How Crying in Coffee Shop Taught Me About Abiding in Christ
So, it’s funny to find yourself crying at a coffee shop. I don’t mean “haha” funny …because bursting into tears in any public place isn’t fun. However, it’s funny because this is not the first time I found myself crying in a coffee shop. A few Sundays ago, I was doing the same thing, but at a different coffee shop. You would think I would be pretty used to this by now. But the funny thing is I am crying at a coffee shop again, because this is one of the few times I have really allowed myself to slow down.
Why am I at this point? Why am I using funny to describe me crying in a place of deep concentration and productivity that a coffee shop usually is?
Probably because I am realizing, again, that I am trying to do things on my own. It may also have to do with the fact that all of my homework is pointing to all of the ways that I need Christ. Who knew seminary homework should come with a “May cause crying in public places” warning label?
It is easy to push aside these feelings and try to go full steam ahead. However, God may be using these feelings to open your eyes to something more. Is God asking you to pay attention to something that is hindering you? Maybe He wants to use your desire to scream out in frustration as a reason to cry out to Him?
What if the reason you “just can’t even” is because you really just shouldn’t even?
We live in a fast-paced world, and it is so easy to say that you’ll deal with your feelings later. We are constantly doing something, planning something, or thinking of the next thing. But when was the last time when you truly stopped? When was the last time that “later” came and you dealt with your feelings? When was the last time you fully abided in the Lord?
Maybe you can think back to this morning, or whenever you have your quiet time in the Word. However, be really honest with yourself here. Was that quiet time rushed by a schedule that was already behind? Were you just spending a ton of time looking at the time or your Instagram feed (guilty)? Can you really say that your time could really be defined as abiding fully in the Lord?
Personally, I cannot say that I have been abiding in the Lord.
I had been going to the Lord for quick pick-me-ups, but I hadn’t stopped and really just stayed in one place with the Lord. I am getting a lot of head knowledge, but I have not been allowing myself to really let it sink into my heart. It’s hard to truly stop and allow the world to go on without you. Life can feel so rushed and like everything is in a constant state of going and never slowing down for less than a few minutes.
Christ wants us to stop, and he uses John 15:4-11, a definition of who He is, to explain why we need to do so:
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Through these verses, we not only learn about Christ, but we learn more about how we are meant to live our lives. When we abide, or stay in a fixed or stable place in Christ, He in return is abiding in us. Christ allows us to choose to have a very intimate relationship with him where we get to know him in a deeper, more meaningful way.
In fact, unless we are willing to truly stop and fully dwell within His presence, we are unable to do anything. When we are not stopping our busy schedule and abiding fully in the Lord, we become dried up shriveled vines that should be thrown out and burned up. (I guess that’s why when I am constantly running and not abiding in the Lord, I find myself burned out and crying in a coffee shop!)
As we abide in the Lord we are shaped more into His likeness. We begin to abide in His word, keep His commandments, and abide in His love. As we continue to do these things, we start to desire things that are also near and dear to His heart, and we see a change in the way that we spend our time, how we manage our work load, and even our emotions within coffee shops.
We start to find a full joy that we have never experienced, because it is Christ’s joy that He gives to us. This is a promise Christ gives to us, and all we have to do is stop and spend time in His presence.
So, while it isn’t fun to cry in a coffee shop (or however you express feeling burned out), it is funny to see how God uses these different moments to remind us of our need for Him and our need to stop and abide.