Can you relate?
I just wrote a devotional on being still, for crying out loud, you’d think I’d have it figured out. Nope, I still struggle. During the day is a race to get as much work and errands as possible and workout done while kids are at school. After school is snack, homework, snack, break up a fight, cook dinner, do more laundry, clean up dinner, bathe children, snack, reading time, bed-time. (Why do they always want to eat???) And then my brain is just done. Finished. No more capacity for deeper thought.
Because of the before-mentioned devotional, I started feeling even more guilty with my struggle. The desire to spend focused time with the Lord and in study is there, but it just doesn’t always work out.
And you know what? It’s okay sometimes.
Jesus doesn’t want to be an item on my to-do list. He wants to be my everything. And when kids interrupt a concentrated Bible study time, I can be irritated and simultaneously feel guilty about not checking that “Bible Study” item off my list, or I can take that time to snuggle my children, pray over them in my heart, and be with Jesus in a different way.
I saw my friend and beloved hairstylist yesterday. (A good hair stylist becomes extremely beloved after 40, by the way. She makes my day when she fibs and tells me she only sees three gray hairs.) Meghan is a young mom, busy like all of us, and wanting to be a good steward of her life and her time. As we were chatting about this struggle, her wise words were, “I am learning that being still looks different at different stages of life. Right now, being still might mean sitting on the couch with a little one in my lap while I read.”
This reminded me of something a dear pastor for whom I worked told me when Caleb was a baby. Rev. Harold is a man of God, and when I lamented to him that between working full-time in ministry and caring for our little one, my lengthy quiet times had vanished. He said, “Brooke, at this time in your life, your time with Jesus might just be in the middle of the night rocking and nursing your baby, and that’s okay.” He has a saying, “grace stacked upon grace,” and grace is exactly what he extended to me that day. I remember feeling a weight lifting off my shoulders, taking a sigh of relief, and then the release of living life in God’s grace rather than my idea of what “should” be.
Grace. Grace to understand that a relationship with Jesus is more than an official, “I read my Bible today.” It is a fluid, beautiful thing with the ebbs and flows that every season of life brings.
It is an ongoing conversation as we are working and cleaning and parenting and grand-parenting. It is the walk I took to clear my head today before I edited another lesson plan for my job. (Where I get to READ THE BIBLE, by the way. Duh. That just hit me.) That walk in the sunshine with worship music on was an amazing time to talk and connect with Jesus. The conversation with Meghan yesterday was a prayer. The verse I looked up to write on Caleb’s board as an encouragement - grace makes that a time of study and sharing. And the mornings where my sweetie pies all sleep a little more will be all the sweeter because I will be able to dig in to the Word out of sheer joy, not guilt.
The Bible is where we hear the truth from the Lord, and it is important and so good for us to be studying it. But the Jesus who said, “My burden is easy and my yolk is light,” does not want us to be bound by the weight of guilt when the very gifts He has given us in this life (children, parents, career) press in.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
– Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30, The Message
May you find your time and place to be still today. And may it be filled with grace stacked upon grace.
When do you study the Bible? When and where and how do you pray? Who has extended grace to you or given you a piece of wisdom on your faith journey? Post it on Facebook with #howiamstill so we all can learn from you!