Barb was so frustrated. “Since becoming a mom my spiritual life has crashed. I used to get up every morning and spend quiet time with the Lord, read my Bible and pray. Now, when I have a quiet moment I’m so exhausted all I want to do is sleep. I can’t remember the last time I even looked at a Bible other than at church.”
I’ll bet you can relate. Parenting, especially when the kids are young, is an all consuming season of life. Do you feel like you’re on a run away train with absolutely no control? It can be tough just to survive let alone find time to grow spiritually. Quiet time? Hah! Not likely.
But I have some great news that’s sure to encourage you and release some guilt.
We’ve been programmed to measure our spiritual state by how much time we spend praying, reading the Bible, etc.
“I read my 5 chapters today and prayed an hour – I’m a spiritual superstar!”
“I got busy and didn’t pray or read today – I’m failing spiritually.”
But the reason we practice spiritual disciplines is not to get a gold star and proudly say, “I prayed an hour”, “I read the Bible through in a year”, etc. We do these things because they help us become more like Jesus – more patient, more loving, more kind, more compassionate, etc.
Yes, there’s value in Bible reading, prayer, fasting, etc but the Lord wants to know “Are you becoming more like me?” Not “How many times did you read through the Bible?” Like all exercise, the value is in what it produces in me, not in just going through the motions. Make sense?
At this crazy and hectic season of life you may not have much “quiet time”. Remember, you’re in a unique season. It won’t always be this way. But you can still be growing spiritually through the spiritual exercises you are able to participate in.
If chasing after a toddler is teaching you patience then that is a spiritual discipline as beneficial as a quiet time. If cleaning constant messes and wiping smelly bottoms is teaching you the value of servanthood, then those are spiritual exercises just as surely as reading your Bible. If you’re learning to find peace and joy amidst chaos you are growing more like Jesus.
Obviously Bible reading and prayer are awesome if you can pull it off. But if you can’t, you can still be accomplishing the goal of these exercises – becoming more like Jesus – by doing all the mundane things you have to do but doing them as gifts unto the Lord.
Changing diapers, taking kids to school, fixing lunches, cleaning spills – if these activities are shaping your character to be more like Jesus – a servant who washed dirty feet, encouraged the weak, laid down his life for others – then they’re an invaluable “quiet time”.
So, drop the guilt about not being able to grow spiritually. This could be the greatest growth period you’ll ever experience.
By seeing your daily required activities as spiritual disciplines designed to conform you more to the image of Jesus you suddenly find yourself living a life of spiritual devotion instead of just tacking “devotions” on to your day.
2 Corinthians 11:27 & 12:14-15
I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights…
After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children. I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you…