Tuesday, November 5, 2013

{Real Mom Life} Carving Time to Read Scripture

As  our household manager and a work-at-home mom {yes, I consider raising my daughter from home work}, I've found it very difficult to maintain a scheduled daily Bible study. I've always thought it essential to carve out a few minutes each day to read my Bible, reflect on my life, and pray about issues on my heart. And I {mistakenly} assumed that since I'd be home with Maylin every day it would be easy to keep up my before-baby Bible study time. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Now, more than any other time in my life, I've struggled to have that daily time of closeness with God. I haven't quite figured out why that is yet. Yes, Maylin does take much time and energy and most of my day is filled with feeding, changing, entertaining, and soothing her. But can I really use her as an excuse? I don't think so. She takes at least three naps a day, and for at least part of one of her naps I should make the time to focus on God. Do I ? No. I'm washing dishes, or doing laundry, or sweeping the floor, or blogging, or reading my latest library book, or making baby food. Because for some reason at the time I think those things must be done immediately, that they're most important, or that perhaps if I'm not doing something "productive" then I'm not really pulling my weight as our household manager.

I have a feeling that I'm not the only mom at home that is dealing with this issue. I'm certain there are more moms out there who are missing that alone time with God because they're so busy working around the house trying to keep up with chores so at the end of the day they can feel like they were "worth something" or "productive". Definitely guilty here.

So what's the solution here? As I've reflected on this issue, I feel there are five simple promises I can make to myself to make my Bible study time a daily reality instead of wishful thinking.

1} Rise & Shine Earlier
I get up pretty early already, around 6:15 or so. But I've developed a bad habit of sipping coffee in bed or lounging around not really doing much until Maylin gets up at 7:30. What I really need to do is make that time between 6:15 and 7:30 count. I'm rising at an acceptable time, but I'm not shining like I should be. If I were completely dressed and ready for the day before Maylin gets up, instead of wet hair in a towel & still in pajamas, I'd be able to maximize her nap times by spending the first half of her first nap reading my Bible.

2} Set Time and Space
With a set time in my mind, like the first half of Maylin's first nap, I'm much more likely to make Bible study a part of my daily routine. Instead of saying, "I'll read when I finish this load of clothes," or "maybe after lunch I'll have time to sit for a minute," I'll have that specific time set aside just for Bible study. Another thing I'm setting aside is a specific place. We just ordered the cutest accent chairs from Target that I arranged near our living room window that faces the back yard. It has always been my intention to curl up in one of them with a book, but I've yet to do it. I believe if I make that my new space for my Bible reading with all my materials nearby and my coffee ready, I'll look forward to sitting there to read. This is much better than trying to read my Bible in bed or while I'm feeding Maylin.

3} Eliminate Interruptions, Distractions, To-Dos
It's easy for me to worry about the dishes in the sink, think about the errands I need to run later, or jump to fold the clothes when the dryer beeps. But I'm going to practice ignoring those household chores that can wait. Also, I'm not going to make a mental to-do list during my reading time. This is difficult for me, because as soon as my mind has a free minute it's up and running to think about what needs to be done next.

4} No Guilt
This is probably the hardest one to follow through with for me. Each time I sit during the day, my mind automatically starts chiding me by reminding me of everything I could be doing, cautioning me not to be lazy, or telling me to use my time wisely. Taking time to read my Bible every day is the most important thing I can do with my time. No amount of anything is worth the value of alone time with God. Therefore, there will be no guilt in my mind when I spend 30-45 quiet minutes soaking up Scripture.

5} Be Accountable
I'm not generally a person who needs to link up with someone else in order to do things I set my mind to do. I'm pretty self-disciplined and self-motivated, so telling someone my plans to ensure that I'll follow through isn't something I do often. However, I do think it's important in this case to be accountable for my actions. I work best with a plan, on a schedule, in a routine, by a list. Those things keep me pretty accountable to myself. Therefore I'm going to write a Scripture reading plan according to what I want to read, then write it on my calendar where I can see it and check it off.

It's refreshing and freeing to realize reading my Bible is not wasted time. When I was teaching, I had this mentality that I "deserved" the time to just sit and reflect on God because I'd been at work the whole day. I could use a few minutes to relax. Now that I'm home with my daughter, it's almost like the reverse is true. Because I'm not "working" in a financial sense, I don't "deserve" to sit and read. This is a lie straight from Satan and I will no longer let it abide in my heart. I am thankful that I'm able to raise our daughter from home, and this work is just as important as teaching that classroom of precious fourth graders. It's also just as important now, perhaps even more so, to be focusing my mind on God for a set time each day as it was then.

Moms, I want to encourage you. There is time for alone time with God. And as women who are home most of the day it's easy to start believing lies that creep into our thoughts. Let's not allow that. I need my God just as much at home as I did in the working world. So, with these five promises to myself, I'm ready to turn over a new leaf. How about you?

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