Lent 2019: Day 11
Jesus, Our Place to Reside
Since leaving home for undergraduate in 1991, I lived in Georgia for 12 years, I lived in New York City for 6 years, and I’ve lived in the DC Metro Area for the last 10 years. Even though I’ve only lived in three states, I have lived in at least 24 different homes, usually in the form of apartments. That means in the last 28 years, l lived an average of 1.17 years in each place. In fact, there are only three homes in which I’ve lived more than 2 years. That level of mobility has sometimes taken its toll. I often don’t stay in a place long enough to feel connected to the home or my neighbors. When I realized how much I’ve moved in my adulthood, I thought about how many times I’ve been an outsider, the new kid on the block.
I’ve moved around so much because I’ve always struggled to pay rent when it has increased after the special that got me to move in the first place. I’ve struggled to pay rent because I’ve never trusted God with the call on my life; so, I’ve always worked “real” jobs trying to build a “real” life based on the collective consciousness of African Americans who were taught to get a good education in order to get a “real job” and live a “real” adult life.
Last week when my “real” life took over my creative call, I missed an important deadline for my thesis. I felt crushed and I felt like I had let God down. I realized that I’ve never trusted God and the call to be an artist. I’ve always tried to go it alone or do it on the side. In other words, in terms of my call, I’ve never abided in Jesus nor have I allowed Jesus’ words about my call to abide in me. I’ve been listening to other folks and this society’s value system.
When God gave me John 15:7 for today’s blog, I went back to my January reflection on the verse. In my journal I wrote, “Abide is one of those words we take for granted, especially in John 15. The Greek definition is pretty straight forward, μένω = “menō” = “remain; stay; reside.” I like the word reside. It gives me a sense of permanency, a residency, a place to hang one’s purse and place one’s pumps.”
This morning, I would add that abiding in Jesus gives me a place to hang my imagination, put my pen down on paper and pour out my words. God has said that it is time for me to take myself seriously. Most importantly, God has reminded me that while I fear being able to pay my bills, it’s time to take John 15:7 seriously when Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” That includes asking Jesus to help me support myself as I answer the call on my life.
Today, as you reflect, ask yourself in what place are you afraid to abide in Jesus?