Top 10 Reasons I Love Remaining

Our triune God values remaining.

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. (John 15:4)

In John 15:4-10 the word “Remain” is used eight times. Eight. The passage could almost read “Words words words remain, words words remain. Remain words words.”

You don’t use a term eight times if you aren’t trying to make a point. Or you are very early in your language learning and your vocabulary is small. Not the case with God. Not even close. So it must be He is making a point.

It is key to note that God is emphasizing remaining in Him, and in particular, in His love. A message for all, regardless if you are in the midst of change or returning. But this week, we are creating space and focusing on remaining on the field. Maybe this passage, the Remain Passage, will anchor you in the sea of change and remind you of the blessing in remaining. Yes, your life may have people coming and going and change may be your normal.

But if you are in a season where you will remain, here are my

Top 10 Reasons I Love Remaining

  1. The sense of belonging. No longer are you passing through. Your home is set up. This is your neighborhood. Your street. Your people. Your team. Your work. And it is good.


  1. The sense of community. When you remain, sure, the pollution may drive you nuts, the honking of horns get under your skin, the beggars still break your heart, but. But you are now a part of it.


  1. The sense of rootedness. Your roots may go deep or they may just be taking hold, but you are anchored in a way that helps settle you deep inside. You aren’t wondering what next semester or next year will bring, you know you will be here doing this. And once again, it is good.


  1. Being known. Granted you may not be best friends with the whole neighborhood. Yet when you walk down the street you’ve got the flower lady who smiles at you. When you go shopping in the market or the store you have your egg lady or you know the brand of local bread you like. You are known to yourself and others in this context.


  1. Familiarity. When you remain you know where and how to do something. Now, it might take all day or even several days, but at least you know what you are doing. Amen?! Amen. And you know which local dishes are the best to eat. Yum.


  1. Routines! Even if unpleasant, at least you can now anticipate them. Remember how it used to throw you when the internet was slowed down for no apparent reason?! It still might annoy the bejeebers out of you, but you know it is tied to political meetings and (Lord willing) how long it will last.


  1. God at work. When you remain, you can see God at work over time in one place. You might be in an exciting phase where it seems the Church and individuals are growing in leaps and bounds! Or you might be tilling crusty soil and wondering if you are making any difference. One snapshot is just that: a moment in time. However, when you remain, you have a broader perspective.


  1. Growing knowledge. As the weeks turn into months and years, your knowledge of the cultures grows. Just think of what you know about your city, village, or area.


  1. Become an “acceptable outsider.” My friend Joann coined the term “acceptable outsider.” Many of us live and serve in cultures where either (a) blending in isn’t an option or (b) the culture has a sense of “insider” and “outsider.” As we stay and learn the norms and rules of a place (and abide by most of them), we move from outsider to acceptable outsider and even beloved outsider.


  1. Make lifelong friends. Sure, relationships can go deep during short intense experiences. But life can only be lived in short intense spurts and then you turn thirty. I’m kidding. Mostly. The majority of us, even with transition after transition woven in, find a base of people to do life with, both local and expat friends. And we are all the richer for it.


What would be on your Top 10 Reasons You Love Remaining?


  1. M'Lynn May 24, 2017

    When you remain, you get to keep your shoes! Like…All of them! (Every single pair you toted across the ocean over 8 years) And this is on the Top Ten especially if you wear size 11 🙂

    1. Amy Young May 25, 2017

      Shoes!!! Yes :)! Their mere presence represents “this is my place”– M’Lynn, you’re so good at keeping my feet on the ground 🙂

  2. sarah May 25, 2017

    When you remain, you can settle into the rhythms of that place. So, each festival of the year doesn’t seem to pop up out of the blue and catch you off guard. And, you already know- yeah, I love this festival and the specific activities and food attached to it; or, this festival is lame and the food ravages your stomach for many days following, so it’s better to travel during this one. You know (generally) what things you can look forward to in the year and what things require advance mental preparation- but, bc you’ve remained, you KNOW that that festival/season needs preparation, so you do it, and aren’t so taken out by it as in the early years.

  3. Amy Young May 25, 2017

    Rhythms!! Yes! And festivals— such good reminders and stones of remembrance of remaining :). Thanks Sarah

  4. Grace L May 25, 2017

    Amy, I love your list and I can confirm every one of these points. It is wonderful to be in a season of remaining. Thank you for sharing so clearly.

    1. Amy Young May 26, 2017

      The seasons of remaining (if there is a sense of belonging and peace) are so lovely, aren’t they :)?

  5. Katie May 25, 2017

    The thoughts you give really resonate with me. My church’s women’s ministry leaders got together recently and we are praying through what we believe is a time of re-working God wants to do in our ministry to ladies. We really came to the conclusion women should enter our ministry and feel like ‘ i belong here.’. Belonging, being known, and accepted i think is the desire of so many of us, you mentioned those above. Ultimately remaining and abiding in the One who can accomplish this.

    1. Amy Young May 26, 2017

      Belonging — I love this :). So thankful you are experiencing it and helping other experience it too!!

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