You’ve done it. Lord knows I’ve done it. We have a quiet time filled with thoughtful reflection, insight, and hymns that cause our hands to reach heavenward, and then…
… we walk back into our regularly-scheduled life and the wheels fall off the bus. The kids make us mad. We can’t believe coffee takes so long to brew. And why can’t anyone else put the dishes away?
What’s a try-hard girl to do when she has an incredible quiet time and then acts totally unlike Jesus?
We have two beliefs about our quiet time, hidden below the surface, that impact how we live out our faith. We believe that:
1. Our quiet time will “last” all day.
It’s easy to think that once we’ve started our day with Christ that we’ve got the rest of the day covered. We don’t consciously think this of course; it’s only after we’ve blown up or gotten jealous or been rude, that we say to ourselves, “You talked to God this morning, why in the world did you do that?!?!?!”
2. Our quiet time will create parenting success, and if it doesn’t we’re the worst mom ever.
It’s easy to think that yelling at our kids after quality time with God nullifies our calling as moms. We whisper to our hearts, “You just talked to Jesus and now you’re screaming at your kids. What’s wrong with you?!??!? Worst mom ever.”
But what if we thought of our quiet times not as inoculation against sin or a method to guarantee parenting success, but as something else entirely?
Let’s shift our mindset about our quiet time and motherhood so we see them as a way to work out our faith in real-time.
Here’s what happens in my real life as a mom: I have my quiet time so now I’m “good.” Then I turn around and yell at my kids. I start to wonder what happened, Didn’t I just spend quality time with Jesus?
Our quiet time comes first, sin comes second, and then it dawns on me: We need Jesus every day, every hour, and every minute.
Time alone with God doesn’t make us impervious to sin and temptation for the next 24 hours. Our quiet time is simply our chance to align ourselves with the plumb line of Christ. It’s a time to adopt a humble heart posture. It’s how we hear truth and receive grace. Nothing more and nothing less.
It’s after our quiet time that the battle begins.
God chooses to refine us by surrounding us with imperfect people after we’ve spent time with Him. It’s after our quiet time that we’re surrounded by kids who argue with us and whine about what we provide.
We easily believe that God’s in control when there’s no chaos swirling around us. We agree that we’re to be patient, loving, kind, and gentle when there’s no one pushing our buttons. It’s when chaos overwhelms and people drive us crazy that we get to choose between our fleshly default and Christ-honoring obedience.
Only after we’ve stepped out of that quiet togetherness with our Savior, does our faith get tested. Our test is one question: Will we give into the flesh or will we ask our heavenly Father for help?
Our heavenly Father is so good to give us what we need when we need it.
That’s why a quiet time doesn’t keep us from yelling at our kids minutes after we’ve closed our Bibles. God gives us the grace, patience, mercy, and discernment we need in the exact moment we need it.
He gives us a steady supply of everything we need but only in the right-here, right-now.
In God’s kingdom, there’s no such thing as future grace. The grace He gives us in our quiet time isn’t supposed to last us all day. The grace He supplies is to be poured out at the exact time our people need it.
You’ve done it. I’ve done it too.
We’ve all had an incredible quiet time and then sputtered and failed and sinned right after it. It happens, and it doesn’t make us the worst mom ever.
What it does make us is mamas who need Jesus every minute. Yelling at our kids post-quiet time just reinforces how much we are to be tethered to Christ at all times.
No matter how simple, routine, or monotonous our days may be as moms, we are imperfect people who are in desperate need of divine grace. Will you accept the continuous grace that God has for you today?
Sweet try-hard friend, I want you to remember and really know that God is with you, that He is for you, and that He’ll supply everything you need, whenever you need it, according to His glorious riches.
So mama, go ahead and have that quiet time. Hopefully you won’t get mad at your kids right after. But if you do, God is always available. Call out to Him as often as you need Him.
A version of this piece originally appeared at jillemccormick.com, published with permission.