Summer is such a fun time at our house. It’s a time of sleeping in, going to the pool, staying up late and visiting with friends and family. Though I appreciate the laid back schedule and the ability to be spontaneous, I often miss the normal routines of consistent time in the Word of God and prayer. And yet, when I miss my time with the Lord, I am not equipped to be loving and patient for the day ahead and unfortunately my family pays the price. Furthermore, the summer days can quickly go from fun to frazzled and end with everyone (including Mom) sent to their own rooms for an attitude adjustment.
So the question is how do we avoid taking a vacation from God?
How can we maintain our vital connection with Jesus even when our schedules are so fluid?
Throughout scripture, we see examples of men and women who “set their heart” or “purposed in their heart” to follow the Lord. We see them choosing to set aside their time, attention and lives in order to walk with God. We see the example of Jesus, who would withdraw early and often to a place by Himself in order to pray. For me, it’s a matter of maintaining my center in Jesus. I realize that as a wife, mom, and friend I can only be those things for God’s glory when God is the center of my universe and my heart. My heart must be surrendered to the One who created it and the only One who can keep me from going off the rails of my own self centered agenda.
Matthew 6:33reminds me over and over again that even in the throes of summer vacation, I must “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to me.”The best days are days that I have set my heart on Jesus and spent time in His presence. I must allow the Holy Spirit to produce the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control that I will need throughout the day. Every activity will be effected by whether or not I have centered my heart and mind on Jesus.
I have overheard women talking lately about how they feel selfish by taking time for themselves – especially if they are Moms. Let me speak truth to this point, it is never selfish to spend time with the Lord and honestly, it will benefit your children more than you can imagine. I believe it’s extremely healthy for your children to see that:
1-Mom needs Jesus too.
2-Mom surrenders to Jesus daily.
3-The children are not the center of Mom’s world, Jesus is!
4-The Bible is the way Mom grows in love and wisdom.
5-Every vibrant relationship requires time invested to grow.
I am so thankful that God addressed this daily commitment to pour life and truth into our families and friends. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, God instructs the people through Moses with this command:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Did you catch that? The first thing we do is we love God with our whole hearts and then we teach our children in the daily activities of life. Whatever season we are in, whether vacation mode or normal routine, we can talk about the greatness of Jesus. When we wake up we can thank the Lord for giving us a new day, when we head to the pool, we can talk about the good God who gave us legs to swim or the kindness of God that gave us the sun to shine and provide heat. On rainy movie days on the couch, we express gratitude for the ability to see the movie and emotions to laugh. If the heavens declare the glory of God day in and day out, then surely we, as His children can find our voice to praise Him. The pattern of praise is developed in these simple and ordinary ways.
One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to remind us of all Jesus is and what He has done and draw us to His Word. (John 14:26) When I ignore His promptings my day usually spirals into a self absorbed, highly irritated, extremely impatient mess. But, when I heed His promptings to sit and be still, to be connected to Him through His Word and prayer, my days are covered by His grace and I am able to enjoy the journey. And maybe just maybe, those around me catch a glimpse of Jesus!
We cannot let the flexibility of our schedules influence our ability to hold fast to the anchor of our souls. When we begin to see that in Christ we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), and we depend upon Him to be our daily bread and living water, we cannot go too long without spending time with Him. By His grace and power we can be obedient in the ordinary.