Spending quiet time alone with God each day in worship, prayer, and Bible reading is essential to nurturing our spirit and increasing our fruitfulness. However, as a mother of eight children who has homeschooled some or all of them for the past 12+ years, I know hard it can be to block out time to actually attempt to be still before the Lord.
How often I have dreamed of a quiet time that is actually, well . . . quiet. Unfortunately, that only happens for me when the rest of the household is asleep, which is either really early in the morning or really late at night. Sometimes I’m so worn out that neither is a possibility so I am forced to attempt a quiet time in the midst of an active and noisy household. Can you relate?
Here are 3 things I try to keep in mind when my quiet time is interrupted:
Don’t give up. Repeated interruptions are not an excuse to quit trying altogether. It’s easy to throw in the towel, but that’s not where the greatest rewards lay. Blessed are the perseverant, for they shall eventually cross the finish line.[tweetthis]Blessed are the perseverant, for they shall eventually cross the finish line.[/tweetthis]
Keep the big picture in mind rather than focusing on one particular fleck of paint. Your long term consistency is of far more importance than any individual day.
2-Keep calm and stay loving.
Don’t get angry. It’s so easy to lose your cool when someone interrupts an important activity you’re trying to complete. (Ask me how I know!) But it’s totally hypocritical to fuss at someone for interrupting your time with Lord. (Okay, so I’m guilty of anger and hypocrisy. You too?) God was very clear about the fact that we can’t say we love Him and then not be loving toward people (1 John 4:19-21).
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
3-Go with the flow.
Don’t be inflexible. Train yourself to ask, “Lord, what is your purpose for allowing this interruption? Are you redirecting me or testing my commitment?” Sometimes our interruptions are divinely appointed and part of the big plan. We miss it if we are stuck to our original goal.[tweetthis]Sometimes our interruptions are divinely appointed and part of the big plan. [/tweetthis]
What if Abraham had not paid attention to God’s interruption and replied, “Hang on a sec, Lord. Let me finish executing my son and then I’ll be right with you.” Yep. Better to check with God and see if the interruption really came from Him.
Although a specific time set aside for the Lord is ideal, we can and should abide with Him anywhere anytime (John 15:4). Our quiet time is really just the interlude to a life lived continually aware of God’s presence.[tweetthis]Our quiet time is just the interlude to a life lived continually aware of God’s presence.[/tweetthis]
I have often read biographies of great Christian saints who devoted several hours a day to scripture and prayer and left feeling discouraged that I could not do the same. However, we are each called to our own unique path. We all have a different race to run. Mind you, not many of the people I have studied were busy raising a brood of young children.
The one exception that comes to mind is Susanna Wesley who secured her quiet time by covering her head with her apron and telling her 10 children not to disturb her when they found her thus because she was talking to God.
I want to encourage you to eagerly and gratefully embrace whatever you receive from the Lord, no matter how small it may seem to you at the time. Even a single verse or 5 more minutes in prayer is an immeasurable blessing when the source is an infinite God.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.
P.S. – I had at least 25 interruptions from four different children during the writing of this post. I’m thinking maybe God wants to make sure I mean what I say and I practice what I preach.
Do I need to put an apron on my head when I write too? Perhaps a sign on the door would suffice.
Elizabeth is a military spouse, veteran, and mother of eight. Above and beyond caring for her family, her mission is to offer words that sustain weary moms and to empower and equip them to live and parent with purpose.