Stay Connected

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So last night, in yet another attempt to put off the inevitable packing we have to do this week, Bernie and I decided to head to the boardwalk for a leisurely bike ride.  The goal was to the end of the pier and back.

Getting from point A to B, you wouldn’t believe how much was going on–we had the Gin Blossoms, gospel singers, Motown, a very amateur circus act, a few Jimmy Buffet wannabes, a random group of street dancers–if you can think or dream of it, chances are it was probably there.

This, compounded with the difficulty of maneuvering around the six-person bikes that travel at about .02 mph, made for quite the experience, but we loved every minute and took it all in, pausing for each show as we moseyed down the boardwalk.

I’ve mentioned the boardwalk and it’s many distractions before, because I think it’s easy to equate our lives to all the hubbub.  So often, we might have an end goal, or a project we’ve been called to, but every other block along the way, there’s something else to entice or distract us.

For someone like me, with the attention span of a flea, this has always been a challenge.  Why do you think we were even on a bike ride?  To avoid the empty boxes that currently inhabit our home.  Ironic that my own diversion would be used to teach me, yet again, about all of life’s little distractions.

Everywhere I look, there are things vying for my attention, some great, fruitful things, and others, not so much.  But, how do you decipher?  How do you discern what’s productive and what is fleeting?

For me, some my “fleeting” distractions are pretty obvious–they’re the same ones I’ve struggled with for years, but other times it’s not as easy.

This morning, I was reading in John 15 when God talks about the vine and the branches.  For me, it was helpful to hear the importance Jesus places on staying connected to Him:

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.”

Whatever we’ve set out to accomplish or invest in, be it a move, a workout, a job, a relationship, school, or volunteering, we have to stay connected to the Source.  When we’re connected to the Source, we will bear fruit, but apart from God, we can do nothing.

When we’re connected, we have His strength and His vision to stay focused and work hard to reach the end.  We also have a greater sense that it’s not just about us, He has a plan.

Even in something as trivial as our current move, I’ve dragged my heels along the way, not wanting to wrap this up.  However, when I’m making a conscious effort to connect to God, He has whispered His truths to me and reminded me that what’s on the other side of this move, even though some is still unknown, is His perfect design for us.  If I stay where I am, I won’t experience what God has next.  The move is a pain, but God’s plans are good; full of hope and promise (Jer. 29:11).

When I lose sight of that, it’s much easier to get discouraged, negative, and lazy.

So, here’s to staying connected and packing on up!!

“Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”
James 4:8