Plugged in: Are you?
Before laptops and batteries, computers were dependent on electrical outlets for their power source twenty-four seven. This was the time before percent checks, charging stations, and “My battery is dying.”
Early on in my teaching career, I could not get my printer to turn on. I tried and tried. Nothing seemed to work. Finally, after I had tried everything, I asked for help. I was so embarrassed when the first order of business was something I did not even think to check. My tech support climbed beneath the table and checked the outlet connection to the wall. He gave the slightest little push and voila, my printer began printing. My connection to the power source had become compromised!
At that moment, I felt so stupid for missing the most obvious solution, but I wonder if many of us are walking around feeling unplugged. Do we wonder why we aren’t happy? Why we aren’t more fulfilled with our lives? Where is our peace? Where is our joy?
Some people seek a counselor or therapist. Some read self-help books. Some explore medication. Some people attend church once a week, thinking church attendance will fix their problems. Now more than ever, people seemed stressed-out- and on massive overload. Elections, tornadoes, and deadly viruses, oh, my! It is hard not to get stressed if you watch the news.
Jesus gives us the solution when we feel untethered. In fact, the answer is so simple, we often discount it. These three questions can help you evaluate your own power source.
Are you connected to a source or The Source?
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
How do we remain in him? This struggle is real. Sometimes we think remaining in him is trying to achieve perfection in our lives. We think if we can just be good enough, we will be closer to him; however, it doesn’t work that way.
The secret is not about you at all. It is recognizing God for who he is and his incredible power. It is about humbling yourself. It is “being with” God. Plugging yourself into God’s thoughts and ways. To plug into the vine, we need to disconnect ourselves from all false sources of power we tend to love. Where do you think your energy comes from? A binge on Netflix? Bubble bath? Extra sleep? Social media? Spa day? Shopping Spree?
If apart from God, we can do nothing, shouldn’t we strive to connect our branches and lives to him, the ultimate source of goodness and love? Instead, we often put more stock in our own accounts. We think we can handle whatever comes our way on our own. We take complete control, and when our branches get dry and begin to wither, we say, “Where is God? How could he let this happen to me?” When maybe we are just inches from the solution. The land flowing with milk and honey, the vibrant flower, the tree filled with fruit could be closer than we think. Is your branch connected?
Ann Lamott says, "Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes...including you."
You might need to unplug yourself from technology or your own schedule and move your plug to God's outlet.
The first step is recognizing your need to be plugged into his power and grace. For some reason, we make plugging in hard; it is so simple, though. It is all about making room for him in your life.
Do you seek to be alone with God?
Mark 1: 35- Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Jesus valued alone time with God. He sought it out. He got up early to be away from the crowds before they could find him. He knew how important it was to be with God.
Do you seek out quiet moments with the Lord? I’m not talking about rushed prayers, I’m talking about undivided purposeful attention. We make time to spend time with our loved ones, our families, and God calls us his sons and daughters. Making time to be with him is how you connect your branch to his vine.
Being with God has the power to transform your life.
Luke 9:28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John, and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of this face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
I love this so much! God transforms us through time spent in prayer with him.
He somehow magically trades our sins and yucky attitudes for his light and power. The Holy Spirit living inside us begins to nudge us to be more like-minded with the Lord.
The power begins to flow through the vine to the branches and we have his glory working in our life. If you spend time with him, you can’t help but be changed from the inside out.
Maybe we aren’t going to be bright as flashes of lightning like the Lord, but I believe we can sparkle in this dark world. Time spent with Him allows the light of the Lord to shine through your life.
Five years ago, I made the decision to quit double booking my time with God. Instead of a quick prayer on the way to school or waiting until I am already falling asleep to pray, I decided to make an appointment “with” God. I bet you if you are like me, you keep your word when you are planning on meeting someone for lunch. I decided this attempt at growing closer to the Lord would be different. I would keep my promise to myself and to him.
It has made all the difference in my life. My branch breaks off sometimes, but then I just bend down and wrap it around the vine and my broken branch grafts back in.
No matter where you are in your life, it is always a good time to check your source. Are your branches bearing fruit? Are you plugged into his power and peace? If not, find a time to be alone with God, talk to him, ask him to attach your branch to his vine. Ask him to change your life. It may take a while, but if you keep checking your source, you will look back and see new fruit growing in your life. It will most likely start as a green sprout shooting up through the dirt, so don’t expect a full-grown apple tree in a few days. God is patient with us and helps us grow at our own rate.
The way I see it, if you need more joy and peace in your life, check your connection. Where do you recharge? Unplug from the things of this world and plug yourself into the source of all life. What have you got to lose? Make an appointment this week with the King of the World. He is always taking new clients, and he is always available.