This guest post was contributed by the delightful and talented Carly Wilson. See the bio at the bottom to find more of Carly’s work. We are delighted to have her!
My husband just stands there, doing nothing. I feel the warmth of irritation rising on my neck. He pours the coffee into the mug, pops it into the microwave, hits start, and then…nothing. He just lounges against the counter while it heats up.
He should be putting the time to good use.
He should be wiping up the counter, putting away the milk, or closing the drawer.
“Don’t you need to do something?” I asked him. “Aren’t you bored just standing there?”
“Not at all,” he answered. “It’s actually kind of nice to do nothing.”
My husband’s habits usually don’t bother me. After all, God made him the wonderful and unique man his is. So why did it irk me so much that he just stood there, seemingly idle?
In my quiet time later that morning, I asked God to reveal to me why this simple habit bothered me so much. God took me to the words of Jesus in John 15:9-11
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “remain” as to “stay in the place that one has been occupying.” In other words, to not move. I realized that with so many checklists and to-do lists flying around in my head, I had become incapable of remaining anywhere. I had become distracted to the point that I couldn’t wait for a cup of coffee to heat up. I had begun to measure my self-worth and value based on how much I was producing. Worst of all, I had started to measure my husband by a similar standard, judging him for taking two minutes and 33 seconds of rest while his coffee heated up.
My inability to remain in God’s love- to remain anywhere STILL- could be why stress seemed to be taking the place of the complete joy Jesus had promised.
Determined to change, I set my intention to making the little moments of the next day count and to choose remain in God’s love and find that complete joy, instead of constantly seeking distractions.
The opportunity to practice this quickly came when I called the doctor to schedule an appointment for my husband. I was transferred numerous times from department to department, each time being placed on a long hold. As I waited on hold, I was tempted to stress about all the tasks around the house I wanted to get done. Instead, I took out my prayer journal. The words of Jesus rang through my mind-
Remain in my love.
While on hold, I wrote down what I was grateful for in relation to the phone call: my husband’s job and our ability to afford a smartphone and health insurance. I asked Him to help me treat the phone representatives with kindness and patience as I explained the appointment I was requesting. While on hold, I also re-read the first 20 verses of one of my favorite Psalms- Psalm 119. By the time the hold ended, I was sorry to have to end my prayer time with God!
The day was filled with other moments where I could choose to remain in God’s love and find joy instead of seeking distractions.
As I waited in line at the grocery store while the clerk seemed to take an hour to count out a customer’s change, I resisted the urge to whip out my phone and check email for the 100th time. Instead, I waved at a baby behind me in line, who gave me an adorable coo in return.
At an intersection where the red light dragged on, instead of sending a hurried text, I cranked up the radio and sang along to worship song, lifting up my voice to praise God.
These are just a few examples of what happened in the day. I took every opportunity to seek complete joy that can be found only by eliminating stressful distractions and worry and rested in the love of Jesus.
That evening at home with my husband, I was hungry and ready to dive in to the hot dinner that was ready on the table. We were just about to sit down when he decided he wanted to heat up a cup of coffee. A flare of annoyance threatened to rise at the thought of standing around, waiting for the microwave to do its job. I wanted to eat now! But then I remembered the commandment from John.
Remain in my love.
Don’t seek anything outside His love.
I asked God, “Please help me remain in your love in the 2 minutes and 33 seconds it takes for the coffee to heat up.”
I figured that remaining in His love didn’t mean doing absolutely nothing. So, while the microwave did its work, I grabbed my husband close to me and gave him a kiss. He lifted me up and spun me around. We laughed and then he cradled me close to his chest, resting his hand on my hair. “Look at those yellow flowers blooming outside,” I pointed out.
“I should bring some flowers home for you one of these days,” he smiled at me. “You always liked that.”
As I stood in my husband’s embrace, safe in our home, I reflected that Jesus did not command us to produce like honeybees or do check off every item on our own created to-do list. What he commanded us is to remain in His love, and that is what I had done that day. As I felt His presence surround our home and marriage, I reaped the reward He promised: Complete joy.
This post was contributed by Carly Wilson. Victoria Carly Wilson is dedicated to inspiring others to live in the love of Jesus and the truth of the Bible. She thanks God for the gift of her husband Elijah, who supports and encourages her. They sold their house and are currently living in an RV and traveling through the South, searching for a small town where they can put down roots and adopt foster children. Follow Victoria on Instagram @gracelifefitness and visit her blog.