Music has been my Lenten devotions this year. Yes, it is Lent, but you wouldn’t really know it by looking at my life (other than going to Lenten services on Wednesdays rather than prayer meetings). When I have a moment to think about that, it makes me a little sad. But, I don’t have too many moments to dwell on it.
I’m in the thick of many things right now. Working with middle schoolers, writing, holistic scoring. Those are what I get paid to do. Keeping up with the laundry, cleaning, cooking (my part of it anyway), driving the kids to activities, feeding everyone, shopping, paying the bills. Those are what I need to do to keep the household running. Spending time with the kids and my husband, the occasional date night, teaching Sunday School, Women’s Ministry activities, Book Club, being a friend, blogging. Those are what I need to do for me and the ones I love.
I wonder sometimes how my life got so very full that I alternate between feeling completely blessed and completely overwhelmed. So full that I sometimes just want to run away, but other times full of joy that I get to do all these things. It’s not a boring time, that much I can say.
And it’s easy to think that God can get a little lost in all that fullness. I have to confess, I don’t get up and have devotions every morning. Sometimes, if I wake up early, I pray. Many mornings, I stumble out of bed and get right to making breakfast (high school starts early!) and packing lunches and finding uniforms. There are days when I don’t stop from the time I get up in the morning until well after dark. Where is God in a day full of work and family and maybe, if I’m lucky, a 20 minute nap? Am I all that devoted to God?
In thinking about this (and feeling guilty), I have realized something. An undercurrent of God runs through my life even when He isn’t the very first thing on my mind. Over the years of feeding and nurturing and growing my faith, God has permeated everything. He has done that because I have invited, asked, begged Him to do just that.
When I get up in the morning, He is there. I think of Him as I unload the dishwasher, check the weather, pour the cereal. I may not think of Him every moment, but my thoughts of Him are many: reminders to be kind, conviction when I fail, that still small voice reminding me to make good choices on how to spend my time, letting me know when one of my kids needs to talk, nudging me to rest or to work or to take a minute to just be.
As far as I can discern, He’s not miffed at me for not doing devotions every morning. Maybe that is something you need to hear. I believe that God accepts us where we are. Just read the gospels. Jesus didn’t tell Zaccheus, “Well, when you stop collecting taxes, then we can have dinner at your house.” He didn’t tell the woman caught in adultery, “Come see me when you are all cleansed and purified and you’re never going to commit adultery again.” He accepted them right where they were (while also encouraging them to go and sin no more, but that’s a different post topic).
I believe that we can let the guilt over where we are spiritually go. Just let it go! God accepts you where you are! Furthermore, I believe that often, the guilt we feel about how we think we’ve failed God drives us away from him in shame. Let’s agree not to avoid God because of shame. Jesus has taken care of all that precisely because God doesn’t want our shame to come between us and Him.
The truth of the matter is, I am devoted to God, and you probably are too. There is no particular way we have to express that, like doing daily devotions or spending a certain amount of time every day praying. I do practice my faith. I teach Bible class every day at school. I go to prayer meeting at church. I prepare for and teach Sunday School. I participate in Women’s Ministry and help coordinate it. I worship every week unless I’m sick.
And I’m not boasting about any of this. I don’t do these things to prove anything or relieve my guilt. These are things I want to do, ways I have identified that help me reach out to God and live in community with Him and other believers. These and many other smaller things–talking to my kids about God and faith in Jesus, posting stuff on Facebook and Twitter, reading Christian books, having a thankful moment, and singing praise songs at the top of my lungs in the car–are the expressions of my faith. They are imperfect, often lacking, but I believe God accepts them for what they are, while softly encouraging me to come a little closer to Him.
What are the expressions of your faith? Do you feel like you are not focused on God enough? Does guilt motivate your actions? Please comment! It’s lonely when nobody comments.