I live in the UK and have four children under three, so over the past three years I have been working day and night and no longer have a good relationship with God. I have been saved over ten years, but feel each year I am drifting farther away. Is there hope of having a renewed and energetic relationship when I have very few moments to myself?
I have started shopping on the internet to make myself feel a little bit more alive. I look forward to the packages coming because it makes me feel someone cares about me, but when they get delivered, I feel just sad and empty again.
Please advise me, I feel like I am in a never ending desert.
Dear Sister A.,
I’d stop with the internet shopping, though relatively tame, it’s still just an attempt to fill a void in your heart that only God can fill. In this life, no matter how busy (this Andrea needs to listen up to this, too) we always have time for the things that really matter to us. Take time to write out your daily schedule, including how you spend the little down time you do have and you should find that to be true. It’s often quite embarrassing what our actual daily routines, the parts we have control over at least, indicate we value most.
Relationships don’t have autopilot. Left alone, they donâ€™t coast on, but drift apart. Itâ€™s the same with Christ. To move forward, we have to keep our foot on the gas and the gearshift in drive. Shift into neutral, and you will slide back down the hill, guaranteed.
If you have an appointment book, write God in, fifteen minutes or half an hour, and keep your appointment. If anyone finds out, let them laugh, or inform them He’s the most important appointment on your daily schedule. Donâ€™t listen to the devil, either, itâ€™s never a waste of time to pray. Keeping in touch with God daily is the best time-investment youâ€™ll ever make. He gives us strength to carry on, focus to stay on task, and wisdom to know what we can/should cut from our schedules. When we pray daily, we stay closer to Him and stray less from His will, which always means a lighter load.
If you’re a morning person, try getting up half an hour earlier than usual. The spiritual refreshing will more than make up for the lost sleep. If you’re a night owl, reserve part of your lunch break or the last half hour before bed for God. If you like to take bubble baths to relax, thatâ€™s also an excellent time to pray.
Also consider purchasing a daily devotion, I’m certain they have plenty designed for busy moms on the market. They tend to be short and can offer guidance on a bible reading schedule, which is another idea. Commit yourself to reading a portion of scripture every day. Either topical, as from a passage linked to a devotion, or just, “I’m going to read the book of Proverbs this month” or “I”m going to take the next fifty days (or more if you break up 119) to read the Psalms” With your schedule, don’t try the, “I’m going to read the bible in a year” one. The new testament alone might be an attainable goal, but three years would be more realistic for most of us, for both the New and Old Testaments. If you do something like that, mix up the new and old testament readings. Trust me, if you make it through Leviticus, the last thing you’ll feel like reading is Numbers. Even meditating on a single proverb a day would make a difference.
If kids are making it hard to find time, most kids like to read. Especially if you pick an easy reader version, you can share your bible reading with them. You’ll be learning together and growing in God together. Whatever version you choose, in explaining the Word to themâ€”our most sacred dutyâ€”you’ll learn so much yourself.
The busier the schedule, the more we have to commit ourselves to “pray without ceasing.” That doesn’t mean pray 27/7, that means to include Christ in every decision you make. To make Christ your focus, no matter what you happen to be doing. Take a moment before that meeting to pray for peace between rivals, when a kid defies you, take a minute to pray for wisdom before responding. Jesus is the easiest relationship to repair in that regards. We usually can’t correct the drift in our marriages by taking our spouses to work with us, but we can take Jesus with us. In fact, He wants us to take Him with us everywhere we go and consult Him on everything we do.
Of course He has this thing about being the Boss, too. More often than we like to talk about, that’s whatâ€™s coming between us and God. When we’ve wronged someone, or harbor ill thoughts towards them, we have a tendency to avoid them, and God is no exception. Sometimes, we have to travel in the desert to reach the promised land. And sometimes, we’ve gotten there and our disobedience has turned us back out into the desert. Thankfully, we donâ€™t have to stay there forty years. Get that appointment book I mentioned out, and spend your first appointment with God examining yourself and asking Him to reveal any sin in your heart coming between you. If you want a vibrant relationship with God, you’ll have to settle any accounts He brings up to move forward.
Even when sin isnâ€™t an issue, Christians do go through seasons of dryness, that’s natural. It tests us to see if we will believe He’s there even when we can’t feel Him. If we persevere by faith in our devotions, He will make rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19,20) and make the fountain of living water to flow in us again (John 7:37-39, John 4:7-14)
If you’re not in church, find one, and if you are, you might want to pray about going to a different one, sometimes this emptiness can come as a result of the wrong church, ie, a house of bread that’s empty or serving spiritual donuts. Also, fasting can release the flood, and the Lord dwells in the praises of his people.
If you can’t remember the last time you really worshiped, take five to fifteen minutes, turn off all distractions, turn on your favorite worship CD, and sing along. Or, if you have the capability, you might want to burn yourself a CD, or put together a play list on your computer, of worships songs that speak about water. As to what to do with the kids, put the baby in the crib or playpen and tell the toddlers it’s time for family worship. Doing this with them will draw you closer to God AND each other. Can’t sing? No problem, God said make a joyful noise, not a beautiful melody. Add dancing (He also doesn’t care about coordination!) and you’ve got your workout routine taken care of, too.
Teach your little ones to worship and they’ll remind you what a fresh, energetic relationship with God looks like. Yes, worshiping may be a little humbling at first, but God loves humility. In James 4:10, he promised if you humble yourself in His sight, He will lift you up. And unlike internet shopping, even when the music stops, the joy continues on.
Love in Christ,
linked to: Adam’s Blog