You’d think a night away free from baby duty would mean I wake up feeling refreshed and well slept. No such thing! My body clock is already pre-programmed to Avas night feeds- 2.30am and 5.30am, and no hotel room or comfy mattress was going to shake these off. So as I lay practically wide awake by 6am, I decided I would go to the gym. Surprisingly, regardless of how tired I am, I actually feel more awake and brighter after going than I did before. This may sound like madness to others- but I enjoy working out and keeping active, something I’ve done very little of since Ava was born. You can imagine my delight when I discovered the hotel had a gym! I couldn’t contain my excitement!
So as I step onto the cross trainer, I get myself organised; placing my water bottle in its holder with my phone and key card next to the display. I’d barely begun my workout when I glanced at my phone to check the time and was distracted by my room key card. On it were the words written, your stay, your way. I wasn’t surprised that my mind immediately began buzzing with words and an itch to write my next blog. It’s moments like these how God chooses to work in me by dropping a word into my heart which I can write about and share with others.
So as I re-read these words, I thought about how when I stay in a hotel I make full use of all the facilities- I even go as far as using all the luxury products in the bathroom and looking forward to them being replenished the next morning! Anyone else do this- just me? I use the fresh towels; enjoy sleeping in the comfortable beds with fresh, crisp bedding. I make full use of the buffet breakfast, leisure facilities and tea facilities with the free biscuits, even down to the free pens and notepads- I use the whole lot. We’re paying for it so I say why not?! However, although most hotels are accommodating for their guests, it’s the hotels way that we should follow. They have rules we need to adhere to, policies and procedures that must be followed in order to keep their guests safe, enabling them to enjoy their stay.
Your stay, your way. How often do we talk about remaining in Him, the bible even says, remain in me (John 15:4) One of the meanings associated with remain is to stay. Stay in Him. The words written on this key card prompted me to think about this. If we’re staying in Him, making full use of His facilities (if you will); pamper products- blessings of grace, love and mercy, eating His nourishing breakfast buffet- the word, that’s laid out for us to feast on, using the equipment and tools to improve and strengthen us- then it’s His way we need to follow! But how often do we stay in Him, making full use of everything He has to offer, taking all the blessings He pours out in favour- yet we go our own way? We’re happy to stay in Him and take, take, take but would rather follow our own way instead of His.
If you stay in someone else’s house, you respect and follow their rules, their way. If they ask you to take off your shoes- you oblige, you take a biscuit- but only when offered, you kindly thank them for the offer of a drink and usually accept even if you don’t want one. It’s all quite regimented at first and you can’t quite relax- there’s nothing quite like your own home is there? However, once you’ve begun to build relationships with friends and family, you’ve visited their home on a regular occasion and begin to feel comfortable, following their rules- their way, doesn’t feel like much of a challenge or uncomfortable anymore. When I visit my friends home, most of the time now I let myself in, take off my shoes, lay on the sofa, help myself to a drink, make Ava a bottle and even fall asleep on the odd occasion. I feel very comfortable there. I still follow her house rules- but I don’t mind and it doesn’t make me feel any less comfortable.
My brother came to our house the other day and I loved watching him help himself to a drink, food, putting his feet up and watching the football on the TV. He brought a pizza round and while helping himself to plates etc., he made a comment which made me smile, I feel like I live here. I loved this! I was so glad he felt comfortable and while still respecting our house rules- which I have to admit are pretty minimal- he was happy to follow them but enjoyed staying with us. He’s become familiar in our surroundings, feeling safe and loved- so it doesn’t feel like a chore to follow our house rules.
Perhaps if we spent more time with God, following His way wouldn’t seem like so much of a challenge or chore but something we feel safe and secure doing, comfortable and loved even if it’s not what we were expecting, even if its out of our comfort zone or will place us in unfamiliar surroundings.
I so often make use of all Gods facilities and resources; His forgiveness, grace, mercy, blessings, favor, strength, peace- but He doesn’t always have His way even though I’m staying and using all of these. I often make use of everything He has to offer but then when I’m asked to follow His way; when He instructs me or tries to guide me along the right path- I pipe up; hang on a minute, I’m not sure about that one. I’ll think about that one God, think I’ll go my own way- but thanks!
Here’s another point. If were staying, were; remaining, living, dwelling, residing- we’re promising that we aint going anywhere. When God says remain in me, I believe He’s saying; child, no matter what your facing- stay with me, whatever it is, stay with me. Note that the other part of this verse says, as I also remain in you. Can I just stop right there. How awesome is that! He’s living in us, He’s staying with us, dwelling in us- He aint going anywhere! No matter what we’ve done, no matter how many times we mess up, no matter how many times we look at ourselves in the mirror and think we are undeserving of His love or even to call Him father- brothers and sisters, He’s not going anywhere. Why do I believe this? Because He promised! And our father doesn’t break promises. We may have friends and people close to us who have forsaken us and broken promises- but if there’s one you can rely on, its God.
I can honestly say that I don’t remain in Him half as much as He does with me. I waver, I stumble, I strive to do things in my own strength, and when things are going great I put God on the back burner and have the attitude that I don’t really need Him right now. I couldn’t be anymore wrong! I need Him just as much on my good days as I do, if not more, than on my worst days. He doesn’t waver, He doesn’t stumble and there is never a day that he leaves my side.
So I challenge myself and I wonder if you’ll do the same, to remain in Him, to stay in Him- always, and that when we do that we say, Lord- your way! Whatever it is He’s asking of you, whatever it is you’re going through – stay in Him as He also does in you. Follow His way, surrender to His way- the best way in my opinion. After all, I believe He’s the only one who knows the way- He’s the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
Lately I question and cry out to God, Lord- where do you want me, what do you want me to do, show me the way. Today I hear Him say, Daughter, I am the way- just follow me! I believe this is true for us all! Follow Him and you will find the way.