By Katie Kafka
Five twenty in the morning, the relentless buzz of the alarm forces minimal awareness. I am by no means a morning person. With the sun on the verge of a rise, I wrestle through pillows and sheets with shallow levels of perception and yet enough ambition to activate the snooze option. Repeat this cycle another couple times and I arrive upon that moment of no return. I either need to get up or miss the opportunity to enter the day on solo terms. This fresh, summer day in my life can begin as I see fit or it can begin with the demands of the lovely little people that call me “Mom.”
Becoming a morning person proves to be a gradual process and yet, I persevere for the sake of solitude. It is the space in my day where adventure meets meditation. A steady jog turns into an upward conversation. A breezy trail ride becomes a breath of praise, experiencing the sounds and smells of wildlife. A freestyle stroke streamlines a wave of discipline toward ambitious goals. Just keep swimming. Although these moments begin as a weary battle, they always, always, always set a positive tone to the rest of my day. These mornings in solitude help me thrive.
We all want to thrive, don’t we? On some level, in some arena of life, we want to be able to notice ourselves moving forward, growing, maturing to a greater self. I can get caught up in the idea that thriving is a byproduct of doing well. The focus tends to shift outward to achievement, appearance, status and titles. There is no denying that our actions play a role but when we place security in self as a means to thrive, we eventually fall short. Thankfully, there is a better way. An unconventional road that takes us to a place of flourishing no matter what the circumstances surrounding us may be.
The ability to thrive has much to do with embracing our identity in Christ. Do you know who you are in Christ? If not, I encourage you to seek the answer to that question. I cannot help but look to the life of Jesus as the ultimate example of how to thrive. He carried immense confidence in His identity and His relationship with the Father, and rightfully so.
On seven different occasions, Jesus reveals a portion of His identity to His followers through a series of metaphorical “I am” statements. The Holy Spirit has this way of repeatedly bringing me to one of these “I am” moments found in John 15. Though the reasons for stumbling across this passage of Scripture are different each time, the truth and meaning resonate with my heart returning me to a place of steady pulse. Do I know who I am in Christ and if so, how does this change the way I live?
Jesus uses imagery from agriculture life to describe just who He is, His relationship to the Father and His proximity to believers.
I am the true vine
My Father is the vinedresser
You are the branches
A relational God indeed, He further defines this word picture with some instructions on Christian living.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
As we choose to abide in the company of Christ, our salvation delivers us an opportunity to thrive. He gradually molds and shapes us into a beautiful person, bearing fruit that ultimately glorifies God. To thrive, I need only to abide. Remain with Him. Linger in His presence. Continually seek His face. Dwell in His love for me. Wait on His guidance. Obediently live out His design for my life.
There are so many variables these days that compete for our attention. Many of these priorities help us thrive while others cause us to operate in survival mode. My prayer for us is that we would find ways to abide in Christ. Take time to notice the moments in your day that naturally take you into the presence of Jesus. Name these moments and daily stake a claim on that time. So I guess that means I will persevere towards become a morning person during this season of my life. The benefits far exceed the battle.