By Shawn McHargue; friend of REMERGE and Co-Founder and Lead Technical Instructor at the Automotive Training Center.
The words that come to mind when I explain how my life feels these days are; light, full, and free. And I love it!
But my life would never have been described like that in the past…I used to do and do and do and do. This was my life for years!
I used to max out every moment of every day of every week. I always felt like I needed to be busy as I was constantly comparing my life with others. I felt like it helped me be somebody. It was really enabling my pride of being busy and doing a bunch of “good” things just to prove myself.
I realize now that I can have margin in my life because of the freedom from not having to be someone. I feel like the Lord loves the word margin. In the Old Testament God institutes Sabbath, which is having us not work for one day to just abide in Him in order to build margin. For the Israelites this meant to reflect on what God brought them out of.
As I reflected and dug into why I felt like I needed to be somebody, I began to notice it was from my past. It was from attending a very wealthy Christian school where I would never have gone if my mom didn’t teach there. At this school I felt less than because of the money and things my friends had that I didn’t. My friends didn’t flaunt their money and weren’t bratty acting like “those rich kids”.
I knew all about Jesus and knew that he was good and died for us and that he was worth living for. I knew the Bible wanted me to do good things and I thought that I should feed the hungry and serve my church. So, I packed out my calendar with good ol’ church things to do. This would allow me to be doing the best things. Or at least I thought.
Because of that busy lifestyle of doing a bunch of “good things”, I didn’t have time to spend with the Lord or have time to be led by the Spirit. There are more than enough good things we can put our time to, but we can get caught up doing good things and miss out on a specific thing that God has for us.
In the process of the Lord becoming real to me, scripture started coming alive and captured my heart. And I am someone that doesn’t like to read! John 15:1-17 stuck out and hit me in a new way. The phrase in which Jesus speaks about abiding and remaining in him was churning deep in my heart. The text goes on to say how apart from him you cannot bear fruit, but when we are abiding in Him we do bear fruit.
It’s not about the fruit, it’s about being with Jesus. The end goal is not more fruit, but it is more of Jesus. Coincidentally, more of Jesus equals more fruit. But, when we just want more fruit, it leads to some temporary happiness, a busy schedule, and empty hopes.
Recently, I have been able to cut out a lot of the things I felt like I had to do, and now I have margin in my life. Now, I can be more spirit-led and enjoy my time with the Lord. I would argue the things He leads me to do become much more fruitful than the things I felt like I was supposed to do, but it wasn’t necessarily spirit led.
My life is not just me sitting at home. I do end up doing things, inviting people over that the Lord lays on my heart and praying for people and situations. I never had margin in my life for that in the past.
What does this mean in today’s busy culture?
We are to rest in Christ, in an on-going awareness of his finished work on the cross. We don’t have to do anything to earn his love or salvation! Reflecting on this we are drawn more into him, which then leads us back to abiding in him from John 15.
And all of this ties back to the simplicity of the great commandment of our Lord; love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love others as ourselves.