I'm just going to be honest here....beach day is not my thing. Some of you may have fond memories of going to the beach as a child (or maybe now as a young adult) to build sand castles, eat tasty (slightly sandy) snacks, and play in the waves. I, on the other hand, do not mind being near the beach. I love to feel the breeze and watch the waves. I like walking down the quaint streets and looking at all of the cute houses. But, I DO NOT like sand!!!!! It is so annoying! It gets into everything and ends up everywhere. If I have the option between going to the beach or going to the mountains/lake...I will take the mountains!
So you can imagine my absolute "delight" to be a sponsor for the beach day trip that the high school students take at the beginning of each school year. Last year I was still a fairly new teacher at this school, so I did not know how to prepare for this adventurous excursion. This year, however, I was determined to be prepared. The night before we left, I packed everything that I would need: a book, my housemate's camping chair, sunscreen, snacks...all of the essential beach accessories. Arguably one of the most important items I packed was my phone battery pack. I made sure that it was fully charged and ready to go so that I could do homework and talk to people on the ride to and from the beach, as well as make sure the other class sponsors could contact me while we were there. On Friday morning, I climbed the steps to the bus feeling confident that I was prepared for whatever lie ahead that day.
Since I knew I had the extra battery pack in my backpack, I used my phone freely on the bus ride and also while we were at the beach. Around 4pm, the battery life was at 42%, so I decided it was time to plug my phone into the battery pack. Imagine my extreme disappointment and frustration when I realized that I had forgotten that the phone cannot plug straight into the battery pack. I needed my charging cable, and unfortunately, I did not have one with me. All of that planning and time spent charging my power source was wasted. I felt so silly! I had a fully charged battery pack sitting in one hand, and a quickly dying phone in the other hand with no way to connect the two items. Ugh!!! I decided to turn my phone off until we got on the bus and hope that it could last until I got back to my car and charger at the school.
As I reflected on this situation during the bus ride back to the school, I realized that it parallel's our spiritual experiences sometimes. Have you ever wondered why you still feel empty even though you know about and follow God? After all, He is the Source of everything, and He has the power to fill you. But, then why do I feel drained? John 15:4 gives us a clue to how to fix this problem, and I am going to use the Message translation because I think the wording connects best to this story. "Live in me (Jesus). Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me." This was the problem I had at the beach. I had access to the power source, and I also had the dying phone. But, there was no way to join the two items, and thus, no power was extended.
The same concept applies to our lives. We can have all the knowledge about God/Jesus, and we can identify that we feel exhausted and empty. But, until we practice living or abiding in Jesus, there will be nothing to connect our branches to the Vine, and we will not feel or experience the power of God in our lives like we could if we were making Him our home. There has to be a spark, a connection, a joining of our broken empty hearts with His infinite matchless love and grace. Without that connection, we will continue to run on empty until we can run no more. Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10b). So the questions is....how? How do I make Jesus my home? How do I abide in Him and experience the recharging power of the Holy Spirit? Well, thankfully, it is quite simple. He desires time with you. Time to hear you talk about your life and ask for His help and guidance. Time to read His word, meditate on a sermon or podcast, sing worship songs, and serve others. Time to be still in His presence. Will you make time for Jesus? Do you want to make Him your home? To be joined to Him and receive the living power that He offers? If that is your desire, then I encourage you to take a moment and ask Jesus to make your heart His home. Invite Him to be your source of power and to lead you to people who will help you connect better with Him. In the words of the famous Christian preacher, Charles Spurgeon, "we can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength."
Alissa Tanguay is the host of the Carved to Beautify podcast, and she enjoys making connections between everyday life and lessons from Scripture.