Here's the deal, it's confession time. I have never been good at keeping a consistent "quiet" time with God. I know, I know. Shocking, considering I am a "licensed minister", on staff at a church, Pastor's wife, blah, blah. Really, though, it has always been a struggle. Yet, before I was married and had children - I had great seasons and moments of time dedicated to prayer and His Word. And, I so benefited from that. Beautiful moments in His presence - His voice speaking to me, encouraging me, challenging me. It was spiritual bliss.
Then I was married. It got harder. Then my dad died, and more distractions came. Then I had my first child, and it just went completely downhill at that point. Now, it literally seems IMPOSSIBLE.
Maybe it is just me, if you are a mom - the only "quiet" time you get is on the toilet or in the bath (sorry, if that is TMI) - IF you get that. Seriously, thank God for the Bible App is all I am saying. It has saved my spiritual life. Even if you do not have children, things change as you get older. Seasons of life, circumstances, relationships...all of these things affect how your time is able to be spent.
In this season, it really is impossible to find those few moments spent in quiet rest in the Lord. Waiting for Him to speak or stopping long enough to receive His encouragement. But, we NEED it - oh how we need it. I desire it. I long for it. Yet, I don't allow for it or I don't have the alone time to do it.
If I get a few extra moments, I choose to open my Facebook App instead of Bible App. I open my Kindle instead of praying, I do church work, fold laundry, I attempt to start dinner. And, sometimes, I just zone and stare straight ahead in a trance of sorts. It is just so hard. I don't focus well. I am reading Corinthians while thinking about laundry, dirty diapers, and dinner. You get the point. And at the end of all of this, I feel as though I have FAILED. I have failed as a daughter of the King. I feel guilty knowing that my lack of appropriate priorities puts me farther from God - farther from knowing His will for my life. I believe it is these feelings of failure and guilt that causes me to CHOOSE to do other things when I could actually have a few moments.
BUT God's grace...
Here is what I am learning (thanks to God's grace and Spirit led counseling):
First - His grace. Beautiful grace that He offers. There are no unachievable standards, only His grace. There are no high expectations, only His deep abiding love. His grace and love make it POSSIBLE.
Second - I am living life from the inside out. It is Christ who lives in me. It is not what I DO FOR Christ that causes His approval - rather that I gain His love and pleasure when I invite Him in. And when I invite Him in - my devotion comes from the inside out.
Meaning this, when I change my child's dirty diaper - I am honoring and loving Him. When I pray with my children - I am drawing them and me closer to Him. When I fold laundry and take care of my home - I am serving and devoting time to honoring Him. When I say kind words to my husband, I am worshipping God. When I wipe my child's nose or face - I am bringing glory to Him. When I am kind, supportive, and dependable at work - I am drawing closer to Him. When I cook, He may hide His face...just kidding!! Seriously, though, I receive His love and pleasure through all of these things. I bring glory and honor and worship in all of these things. Why? Because He has called me to be a wife, a mother, a minister, and more - and if I do these things well - living from the inside out - I bring honor, devotion, and praise to Him. It is Christ who lives in me, the life I live by faith. A life lived in grace by faith makes it POSSIBLE!
When I accept His grace and His love, my desire to be in His presence will grow. And I will want to come before Him, meditate on His Word, and hear Him speak. Because, I no longer feel guilty or pressure for the time with Him to look a certain way or amount to a certain thing. It will simply just be about Him. All distractions of guilt, pressure, and failure will flee.
We have spent too long as followers of Christ seeking after a prescription or formula for how to "grow closer to God" and how to have a "quiet time". Let's let go of those things. Let's love Him and be our best in the roles He has called us to fill - and the rest will follow. "Seek Him first, and all will be added".
I was reminded recently through wise counsel, that this is a season. And my walk with God WILL look differently from season to season. The same is for you! Give yourself grace today, He knows you love Him and desire to draw closer. Feel His pleasure and His love as you bring worship to Him through the daily mundane. Sooner or later the season will change, and there will be new obstacles yet new opportunities for focused time with Him.
So, go ahead, embrace grace and go love God through your job in the office or that dinner you will cook for your family. Or, if you are like me, through the take out you will provide for your family. :)