Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Dear Mom Who Feels Guilty About Quiet Time
It seems to be a question a lot of Mamas ask, wonder about, something everyone is carrying guilt about here and there. We ask each other in online forums, while standing in the back of church services holding babies, on that rare night out with friends. That quiet, guilt-laced question - do you get quiet time to read your bible? To pray? To grow spiritually? How? When? Where? From the pulpit we hear exhortations to spend more time there, but we look at our lives and see nothing but a big fat failure when it comes to all that.
I think about it yesterday, while cleaning out my kids' closet. I don't want to just "fit faith in" around the edges of my life, but look at life! Life here is at top volume from the moment my eyes flicker open until I collapse into bed at night. My days are packed full regardless of my fierce protection of time. It's not just the normal things - the laundry, dishes, meals, cleaning, homeschooling. It's the hidden things that you don't realize you spend time on. My three year old is my latest favorite example. He follows me all day long and asks for things all day. "Mama, please buckle this baby in the stroller?" "Mama, please fix my car?" "Mama, please read this train book? Again? Again?" Yesterday I changed him in and out of superhero costumes no less than 5 times, not to mention in and out of snow gear a few times just for good measure. And you know what? That's what I was supposed to do. He, and his siblings, are my God-given job right now. Loving and nurturing and caring for him is my job. Neglecting that is not an option.
So when? Where? How? This morning I opened another facebook message asking just that. How, when I can hardly shower. How, when I can't keep my eyes open at night. How, when I barely have time for my spouse and we are trying to raise these kids and we just need a moment...
I can tell you one thing. Guilt over quiet time with God is not from God. So let's get that straight right off the bat. Additionally, thinking that is the only way to have close communion with God is a big-time lie.
Jesus knows your life. He knows the tasks he's given you. He knows you do your best from sun up to sun down, to care for your family, to nurture your marriages, to stay healthy. This notion of a daily quiet hour spent leisurely taking in the Word along with a cup of comforting coffee or tea in a silent house is not only unrealistic for most humans, it's kind of a first world creation of what faith is meant to look like. When I remind myself of this and offer it all up, I do end up in a deeper place with Him. Jesus doesn't need anything you don't have. Jesus wants you - unshowered, exhausted, messy you. You, just as you are, just where you are. Faith is meant to be a lifeline, not another item on your check list. It's meant to be a constant in daily life, not sequestered to a golden hour of uninterrupted spirituality.
Someday my children will be grown and my house will be quiet. It will stay clean. The dishwasher won't need to be run once, much less twice a day. The laundry will be done weekly instead of three times daily. That little dude who follows me around with endless questions and needs and his 5 siblings besides will be gone, living their own busy lives. The noise that reverberates off these walls today will be replaced with relative silence. There will be space, time, and solitude. Today is not that day. And you know what? That's just fine with Him.
For me, "Quiet Time" looks like prayers sprinkled throughout my day, an it's anything but quiet. A pause with closed eyes while nursing the baby. Hymns on Pandora while doing dishes. Bible readings in the morning shouted over the din of 6 kids fidgeting and whispering and still learning to sit quietly. That's how faith in my life looks right now. Real life faith infused in real life.
When we believe that a vibrant faith-life is dependent on quiet time, we run the risk of losing big. We can still pray without ceasing. We can still meet with Jesus. We can still sink deep into His words and promises. And we can do it all within the gritty reality of our daily work.
There are breakfast dishes waiting, school to be done, laundry to switch over and a million things besides waiting my attention. But one thing remains constant - He's with me every moment.
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