The Spritiual Disciplines. I love them, but sometimes I feel like I love them the same way I love the Jimmy Fallon Show. I love to watch, but our relationship is less than consistant.
Take for instance, silence. A few days ago our adorable baby boy woke me up at 4:45 (one of the reasons God made babies cute: so you can still be sweet to them when they wake up crying at the wee hours of the morning). I had just listened to an inspiring podcast the previous day by Pete Scazzero on the spiritual discipline of silence. As a mom of six under 10 (4 of which are under 5) this discipline usually seems the most daunting. Nevertheless, this morning, in the early hours, I had a great idea in my delirium. This is a great time to practice silence. 5 minutes later: Zzzzzzzzz. Ha! Next time I’ll have coffee first!
Then there is fasting. I love fasting. I have never regretted a fast. However by the time 10am rolls around I’m ready to tear my bath robe and put the fireplace soot on my head.
I guess my point is, my flesh is still very alive and very much a pansy.
I joke. I’m sure some of you are reading this thinking, “I feel you. My heart is willing but my flesh is weak.” There may be others who have a grace for these disciplines and you’re saying, “What’s the big deal? There’s a reason it’s called a ‘discipline.’ And you could use some.” To all of you I would say, YES. Just a hardy YES.
I remember a time as a new mom feeling so overwhelmed and like time ran me rather than me running my time. It was all I could do to find a few minutes to pray in the shower. God didn’t look down on me, or distance himself from me in that season. Being a mom is emotionally and sometimes physically draining, and we are flesh. When we are down and out, we don’t want another thing to do. So my challenge is to the mom’s out there who are struggling to connect with the Lord, or sometimes struggling to even want to connect. Sometimes you need to deal with a “deeper” issue, but often times the enemy is taking your tired, worn out self, and having a hay day with it. Here’s are some steps to walk past it:
- Ask God for help. In Him we live and move and have our being, and it’s by His grace that we get anything done. He delights in your asking, and He delights in answering.
- Don’t feel overwhelmed by what you feel like you “should” be doing. It’s a trap.
- Don’t feel like you can’t do anything. The enemy would love for us to follow our feelings until the day we die. We want to be effective and productive citizens of God’s kingdom, and He wants us to too.
- Just start somewhere. Tell yourself that instead of making mental lists in the shower of what you have to do that day, take 5, 4, or 2 minutes to pray. If you don’t know what to pray, just start thanking God for anything… eventually it will be so easy, and it will change your outlook. It will. Or tell yourself you will find one scripture to read that day, and you will think on it at different times. Psalms is a great place to start, or the YouVersion always has a great “verse of the day” to encourage you.
The opportunity to grow and connect with God throughout our day is central to walking in the Spirit. While I may not always get in silence, and while my fasting may only last until noon sometimes (hey, it’s something), I can find time connecting by reading my word first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee. Sometimes this happens while a toddler is next to me eating breakfast and watching (gasp) Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Sometimes it happens when I’m doing dishes and tell I say, “Hey, Alexa! Turn on the Elevation Worship station, and make it louder than my children.” Sometimes it happens with an extra thirty seconds spent in the only room in the house I seem to find a moment of privacy. Then there is my new obsession, my planner (which has very little planning in it). It’s where I jot down encouraging and challenging things that I feel the Holy Spirit speaking to me (and add cute stickers and colorful washi tape <-I’m certain God loves washi tape too). I feel like I’m the most connected when I find multiple ways multiple times a day to intentionally connect with God.
The spiritual disciplines are a great tool for us to submit our day and our lives to the One we chose to trust daily. I feel the enemy loves to make us feel one of two things, A. I’m not doing enough. B. I can’t do anything. These feelings can only be remedied by actually connecting to the God who loves you in this moment more than life itself . Only He can help us balance our lives. Be encouraged not condemned, mamas! This job is tough. These little unpredictable balls of energy are No. Joke. Take heart! It is God’s “divine power [that] has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3).”
Blessings and Grace!