Abide, With Me.

written by Chris Hartenstein
Here we are in the final week of our discussion on abiding. What I would like to do this week is just share more of my personal journey around abiding.  

Over the last decade, everything in my life has grown.  My kids have grown up, some have gotten married, one has children of his own. They have their own mission in life. We have two in college, and our youngest is entering junior high. Our business has grown and expanded into new markets, increasing our sales and demands for our products and services. The New Frontier has grown in scope and reach in crazy ways. My personal discipleship of men and leaders has grown exponentially as well.  What you could say is that the “demand for Chris” has grown, a ton.

During this season, there has been a wrestling match that goes on in my heart between the “doing” and “being”. A battle rages between the dragon of ‘what needs to be done’ and the wizard of ‘what I need to care for and grow my heart.’ It is like the old Looney Tune cartoons; the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Smog vs. Gandalf. (Relax, I know they never fought, but you get the idea haha) Both whispering in my ear, pulling at my heart trying to gain control of my life. Both voices have something to say that will change the trajectory of my life.  

When I listen to the dragon, I am tired, worn out, and frustrated with what isn't done. I feel used by others. I get angry about little things. I feel very little joy, peace, or contentment; becoming selfish and results-driven to the core. My time with God is about answers, next steps, and some learning. In everyone's eyes, I am nailing it, and yet inside, I am dying. Unsatisfied, unfulfilled, my heart is worn out, thirsty, dry, and I am on the brink of a precipice of disaster.  

When I listen to the wizard, I am rested, focused, purposeful, joyful, peaceful, content, and thankful for what gets done. I am more rested and feel the freedom to slow down and care for my heart. I feel caught up in something bigger than myself. I actually like people (haha). My time with my Dad is deep, intimate, filling, and transforming. In the world's eyes and in some believers' eyes, I am absent, a dreamer, and disconnected to what is needed; but my heart, is so full, and how I handle life is completely different.  

The outcome is real and the fruit is obvious. So what does the dragon win?  

So why the struggle? Bottom line - I just did not trust my Dad’s good heart as much as I trust myself. I simply believed I knew what's best for me more than he does.  So I gave it lip service but not heart focus. Impact over everything. Transaction instead of intimacy. Death vs life. My efforts vs fighting with him.  

What has changed over the last decade? With my Dad’s help, I have been willing to take him at his word, trust in his good heart for me and release my way of living life.  That is a lot harder than it sounds. There have been many things that I want to hold onto, even though they don’t work in the end.

First and most important, I have received, pressed into, and am learning to live out of my true identity as a beloved son. That was a game-changer in and of itself.  It changed the way I saw God as a Dad, released my heart from the burdens I was carrying, especially around success and provision. It changed who I was living for, from others to Him. Because of that truth continually permeating my head and heart, I was willing to press into more abiding, seeking more of Him and less of what he does or gives. I followed him into quiet, secluded places.  Over time, I have chosen to get up earlier, stay longer, linger in the moments with HIm. Let him choose my schedule, evaluate my day and direct me where he wants me to go. I have found more in the Word reading it as a Love Story. I journal a ton and he speaks through that in crazy ways. He meets me in stillness. Whatever he asks of me, I have chosen to make a priority. Not perfectly, but with as much as I have to give. He has taken my willingness and given me an understanding of how to abide more, how to be more intimate with him.  He has revealed his heart to me and I know mine better because of it. He has pursued me and taught me how to pursue him. Yes, I fail, get off track, lose focus, and it has been hard; but the outflow is life, REAL LIFE. A peace that passes understanding; contentment, joy, and when I get out of rhythm; I feel it and want it back. NOW! Why do I want it back so badly? Because it is what I was created for and I know that because of how it has transformed me!      

This is not something just for me-it is for everyone. What we most need, desire, and long for is more of Him. He wants to give that to us, and he is simply waiting for us to receive it. It is a life-long journey, but one we can take the first step on right now.  

Calibration:
- What did God say to you as you read this?
- What moved you? What frustrated you? What judgments did you make? Why?
- What might he be asking of you? What are you going to do about it?

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