It seems that the older I get, the less complicated I need things to be. I have enough trouble remembering where my keys are, what I walked into a room for, or the right name to say when I call one of my kids. Anyone else afflicted with this?
In addition to my family, there are many areas that I am responsible for or need to engage in. My days can oftentimes overflow with endless checklists of items waiting to be marked off.
And in the midst of all this, there is a relationship that I am cultivating with the Creator of the Universe. That’s a pretty big deal that I never want to miss out on. I am invited to enter into God’s presence but I also never have to leave. Especially since, through Jesus, that presence dwells in me.
But sometimes, even that invitation feels like another bullet on my checklist or a list of rules that I put on myself. I’m always trying to find the perfect condition to enter into the place in which I’m actually meant to remain.
Several years ago, God began to teach me more about identity and how I saw myself. He reminded me that my worth was not dependent on the things I did or what other people said, but that my core had to be anchored in being His.
A position gifted to me through Jesus that I could never earn. His whispers to me in that season were life altering. They formed what would soon become my rhythm of abiding, the simple way I flow into remaining and staying positioned in Christ.
Identity, Intimacy & Influence.
These three words are what I whisper when I need to get myself and my relationship with Christ off the checklist and into the center of everything.
- Identity-I am His and I am loved:
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.”
1 John 3:1a ESV
- Intimacy-I am invited to dwell and rest with Him:
“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him.”
Psalm 91:1-2 NLT
- Influence-From my place with Him, I will share of His goodness:
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
John 15:16 NIV
I believe that when we know who we are, we will know where to go, and when we know where to go, we will release fruit that brings lasting impact and influence.
In those moments I take those three words and picture myself like a tree. I let my identity in Christ anchor me. It’s the roots that go down deep into the soil of His presence, and then intimacy forms the trunk that grows out of that place. A strong core of prayer, worship, writing, sitting, waiting—all the things involved in relationship. Finally, influence is the outstretched branches, producing the fruit out of the overflow of identity and intimacy that allows others to taste and see that God is good.
These are my simple tools for abiding. Identity. Intimacy. Influence. I don’t need any more complication. I don’t need anything else to feed lingering fear of man and performance mentality. I don’t need more doing that’s devoid of power and only puffs up my self-importance.
I need the abiding. The resting beneath the shadow of the Most High. The cover and the shield that His presence is. And as I linger in that place, I trust that he will release me to speak and do and act when it is time. However often or far between.
Like an arrow, he pulls me back, pulls me close and when he is ready, releases me as a weapon that is accurate, sharp and skillful, pinpointing any enemy, obstacle, or the next item on my list, with precision.
What does this mean for you, friend?
Are you seeking influence without the foundation of identity? Are you craving intimacy but fail to see how you can influence? Are you set in your identity but distracted from cultivating intimacy? What area speaks to you the most in the season you are in now?
Want a way to dig deeper into this image for abiding? Check out a printable tool HERE.
You can use this activity to create and cultivate your own Tree of Abiding in relation to this blog post. On the first page consider what Bible verses are foundational for you. Write the verse reference below. What specific words can you pull from those passages to serve as reminders of those truths?
Write those words down next to the corresponding verse.
Then on the second page, taking the words you gleaned from the verses you wrote, fill in those truths in the areas around the tree. For example, if one of your verses was Psalm 34:8, you may glean the truth of God’s goodness. Maybe for you a good place to put that would be in the roots of Identity. Or maybe it also fits for you as a fruit of Influence.
Photo by Unsplash | Tim Mossholder