When I was getting ready to be married, I spent a lot of time (a LOT of time) seeking God about my relationship with Him. I remember being somewhat distraught because I greatly loved and valued the time I had with God alone during my single life. When I woke up in the morning, I was able to spend unlimited time with God. When I came home from work, there was no one there to deal with or distract me from spending even more time with Him. I completely treasured all the time I had with God. Now, I was very happy about getting married, but I didn’t want my relationship with God to change at all, and I remember asking advice from married women about that balance. Basically, I was told that I would learn how to pray and spend time with God while doing various things around the house. Obviously, this is not what I personally wanted, but I knew that it was something God would work out in my life.
Fast forward: I got married and became pregnant after a little over a month. During that time of adjusting to marriage and pregnancy, it was really hard trying to find time to spend with God. I had homework, a job, marriage, church responsibilities, pregnancy problems, etc. I remember it just became more and more difficult. After about 8 months of pregnancy, my husband brought up the idea of getting rid of our television set so that we would not be so distracted during our day and be able to spend more time with God. Obviously, this was not the way I wanted to spend more time with God, but I knew that he was right and that time with God was much more valuable.
Fast forward: We got rid of the TV and had our daughter. I finished my job and remaining classwork, we moved, and I transitioned into being a housewife. Now, being a housewife is a lot of work….a lot more work than I ever anticipated. It’s a hard job to keep up with every aspect of your home, be in charge of a household budget, taking care of a baby, trying to make sure that your baby is keeping up with developmental marks, establishing discipline for a baby, running errands, cleaning, cooking, etc etc etc. It’s a lot, and you still have to balance all of that with being a wife, a helpmeet.
But, every day is not a circus. And over the months, I have found that God has matured my relationship with Him dramatically. No, I didn’t get a chance to spend unlimited time with Him anymore. But I have learned to use my time more wisely and efficiently. While sleep training my daughter, I learned that though I could get a lot of housework done, I also had a good hour to spend before God. Now, I have the great pleasure of being able to wake up before my daughter and spend time with God before my day begins. However, there are some days when I don’t have that luxury. So, I have learned how to pray while washing days, making dinner, playing with my daughter, and so much more.
Basically, God has taught me that my idea of how my time should be spent with Him is not the best for me. Being able to spend unlimited hours with God is nice, but it is not what is best for my spiritual growth and maturity. You don’t spiritually grow up in blissful isolation. You don’t spiritually mature in the perfect environment. It is through life, through circumstances, through your every day that you learn to grow in God. Without dealing with the random craziness of the everyday, you will not learn how to keep your eyes on Christ. You will not learn how to patiently persevere. Bearing the fruit of the Spirit is all the more glorious to God when the circumstances are far from ideal for the fruit to be produced. Just think about it practically, fresh fruit tastes great during the summer, but it is even more refreshing to taste it during the bleak winter months.
Finally, God has taught me that worship is not meant for me. Now, when I say worship, I mean all of my singing, reading Scripture, prayer, listening to the Word…all of that, though it does provide a benefit to me, is not meant for me. Worship is intended for the glory of God. It is what we give to Him, and it is for His pleasure. Worship is not meant for us. We offer our bodies as living sacrifices, not so that we receive the sacrifice back to ourselves, but it is meant solely for God. Thus, in this time, I have learned to stop trying to be “filled” from my time with God. I stopped looking for my “fix” or my “word for the day”. I stopped trying to gain something from the time I spent with God, and instead, I sought to make sure that God was honored and glorified. This has also dramatically changed my personal time with God because I no longer get frustrated if my daughter wakes up earlier than expected or if my day is busier than expected. I don’t lose hope when my time with God fails to meet my expectations because it is not for me, but it is for Him. And as long as I offer myself to Him willingly, He will take joy in my sacrifice.
And I don’t want to leave you with the thought that you will just personally go without any fulfillment taking this mindset. But I will tell you that God will give you an abundance of grace, peace, joy, contentment, and any and every thing that you need throughout your everyday. He has done this for me so much over the past months, as I have been more and more conscious that my worship and time spent with Him is for His glory alone, and as I have stopped trying to get “something” out of the moment and experience. I guess it all goes back to Matthew 6:31-34, which says:
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
The things in this life, whether food, clothes, a home, a car, money, you don’t have to look for with God. Even the spiritual things in this life, whether encouragement, a ‘word for the day’, a promise to trust in, spiritual gifts, even spiritual maturity, even these things you do not have to look for with God. If you fully set your mind to give all of your worship to God, to do all things for His glory and good pleasure, to rest and find your peace in knowing who He is and that He is glorified, you will find that God will take care of you every single day. You will find that He will watch over you so intimately that you will feel like He does things just for you. He will be so close to you that it will blow your mind, and it all comes when your mindset is on worshiping and glorifying Him while not seeking to gain anything for yourself.
I pray that all of God’s people become mindful that worship is meant for God alone and let go of their selfishness in their relationship with God, realizing that God will give them everything that they are in need of, from the physical to the spiritual.