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Hosanna Wong: The Surprising Key to Connecting with God

Hosanna Wong: The Surprising Key to Connecting with God

Have you ever felt weighed down? Disconnected from yourself, or from God?

That was me. I was frantically doing, doing and doing all I could, yet it felt like I was never doing enough. I lost my peace. I lost who I was.

If you grew up in church, you might have heard that the way to reconnect with yourself and with God is to abide in Christ. Jesus said, “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..” (John 15:4-5 ESV)

Simple enough, right?

Right. Except that for me, “abide in Christ” slowly became a spiritual and delightful but empty phrase. I did not understand how to do it, so I often dismissed it.

How do I abide practically, when there’s been storms in my life? What about when my role changes, my relationships change, my routines are out the window, my life is busy and chaotic, I’ve lost a loved one, I feel like I’m losing my mind, I’m tired and overwhelmed— how do I do it then?

The answer surprised me.

I called one of my friends who has spent years working in vineyards studying vines, grapes, growth patterns, weather systems and the best soil in New Zealand and up and down the West Coast

In that season of feeling weighed down and worn out, I knew the answer to revive my life was to abide in Christ, but I could not figure out how to do that.

As soon as KB answered the phone, I shot off a stream of questions: “Is there anything else you can tell me about the relationship between vines and branches? All the branches need to live is connection to the vine, right?”

By the way, my friend wasn’t familiar with this scripture. So she gave me her professional, agricultural answer, not what she thought was the churchy answer I wanted.

She told me, “Well, technically yes, branches just need to be connected to the vine to live, but they really need a trellis. They need a structure to help them stay connected to the vine.”

KB told me that with a trellis, a wooden structure (the size, strength and intricacy depending upon what kind of branches they are, how much the branches are carrying, and how much their fruit is growing), the branches can stay connected to the vine and flourish to their full capacity.

It made sense.

Then she added, “Branches can live without a structure, but without it, they will constantly be weighed down. They’ll be fighting an uphill battle they don’t have to fight.”

Wow. Is anyone else feeling weighed down today? Perhaps you want to know who you are and live as who you are. Perhaps you want to reconnect with God and a sense of purpose, but you feel

  • weighed down from the expectations of others,
  • weighed down from the demands at both home and work,
  • weighed down from your feelings of failure, and
  • weighed down with fear of the future and uncertainty of what’s to come.

It is possible that you and I are carrying weights we were never meant to carry. It is possible you and I are fighting an uphill battle we don’t have to fight.

The trellis — the structure — helps carry the weight so the branches can stay connected to the source. If branches carry too much on their own, they will eventually break apart from themselves — and break off from the vine.

Jesus is the source of life. A structure helps us stay connected to our source. Simply put, the structure helps us to abide.

We can live lighter. We can reconnect with God and with who we really are.


Through abiding in Christ.


Through choosing and committing to a structure of habits that keep us connected to Jesus.

To do this, I have spent years studying Jesus’ personal life structure, His habits and His rhythms.

In his book, The Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard writes, “We can become like Christ… by following him in the overall style of life he chose for himself. If we have faith in Christ, we must believe that he knew how to live. We can, through faith and grace, become like Christ by practicing the types of activities he engaged in.”

We can follow the structure and lifestyle of Jesus Himself. Here are just four rhythms of Jesus that we see throughout His life that we can practice too:

  • A Rhythm of Scripture (Engaging with God’s Words)
  • A Rhythm of Prayer (Solitude, Specific Prayers and Saying Thanks)
  • A Rhythm of Rest (Sabbath and Freedom)
  • A Rhythm of Real Community (Confession and Celebration)

Even with a demanding schedule, thriving ministry and many pulling for His time, Jesus was constantly going out of His way to prioritize real time with God. Planning and implementing a structure of these rhythms within our daily, weekly and monthly routines will help us reconnect with God and who we really are.

Keep in mind, spiritual disciplines and practices are not what save you and are not what give you life. These practices are not the goal. They are all a means to an end. The point is to be connected to Jesus. The plan only serves the purpose of abiding in Christ.

There is no power in the structure. There is only power in the source. The structure’s only function is to help you stay connected to the source: Jesus.

You don’t have to live weighed down and disconnected. You can fight for your life by fighting for your schedule. It turns out, you will know who you really are when you spend real time with the One who knows you the best.

Adapted from You Are More than You’ve Been Told by Hosanna Wong. Copyright 2023 by Hosanna Wong. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Publishing.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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