Over the years I’ve had many times when I was entirely dependent on my own abilities. I placed a lot of value in what I thought, what I did and how I felt about everything. When things were going well, I was happy. When things were hard and couldn’t seem to go my way, I was debilitated. When I was riding high, I couldn’t seem to lose, until I did…and then I couldn’t do anything right.

Whew! Notice anything about that paragraph? It sure was packed full of a ton of “I” statements. Here’s a few “I” phrases that may be more familiar. I’m my own worst enemy. I keep getting in my own way. I can hardly recognize myself anymore. I give up.

Whether we’re tooting our own horn or beating ourselves up, if we’re only looking for our own fulfillment then our focus is in the wrong place! With so much “I” involved it’s hard to leave much room for the great “I AM”.

What practices help you take the “I” out of your grIef or your prIde?

One of the things that helps me is to focus on others. When I’m busy loving and caring for my family, my neighbors and even strangers I find that I don’t have the time to either pat myself on the back or feel sorry for myself. A good question to ask yourself to measure how much you really care is, “If I am only focused on my opinion, doing it my way and having to be right, how is that effecting others around me?”

Probably the most important disciplines involve an immersion in faith. When I am investing in my discipleship, such as attending worship regularly, being a part of small groups that discuss scripture and theology, or spending time in prayer then my focus is turned toward God who wants what is best for me and who knows what that is much better than I do. These are important ways to develop a relationship with our creator. Having a relationship is the best way to know what roles we play in the grand scheme of things and what role God should have in our lives.   

 John 15:1-6 helps us understand best what those roles are and the importance of staying in relationship with Christ,

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

Because of the emotional connection of music, I have spent most of my life connecting with the spirit of God through the worship element of song. Singing words that come from my heart and express the depths of my feelings to God allows me to empty myself and be filled with the love, comfort and peace of Christ. The verse from John inspired me to write a worship song to cry out with. It is both my prayer and my confession. It is my worship and my petition. It my surrender.

You are the Vine, I am the branches

Up to You I will reach

Help me to find, that You’re the God of second

chances

Come and live in me.

Cut the dead away from me so I can grow

I am Yours to prune so that my fruit may show

Yours is the greatest love that I have ever known

I will never stray from you

You are the Vine, I am the branches

Make me someone new

Help me to find, that I don’t have to have the

answers

I can trust in you

Cut the dead away from me so I can grow

I am Yours to prune so that my fruit may show

Yours is the greatest love that I have ever known

I will never stray from you

You are the Vine, I am the branches

Come and live in me.

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