I’ve been talking to God in my head alot this past week, especially about my prayer list for 2014. One of my worst character traits is becoming easily overwhelmed, even with simple things. So one of the things I’ve been praying a lot about recently is strength and direction on how to overcome that.
But this week has been different, because God has been dealing with my heart on so many other things.
You see, I’m one to always have a quick answer when it comes to biblical questions or when someone is looking for advice. I love giving Godly advice, I always have. You can ask my mother, she’ll tell you that I’ve always been one to speak my mind and give good advice….even to her 😉
But with that said, my biggest obstacle is being “quick” to answer. When in fact we’re called to be slow to speak.
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;” [James 1:19]
I realized this week that while I have bible knowledge and try my hardest to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through me, I rarely pray before giving an answer. And that’s extremely dangerous.
There are so.many.quarrels. that I could have avoided in the past if I would have kept my mouth shut and just shook my head and said “I’ll pray about it”. But sometimes my mind goes 1,000 mph and then I’ve crashed into a wall and we don’t get anything accomplished.
I get overwhelmed, and the only way to expell it is to reply with an answer before praying. I must say, it was a revelation yesterday when God really stopped me in my tracks to show me that being “overwhelmed” with housework and parenting isn’t the only bad character trait I have. I get overwhelmed even in the simple everyday moments.
Before uttering a word, pray.
Before thinking up a reply in your head, pray.
Before taking a deep breath and giving advice or lashing out at your spouse or children, pray.
Before starting the laundry, pray.
Before disciplining your child, pray.
Before responding harshly to your spouse, pray.
Before making yourself feel guilty, pray.
Even if you have to be silent and get awkward looks from people for 5 minutes.
We often only pray when life gets us down or when “big” issues arise. Sometimes, when life is ok and we’re just dealing with everyday situations, we forget that the God of all creation wants to help us, even with the smallest things.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” [Luke 12:6-7]
He would not have numbered the hairs on your head if He didn’t care about every single aspect of your life — right down to the smallest of details and every day annoyances and joys. He doesn’t want us to try and do everything on our own, not even simple housework. He wants to have every single part of our lives. He wants to be our comforter, our strength, our counselor. He doesn’t want us to do this all on our own, otherwise, there would be no need for Him.
Here are a few things that I plan on doing in the coming weeks to help me control that “overwhelming” feeling and to help me be slower to speak, and quicker to ask for His guidance, even if it only requires 5 minutes of His time.
Praise and Worship
I have been blessed with the ability to be a work at home mom, therefore, I have worship music playing in our home most of the day since I prefer not to sit our little fella down in front of the TV watching cartoons all day long. I also love to worship God, but I found that I wasn’t doing it as often as I would have liked. There is something so freeing in worshipping our Lord every day. Not just with praying, but with honest acts of worship, lifting our voices and hands and singing praises to Him. So this week, I’ve been singing songs while folding laundry, lifting my hands in praise after doing the dishes, dancing in the middle of the living room floor singing Hosanna with my 4 year old, and in those quiet moments, singing old hymns which still shake the soul today. Worship is essential to our relationship with God. It’s freeing, it’s liberating, and it paves the way to prayer and seeking God’s face through out the day. If you feel that unglued feeling coming, start singing, start praising. Because sometimes, it’s especially hard to pray when your toddler starts painting the house with the paint can your husband left open on the basement stairs the day before. Worship loosens the dust from your feet and lays a foundation of sincerity in prayer, of peace and humility. And, if you’re a momma like me, it’s influential on your children when you worship openly. Your children need to see you praising our Savior. They need to know, in your actions, that Jesus is right here with us and very much alive today!
Seeking God’s Face
Did you think otherwise? But when I say pray, I mean DAILY. Multiple times a day, even little prayers through out your day. I have a very hard time praying every single day at a designated time. When I try to pray at night, I fall asleep. When I try to pray in the morning, I get distracted with toddler cuddles. One of the best times for me to pray, believe it or not, is when I’m in the shower or after everyone has gone to bed. Making time to really sit down and seeks God’s face is key. Not just prayer, but literally seeking God’s face in every situation. Make a prayer list each morning, add to it through out the day. And in the evening, or at whatever point is easier for you, pray about those things. Make time to pray earnestly. We forget that while God is our father and friend, He’s also oh so very sovereign, and He needs us to be serious when we come to Him.
Apologize and Let Go
If you’ve recently responded to someone with lack of love, apologize. Make it right. Confess your sins one to another..
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” [James 5:16]
Once you’ve sincerely apologized, move on. If they accept forgiveness and the changes that you’re making, great! If not, that’s ok too. You are not the same person you were yesterday, and if you keep reminding yourself of who you were, you’ll never grow in Christ. This doesn’t mean that we get to forget our past mistakes, we still need to learn from them. There are still very real hurts and aches that can linger in other people’s lives from the way that we treated them. Just because God is fixing your heart quickly, doesn’t mean you get to go on like you’ve never hurt anyone. Especially your spouse and children — apologize. Ask for forgiveness and let them know that you’re on a very new journey of redemption with whatever God is dealing with in your heart at this time. You’re going to need to sit down with your husband, especially, and encourage him to pray for you and with you.
Just Do It
Once you’re on this journey of seeking God in the simple everyday things, don’t look back. Guess what, you’re going to make mistakes. Yep, that’s right, you’re going to make them. Does it mean you get to slack off because you’re “human”? Absoultely not. Jesus raised the standard for us when He came down to earth. Just because there’s grace, doesn’t mean we get to be lazy in our walk with God. Forgive yourself quickly, ask for forgiveness even quicker — forgiveness from God and from the people that may have been in your line of fire. And then pick back up and start again, all while praying for strength, direction, and for love to be expelled from you like never before! We don’t get to give up, we weren’t created to stop growing.
Submerge Your Heart in His Word
Begin every single morning with one chapter in the Bible. Alone time is best, but if you have to involve the kids, by all means, do it. Start the day off by filling your heart with His word. If you don’t have time in the morning, lock yourself in your bedroom for 10 minutes during “rest” time for the kids. Make time for His word!
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 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.” [Deuteronomy 6:6-9]
It’s so incredibly easy, in our busy lives, to forget that God is always here with us. That He is watching and waiting for us to call upon His name. But if you’re too busy to praise our Saviour through out the day, then you’re much busier than God ever intended you to be. I’ve learned quickly that disciplining my child is much easier once I’ve taken a breather, said “Jesus help me”, and proceeded. It’s easier when we take just a few seconds to pray during those daily everyday situations and chores, rather than trying to do things on our own. Or maybe for you it’s dealing with coworkers, employers, people at the grocery store, or a telemarketer.
Whatever it is, make sure God is there, through it all.