Things are better. It turns out that it doesn’t take much to wake me up. I’ve started attending a Bible study with a few other girls. We’re studying the book of Romans. Last night we talked about living by faith and not being ashamed of sharing the gospel message, but being eager to share it. I realized how often I’ve heard God’s voice but because I’m not in communion with him, I ignore it because I’m afraid – or ashamed. I want to be obedient to His voice – in whatever He calls me to. I’ve seen before what happens when I’m obedient – God uses me and it’s pretty incredible.
I live in fear a good deal of the time. This keeps me from following through on things I think God may have spoken to me. I also live every day as a perfectionist. Last night I read Romans 3 before bed. The thing that jumped out at me was that all have sinned. Not just me – but everyone. This also means that no one is perfect. I have so many responsibilities and I tend to shirk them unless I can do them perfectly. The Bible is pretty clear on this, though – it’s not going to happen. We can strive for perfection but none of us are perfect.
I can’t keep my house perfectly clean, so often I go for weeks without doing much more than dishes and laundry. My floors get dirty, the sink in our bathroom looks like it belongs in a truck stop; clutter takes over. If I can’t do it perfectly, I just don’t do it.
I can’t keep to a perfect diet and exercise program, so I do nothing instead of making an effort to get what exercise I can and eat as well as I can. I can’t get to my “perfect” weight fast enough, so I figure – “why bother?”
I can’t be the perfect wife and mother – I read blogs and books about women who do so much better than I do and I feel like giving up. But those women (unless they’re fictional) have problems, too. They aren’t perfect, even if they appear as though they are.
I can’t be the perfect Christian so I don’t bother trying. I can’t read just the right amount of my Bible every day, keep regular devotions, have a prayer closet, go on missions trips, devote myself to nine different ministries within the church, etc. So I let myself drift away from God out of fear that I’m not good enough for Him.
Let’s face it – stay at home moms in particular must try very hard to make time for all these things. I’m not saying other people have it so easy, but we are overwhelmed by demands all day long. We sometimes put in a full twenty-four hour day, give or take snippets of sleep when we can get it. My typical day right now does allow me “time off” when the boys are napping – but I only really have free time if Jenny leaves me alone for those two hours. And just about every other day, I’d rather lie down and read a book or have a nap than do anything remotely productive. Is this wrong? I don’t think so.
But what is the answer? How can I find the right balance of housework, attention to diet and exercise, time with my family, time spent in ministry and time spent with God? I don’t know. I’m not there yet. I don’t want a written schedule but maybe I need a bit more structure throughout my day.
I do know that when we talked about living by faith last night, it rang true with me – “living” encompasses all my time, all my responsibilities and my time off. If every moment is lived by faith in communion with Christ, the details will work themselves out. Maybe at this point in my life I can’t read – and process – three chapters in my Bible every day. Maybe I don’t have time for more than one small ministry outside of my family. Maybe I don’t crawl into a closet to pray three times a day. But there will come a day when my kids are grown up and I’m left at home without babies to tend to and then I’ll be able to devote myself to doing things that way. I have to take what I’m given now and give what I have without sacrificing my sanity or my family. This is a one day at a time kind of thing. But that’s what living by faith is about – living one day at a time by faith. That’s as much as any of us can do.