By Katie Helmreich
A few weeks back I shared about a particularly challenging season we’ve been going though. I’m happy to say that, for the most part, our skies have cleared and we’re living a “partly cloudy, with a chance of scattered rain showers” sort of life these days!
So when I came to section 3.5 “Dependence on Jesus” in My Next Step, Volume 1: Getting Started (by Justin Rossow), I was ready to nod and reminisce about how I had clung to Jesus during that difficult stretch of the path back there.
On my way home from school drop off this morning, “Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson came on the radio. I heard that same song at a poignant time a while back, so it was easy to give thanks for how God had been “the anchor when my sails [were] torn.”
I love how God shows up in those dark times! Don’t you?
The song describes all sorts of heartbreak: war, betrayal, rejection, failure, death, addiction, and horrible news from a doctor, all wrapped together with storm imagery. The chorus is filled with the Father’s promises to guard and keep his children, surrounding them with his love, and remaining in perfect control of his plans and purpose.
It’s a vividly encouraging song during dark moments!
But on a normal, sunny Thursday morning?
It’s still a great song. And thanks for your help back there, Jesus! But I’m good right now. My sails are mended, and things seem to be ticking along pretty well at the moment.
Nothing I can’t handle, but I’ll let you know if anything changes!
“In practice, leaning into dependence on Jesus is one of the biggest challenges we face on this journey of faith.”
—My Next Step, Volume 1, 79.
Do I really think I don’t need Jesus on “normal” days? Of course not! But…
But when the sun is shining and the sky is clear, there’s a different level of urgency, isn’t there? I like to be self-reliant and capable. Who wants to be a needy mess all the time?
Justin writes about the passage where Jesus welcomed the little children, not because they’re cute or innocent, but because they’re helpless. These kids wouldn’t even have been there if their mom’s hadn’t carried them to Jesus. The disciples were arguing about which of them was the greatest, and Jesus stopped them with this example: in terms of getting stuff done or handling things, these kids are useless. They’re completely and totally dependent. Be like them.
“Discipleship is growing more and more in the understanding of how much you need Jesus all the time, for absolutely everything…
“Sometimes it’s obvious how much you need Jesus; sometimes your own brain and heart and ego will tell you that you’re doing pretty well on your own. Don’t listen. Run back to Jesus.
“Don’t be content with the best you can do on your own. Open yourself up to desperately needing Jesus, just for this moment, just for today. Then practice needing Jesus some more tomorrow.”
—My Next Step, Volume 1, 82-83.
I admit this wasn’t a quick lightbulb moment for me. I had to sit with this awhile. It’s not easy for me to set aside my independent spirit.
I tend to downplay my needs, even to myself.
If I finally cave in and go see a doctor, I tend to under-express how bad things are. I’m not sure why, but I don’t want to bother these people. I’ll be fine! It’s why my husband, Ben, insists on going with me if there’s really something wrong. I often need an advocate to speak up for me about my condition because I mostly just want to leave it be and go back to bed. Sometimes I need my advocate to point out the fact that I’m sicker than I think I am in the first place.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Romans 8:26 (ESV)
When things overwhelm me and I can’t find words to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for me! But what if it’s more than that?
Is the Holy Spirit, my Advocate, interceding for me even on this sunny morning?
“Father, Katie’s smiling, but she could really use help letting go of yesterday’s argument instead of just burying it. She won’t say so, but she’s getting worn down again and tends to feel like a loser for being tired, even though some aspects of parenting have improved. I don’t think she’s realized just how much help she needs speaking with gentleness in all conversations. She’s gotten used to compensating for the sticky backspace key and glitchy touch pad issue, but I’d like to pray over that, too…”
I notice my need for Jesus when things are falling apart. It’s easier to spot my need for an anchor in the midst of storms.
But I need Jesus to point out my dependence on him when things are only “partly cloudy”! I thank God for the way my Advocate underlined this need today. I thank him for the opportunity for stillness and reflection. And I thank the Spirit for reshaping my thoughts.
What a blessing it is to need Jesus. To need him; and then to find, over and over again, that Jesus is faithful!
I don’t have to keep on keeping on by myself until I need the next rescue. Instead, my Father walks with me each day; no matter the weather, no matter the circumstance. What a precious gift!
“Jesus, I need you to open my heart in prayer. Spirit, please inspire in me a desire for your Word. Father, thank you for the gift of faith; please give me even more.
“Jesus, I don’t know how to need you more; please help! Spirit, increase my dependence on your work and presence. Father, give me a heart that leans into needing you. Amen.”
—My Next Step, Volume 1, 84.
Look at all that sunshine! Not a cloud in the sky!
It’s a beautiful day for needing Jesus.