This post is part of our series exploring the challenges of work and ministry. Patsy has an (almost) full-time job as an editor. Megan (mostly) stays home with her children. The first post in this series examined friendship from two angles. Today, we'll each talk about our spiritual lives.
The best and worst thing about being a stay-at-home mom is the flexibility. No two days are the same, and they don’t have to be.
I have been known to suddenly pull our minivan to the side of the road, unbuckle three car seats, and sit on the grass for half an hour, admiring a traveling turtle. I’m so thankful to my husband who works hard and makes many sacrifices so I can sit with our children on the sidelines of spontaneous reptilian marathons.
But flexibility is tough on discipline. I don’t punch a clock, I check a list. As long as I do the three-loads-a-day necessary to keep us from drowning in small socks, I’m good. Most of what I do can be worked around turtle-spotting.
When it comes to spiritual disciplines like prayer, meditation, and Scripture reading, flexibility can quickly take a sinful slide into laziness or procrastination. If it can be done anytime, it might never get done. And, unlike falling into mounting laundry, I might not realize when I’m spiritually drowning.
The popular women’s magazine concept of “me time” is usually framed in a way that’s selfish and unbiblical. But intentionally creating inflexible spaces for spiritual nurture is truly vital.
I’ve learned to:
Memorize and meditate on Scripture in song. This has the added benefit of being available in the car and useful for small passengers, too.
Set a quiet time for everyone. Even my kids who’ve outgrown sleeping during naps can stay in their rooms for a bit, planting seeds for a devotional habit for them and Scripture-reading time for me.
Write it down. I write my prayers and notes from my Scripture reading. I’m often interrupted by a tiny voice asking for a drink of water, so writing down my meditations makes it easier to pick back up.
Pray together. A family prayer in the morning, thanksgiving before meals, family worship in the evenings. . .all established spiritual disciplines in a fluid day.
Capture everything for the Lord. Even that street-crossing turtle is an opportunity to meditate (aloud!) on a creating God who paints his creatures beautiful.
Work is an excellent place to work out your own salvation. (Phil. 2:12) I see my God-given job as a large workshop for my faith. This is not earning my favor with God, which was secured by His Son, but rather an act of thanksgiving for and stewardship of what He has given me.
The basic struggles I faced as a stay-at-home woman did not melt away when I entered the workforce. Therefore, I can't use the excuse that my circumstances are the cause of my sin. For example, I still need to grow in personal discipline, loving others, gratitude and biblical witness.
What faith projects am I working on at work?
Faith goes to work with me. God is active in my life (and in the world) every moment of every day. Acknowledgment of that fact is just as important in my office on Monday as it is in my church on Sunday. I want to please Him with my whole heart wherever I am and whatever I am doing. The popular phrase, "It's a God thing," is too limiting of God. The earth is the Lord's and everything in it!
Do everything in the name of the Lord. My words and deeds should honor the name of the Lord Jesus. (Col.3:17) So, I should give an honest day's work, be considerate of my co-workers, respect those in authority over me, use wholesome speech and thank others for their help. I want to be the sweet aroma of Christ to those around me.
God makes an eternal difference. I see a stark contrast between the lostness of some
co-workers who have no place for God in their lives and the progress in faith of Christians in my ministry. But, all sinners need the same thing. I can profess the same Gospel I speak of at church to the needy people who I meet at work. God, who is able to save people out of darkness, will complete the good work as they walk in His light.
Time to leave for my faith workshop. I have a busy day ahead.