is not my sole project. This is His. He will do the growing, He will bring the fruit. I am not alone. (John 15:1)
Remember He cuts off what bears no fruit. There are ways that this world will teach me to reach this goal that are not life giving or fruit bearing, I have to open my head and my hands to Him and let Him do the pruning. Also, I HAVE to let Him prune the parts of my life that are detracting from this thing He's growing. If they're relationships or habits or rhythms, I have to be willing to let these go. (John 15:2)
Remember I am already clean. I am already enough. This growth, this goal is for my good and the glory of God. But when I abide in Him, I am already clean and enough. (John 15:3)
Remember that I will bear much fruit. He has said it, I will believe it. If I remain in Him, if I walk with Him and stay with Him - THERE WILL BE FRUIT and a lot of it. I don't get to decide what it is, or how it comes or when it comes, but it's coming. (John 15:5)
Remember that if I don't walk with Him, it's going to get ugly. I'm going to make it about me. I'm going to screw it up. I'm going to make it about my glory and my kingdom instead of His. (John 15:6)
I can pray about this. I can ask boldly and faithfully for fruit, because He says I can. Because He's my dad and He cares about my things. (John 15:7)
I have to remain in His love. I don't need to motivate myself by looking to others or making a moldboard. I don't need to beat myself up about where I'm at with it. He is crazy in love with me right where I'm at. And as His daughter, I can just soak Him up.
And so there it is. I'm trying to lose weight. But I'm also resting, abiding in the great love of my Father. I'm trying very hard and resting very freely all at once.
I'd love to hear if there's anything you're called to try and rest in as well.
For more of my health + weightloss + exercise thoughts: I post almost daily here.