To flourish is to grow. Perfection needs no growth. What kind of expectations may you be putting on yourself when it comes to spiritual growth?
Most of us long for spiritual growth and a deeper relationship with God, yet being a busy mom can make it feel extremely difficult. We are the keepers of our homes, the administrators of our schedules, chauffeurs, cooks, referees, and more. Often even our best attempts at a quiet time are disrupted.
Does this scenario sound familiar? You purposefully wake up earlier than your kids to spend some time reading your Bible. You get your cup of coffee or tea and head to the comfiest spot in the house. You sit down, take a sip, and begin to read. And then it happens, your little ones somehow sensed you were up, and it seemed just a little too quiet and peaceful for their liking so they decided to join you.
I can’t even count all the mornings this has happened to me personally in my thirteen years of parenting. Many times this scenario left me frustrated and resentful. Here I was trying to spend time with the Lord, and even my best attempts just didn’t cut it. Days like this usually became so hectic it wasn’t until my head hit the pillow at night when I realized I never got back around to opening my bible. What better reminder that I am not in control.
So how do we flourish in the midst of the busyness of life?
1. Remember the “Why”
I know this seems like common sense. Yet, when life gets busy it can be difficult to remember why we are even doing the things we do. So let’s start here, specifically looking at a couple of verses from Psalm 92.
“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” (Psalm 92:12-15)
Cedar trees symbolize resilience, immortality, strength, and elevation. These verses in Psalms describe the permanent security enjoyed by the faithful. This is the “why.”
If I had to choose a verse I want to be my life’s anthem, this would be it. I want to grow in resilience and strength. I want to be rooted in my faith, and ever-growing into who God has created me to be.
2. Release Expectations
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12)
As women, we often live with many self-imposed expectations. It is why I became resentful and frustrated when my attempts to wake up early and spend some quiet time with the Lord were interrupted. Nowhere in the Bible does it list rules or guidelines on how a quiet time should look. No one made that expectation for me, especially God, the one I’m trying to draw closer to in the first place. I did that to myself.
I wish I could tell you that on the mornings I was interrupted I stopped, prayed, and readjusted, inviting the child who had woken to sit on the couch with me as I continued with my morning or used it as an opportunity to read my Bible in front of them, but I didn’t. I usually closed my bible and decided I would try later. The problem with that outlook is that “later” doesn’t usually happen for busy moms. When we create unrealistic expectations we are striving for a form of perfection, and there isn’t room to flourish where perfection exists.
To flourish is to grow. Perfection needs no growth.
What kind of expectations may you be putting on yourself when it comes to spiritual growth? Expectations can also look like comparing yourself to someone else’s growth, or guilt over sins you continue to struggle with. Remember there is grace.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
3. Meet Him in the Mundane
“A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:7-10)
I find it beautiful that Jesus meets the woman of Samaria in the middle of one of her normal, tedious tasks. Not only does he choose to meet her in the mundane, but it is where He chooses to tell her He is the water she has been looking for. She didn’t miss this moment. She stopped, offered him water, and had a conversation with him.
I’m often so busy throughout my day that if I’m running errands, I barely even stop to talk to the cashier when checking out. I am always thinking of the next thing on my to-do list. I wonder, what would happen if I slowed down, not just physically but soulfully.
A peaceful quiet time in the morning is nice, but sometimes when we check that box off in the morning we forget to go throughout our day seeking to meet God right where we are. I know I am guilty of this. I end up discounting how God can and does meet us in the middle of the most mundane tasks.
When life feels hectic, and your to-do list awaits, look for intentional opportunities to meet him right where you are. It could look like a prayer over the sink doing dishes. Meditating on a verse while folding another load of laundry. Listening to a faith-based podcast while cleaning the toilet. Or worshipping in the carpool line at school.
4. Get in Community
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Sometimes being in a community with other believers can feel like one more thing to fit in your schedule when life is already hectic. But the truth is having a community is a game-changer.
Do you have people you do life with? Do you have friends you can reach out to when you need prayer? Do you have a group of women you can talk about the bible with? Do you have people in your life who hold you accountable? This is such an important piece of the puzzle.
A Prayer for Spiritual Flourishing
We need you. We want to spend more time with you, yet our days tend to get away from us. We often feel overwhelmed with all we have on our plates. Help us remember we aren’t alone, even in the most mundane of tasks. May we use everyday moments as invitations to meet with you. May we listen well, seek your will. May we continue to grow as believers and in our relationship with you.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/digitalskillet
Sarah Nichols is a writer who loves to encourage women by sharing hope-filled stories that point others to Jesus. She lives in Tucson, AZ with her high school sweetheart and their four kids. You can find more from Sarah at her blog http://
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