The Umbrella of Abiding

By Linnette Bachman

Recently, I was sitting in meetings where we were discussing future strategic goals for our work. During a discussion on ‘abiding’ staff began asking, “So, to achieve our goal of abiding, are we going to have staff go through a Bible study on abiding? What will we take off our plates in order to be able to abide?” A leader responded to these comments by saying, “If we are not currently abiding, we need to stop all we are doing! What are we doing if we aren’t abiding?”

I have struggled to wrap my mind around what abiding looks like apart from defining it as time in the Word or an extended quiet time. Of course, I think these are powerful, but I’ve wondered, “On those sleepless nights and days as a young mom, when there’s not been a chance for quiet time, is abiding then not possible?” Does not the shepherd gather the lambs in his arms and gently carry those who have young in Isaiah 40:11? 

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve questioned, Can I have extended time with the Lord and not really be abiding?  I am reminded of the Pharisees who diligently studied and even sought to obey the Word, and yet their hearts were far from God. I sense this in myself at times when I want to check the quiet time off the list and not really engage the Lord with my heart.

I’ve been haunted by the idea that we all know how to abide really well…I would even assert that each one of us has become an expert abider: with our phones. 

  • We are in constant connection with them. We are careful to have them near us all day, knowing where they are, missing them quickly if they’ve been forgotten or misplaced. 
  • We are dependent on them. We check in with them for where to go, our schedules, and a lot of our communication with people goes through them. We will turn around to go get them when we’ve left them somewhere. 
  • We are obedient to them. When they ding at us, we turn to them. When they ring, we answer. Whatever Siri tells us we (mostly) take in as truth. 
  • We are in constant connection with them. We have them with us from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep, and we might even keep them next to our beds while we sleep. When we are bored, we turn to them for entertainment. When we are lonely, we turn to them for distraction or perhaps a semblance of connection. Some days it seems that any spare moment is given to the phone. 

What if we sought to abide in Christ in a manner that reflected a continual integration of Him in our life like we do with our phones?

I have been so convicted by this idea!  I find myself turning to my phone and thinking about how the Lord wants to abide in me and me in Him in that moment.

Another image that has struck me is that of an umbrella. This umbrella represents a dependence upon, surrender to, and awareness of the Lord that I can choose to open, carry, and stay under throughout the day. 

I’ve begun my mornings by simply praying, “Lord I abide in you in this moment. I desire to rely on you and your strength through all the ups and downs of the day. I want to obey you and follow you and remember you are with me.” 

Then I try to check in throughout the day simply saying, “Jesus, I abide in you right now in this moment.” 

I do love getting time with the Lord in quiet in His Word. Yet, on those days when the kids’ day has begun before I even open my eyes, and there’s potty training messes to clean, bandaids to put on and a myriad of things we all do as Nav moms, I am seeking to open my umbrella of abiding and carry it through my day. 

Linnette and her husband Dave began their marriage and Nav staff career in 2005 (EDGE and SIT at Colorado State) and currently lead the NavCity and collegiate work in Nashville. They have 5 children: Kate (10), Kylie (9), McKenzie (7), Daniel (6), and Andrew (2). Linnette and Dave are passionate about the shared mission of raising up disciple-makers and raising up their kids.

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