Your spiritual health is the most important part of you, and yet it is the easiest to neglect. Mom quiet time is an elusive unicorn that we can’t quite catch.
We know God loves us and will never change, and so it’s often the easiest to push it aside, knowing He will still be there when we have extra time. The demands on a mama are intense, and time is always at a premium. If we give up the laundry or meal prep or time with our family, things will spiral into disarray. On the outside, when we give up our spiritual time, things stay the same. There is no discernable difference in our days – on the outside.
When you place a frog in a pot of water, he will swim around happily, unaware of the dangers of a frog in a cooking pot. As you gradually turn up the heat, he will slowly boil to death, all the while not noticing the increase in heat nor the impending doom awaiting him as the water temperature continues to rise.
We don’t notice the decline in us until it’s significant. Each day apart from God leaves us trusting in ourselves, and I know from experience I’m not to be trusted. I make bad decisions, I waffle, I don’t know the future. I also can’t feed my soul. Only He can.
Mom Quiet Time – The Dangers
We know enough about God to be dangerous. This danger appears in two ways. First, we know He is good and His love is unconditional. This sometimes can give us a license – if not to do what we want, then to just be absent. If His love never changes, then why do I need to put in the effort. The problem is we’re thinking from a human economy, and God doesn’t work this way. It’s not a reciprocal relationship where we can earn or buy his love, or that he views us differently. No – it’s sacrificial, never giving up love.
When we taste this love and understand the depth, we don’t respond out of obligation. We respond out of gratitude, thanksgiving, understanding that his way is better and will always be what we should follow. We lose sight of this so easily. I’m distracted by shiny things and squirrels and forget that his love is so much better than anything. That he has given me guidelines to keep me safe. That he wants the very best for me.
We also know just enough about God to give others the wrong impression. When we take bits and pieces from the bible, backing up our ideas with a misplaced scripture out of context, we present an incomplete God to the world. People don’t need a god they think they need – they need the God He knew we need. A God for the broken. A God so moved to draw the world close in communion with him that he sacrificed his own Son.
We like to neglect the part of scripture that indicates our choices are deserving of death. No one wants to think of the punishment for just “following our heart.” But our hearts are deceitful and simply can’t be trusted. We don’t weigh the life or death in our every decision. However, Jesus did. And he tipped the scales in our favor when we trust Him as our savior. When we trust him, the Father looks at us and sees the righteousness of Christ, not the dirtiness of our own choices.
The Mom Quiet Time Checklist
Many times, we attempt to take the pulse of our spiritual health by this thing our culture has defined as a morning quiet time. Don’t get me wrong, spending quiet time with God is necessary and helpful. However, its become a checkbox of things to do.
Read four chapters. Check.
Move on with day, mostly unchanged. Check.
This is all understandable, as we serve a God who is so much bigger than we are and isn’t visibly with us. It’s hard to develop a relationship with someone outside of our human relationship realm.
But God is alive. He wants a relationship with you. We are called the bride of Christ over and over again with good reason. No bride, who wants a successful relationship with her groom, will neglect him intentionally. This wife would never go days without talking to her groom if she had any power in it. No bride would simply greet her husband with a checklist as evidence of their relationship. “Look, honey. I cooked you dinner. Check. I asked the same questions about how your day was. Check. I told you about me. Check. That’s all you should expect.”
I think sometimes I honestly feel like I’m doing God a favor by rotely walking through my QT checklist. Look at me, God – I did what you asked!
But I challenge you – show me where this checklist is in the Bible.
Did you find it?
That’s because it’s not there.
Developing Mom Quiet Time for Relationship over Ritual
What happened was people took God’s word, when it tells us to commune with him, that the Scriptures are rich and alive and full of everything we need for this life, and reduced it to a simple formula. Checklists in themselves are not wrong. They help us to stay focused, to get things done, and to accomplish big goals. But when a checklist is substituted for a relationship, we have a problem. Relationships are active, growing things – they can’t be confined to three or four boxes.
Sometimes, a checklist is exactly what you need to get started. We can be paralyzed into inactivity when trying to figure out where to start. But you simply can’t stay there.
Yes, we need to pray. Yes, we need to read the Bible. But it’s not a method to earn God’s grace or love. It’s not a daily necessity to get to heaven. But it is a powerful tool that can change us, but only if we let it.
As moms especially, we have so much to learn from a loving and patient father. We wouldn’t expect our children to complete a checklist with us and be satisfied with the relationship. We can’t be filled up by simply going through the motions.
Just Show Up
I get this sounds like you’re going to have to find time that doesn’t exist. You’re going to have to dig into your nonexistent reserves to just show up, much less interact with God and his word. He knows that too, friend. God isn’t a harsh taskmaster that expects more than you can give. He expects you, and when YOU show up, he can fill you with the strength, wisdom, patience, and grace you need to face the day.
Just like when he provided Manna in the wilderness for the people of Israel, He’s ready to give you the sustenance you need for today. Once you’ve tasted of his goodness, it’s hard to go back to a checklist. But we are a forgetful people. And we will and we do. So whether its the first or fiftieth time, I invite you to join him, just as you are and let Him be your enough.