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Lean Inrenee

By Renee Busbee Baldwin


I was texting with a dear friend the other day. She is an adoring wife, amazing mom, true friend, caring pastor, and a Duke Divinity School Doctor of Ministry student. But this day she also could have been described with the phrase "sick as a dog." To make things even worse, she was all alone in a hotel room, far from friends and family. My best friend was down and out.

After a few minutes she texted, "I think maybe the Holy Spirit is inviting me to slow down." I replied, "Amen, sister...lean in."

Lean in. What exactly does that mean? I have three children, all of whom are athletic. In fact, both of my sons are college athletes. It seems they are always trying to get a personal best time (better known in our family as a "brother best"), and I have always observed they lean in at the finish line - that millisecond becomes incredibly important when you are trying to one-up your brother.

My baby girl rides horses. When she is approaching the gate, her trainer yells, "JP," which means jumping position. In order for her horse to respond in the most efficient manner when jumping, my daughter must lean forward in the saddle, all the while keeping her head up and eyes focused ahead.

Lean in. As a friend of mine once said, "That'll preach."

I'm not exactly sure why, and I certainly can't explain how, but there are times in life when we all need to just lean in. Lean in to a greater Power. Lean in to a deeper understanding. Lean in to an approaching victory. Lean in to a possible defeat. Lean in to the presence of the Holy.

I find myself dreading that surrendered posture, dreading the release and dreading the process that calls me to let go.

Let me be clear about this leaning in. I'm not referring to a superficial, man-made definition of surrender. It is not an "I-really-don't-like-where-I-am-and-I-want-something-more-just-because-I-can" posture. That is not a principle to live by; it is an excuse.

Leaning in is a posture of surrender and release. It is letting go of the old in order to embrace the new. It is faith. It is a holy thing. And it is hard.

But when I truly lean in, the way is made clear. Proverbs 3:5-6 puts it this way. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.

Today I need to release from overdependence on my own understanding. I need direction. I need to acknowledge and trust God. I need to assume the jumping position. I need to lean in to all that God has prepared for me and called me to do.

How is your soul today? Are you leaning in or leaning “back” - stuck in the past, bound up by fear, absorbed by your own family, friends and interests? When I pay attention to which way my life is leaning, I often remember words of Scripture like,Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ’This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:37-40).

By the power of the Holy Spirit, let's lean in to God this week. Let's lean in to worship. Let's lean in to loving our neighbors and the world so that they will know the Source of love and life.


About the Author

Renee Busbee Baldwin has worked as a professional vocalist for the past 25 years. She has performed from Las Vegas to Miami Beach, and her critically acclaimed big band, swing CD has played on radio stations nationwide.  Renee also serves as a worship consultant with church leaders. Her passion is utilizing the arts in creating relevant, multi-sensory opportunities for people to encounter Jesus.  Renee, husband Morgan, and their three children live in Tupelo, MS. 


A Word From James

People outside and inside the faith mistakenly think of Christianity is a crutch for weak people to lean on. Jesus indeed provides comfort to the hurting and lost (like Bill Withers’ song “Lean on Me”). But He also mobilizes His family to lean into His mission of love to the world. Is there some way FollowOne can help you, your children and your church use the blessings of God to serve lost and hurting people? 


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