Have you ever had a moment, hour, or day where you just felt so in tune with God? Perhaps it was overwhelming peace, inexplicable understanding, clear and specific direction, or something else that really met you where you were at. I’ve found those fleeting moments to be so inspiring and wonderful. They feel so personal—like a one-on-one conversation with the Holy Spirit. I’m in a season where those moments aren’t as rare as in other seasons, and it’s awesome! Maybe it’s because I’m being a better listener, or maybe it’s simply because God is moving and I happen to be the right pawn for certain jobs. Perhaps a bit of both.
This morning I was thinking about how I definitely feel like I’m in the middle of God’s will for my life, but yet not every day is filled with great revelation. Not every day do I feel specific direction on what I’m supposed to do or how things are supposed to work out. In fact, most days I don’t. Most days are just…boring…from a spiritual perspective. It isn’t for lack of prayer or desire to hear from God, and I certainly don’t feel abandoned or anything, but there is a sense of disappointment or letdown to go from one spirit-filled day into a kind of normally mundane day. Like telling the kids on a Sunday in February “hey we are planning an exciting beach trip this summer!”, but then Monday morning comes and they have to go to school and it’s still winter.
Hopefully God doesn’t take offense to some of my conversations with Him like the one I had this morning. Essentially it was, God, what’s up with all these “other days” where I don’t really feel like I hear from you in a specific way? Why can’t every day be a day for floating around on a cloud of revelation and super-peace? I kind of prefer those days…
And the Lord, in His infinite patience and wisdom, brought to my mind something else in my life going on right now… Bear with me because it’s going to feel like a long random tangent:
We recently did a bedroom swap at home to make way for Baby #4. Boys #2 and 3 are now occupying what was formerly the playroom and Boy #1 has his own bedroom for the first time ever. The room that was previously the nursery is now ready to be a nursery again.
The boys have really enjoyed the changes and new roommate situations, but as with any change, new challenges have arisen as well. It doesn’t really help that the room changes coincided perfectly (in a bad way) with #3 becoming an independent bathroom goer and also no longer sleeping in a cage. I mean crib. So he has newfound freedoms, a new bedroom, a roommate for the first time, and the self-control of someone who just turned 3.
All of those milestones are tricky to navigate on their own, but they all came at the same time. Which also happens to be a time where my husband is deployed and I entered into 3rd trimester of pregnancy (with the subsequent exhaustion). Oh, and daylight savings too. That is relevant, I promise.
This is not a complaint or pity party for myself, rather I am painting the rather comical backdrop for what bedtime looks like at our house during this season.
A 3 year old and a 7 year old walk into a room... If it sounds like I’m at the beginning of a joke it’s because I am. But only the 3 and 7 year olds are laughing. For starters, they don’t actually walk anywhere. None of my boys do. They storm into a room. Any room. Their presence immediately known and felt, even when they are trying to be sneaky. But hey, first accomplishment of bedtime is to get them to their rooms—so far so good. We’ll skip over teeth-brushing and bathing because I usually make sure that happens well in advance, in anticipation of tired resistance.
I put some lavender oil on their chests, hoping that it will miraculously tranquilize instead of just inspire tranquility. We read a couple books, then they are supposed to get into their beds for song time. Usually one or both of them insist on going potty. At the same time. Despite going just moments ago. Deep sighing from me, and then they take turns picking songs for me to sing.
I primarily sing hymns at bedtime, because those are the requests. The precious and timeless lyrics are interspersed with other comments. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face STOP KICKING THE WALL and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace… I’m not sure if the hymns are more pertinent for me or them…
After at least 6 songs (#2 keeps count in an OCD way and he will be sure to tell me if I try to wrap up early), I say my final goodnights (which include plenty of instructions and reminders) and put on the audio Bible for them to listen to. They are alternating between Psalm and Matthew right now. At this point they are yawning and pretty chill, but I know that could change in an instant. And unfortunately, there is still daylight seeping through their blinds because of the time change and the fact that I haven’t had the energy to install blackout curtains in their new room yet. Darkness inspires sleep better than the promises and potentials of daylight.
While all this has been going on, #1 has been (in theory) getting himself ready for bed and I will hopefully enter his room to see him quietly reading in his beanbag chair. This is not always the case, but it is a more likely scenario than the other two boys just drifting peacefully off to sleep… Before I sit with #1 I grab the handy dandy baby monitor. It’s a camera one, and I have a camera set up in the other bedroom. It’s not that I don’t trust them, it’s just that I definitely don’t trust them.
So I sit with #1, but watch and listen to the other 2 to see if they will stay on track. Inevitably there will be at least 3 more potty breaks between the 2 of them. At least. And oftentimes 1 or both of them will come into #1’s bedroom just because they want to see us. Sometimes I see #2 get down from his bunk and go talk to #3. Sometimes they get silly. Sometimes they start throwing things at each other (usually stuffed animals). But I watch and I wait for a while before I go intervene. I give them a chance to get themselves back on track—to prove themselves. Frequently I do have to go back into their room and remind them of the rules. But some nights I don’t.
I could make things easier for myself and just stay in the room each night until they fall asleep. But that’s a short-term solution and doesn’t set them up for success later. I want them to develop discipline and self-control when I’m not there to hover over them. I want them to practice doing the right thing even when there isn’t an adult standing two feet from them. I want them to become trustworthy, and no trust is true unless it’s been tested.
And here’s where I circle back to my original questions from this morning—why do there have to be boring spiritual days? Why can’t I just have a constant stream of insight being downloaded into my heart? Why do only some days come with vivid instructions? I’m sure there are multiple approaches to answer these questions, but as surely as God is our Heavenly Father, the parenting aspect of our relationship is definitely one of them. Just as I want my boys to develop certain disciplines, God has called me to develop some of my own. This includes following His instructions even on those “boring” days when I don’t feel His overwhelming presence. It doesn’t mean He isn’t watching or listening ready to intervene at a moment’s notice, but He wants to test how I will respond when I don’t feel Him so closely hovering.
Will I remember His instructions after they are given to me and the conversation is over? Will I be obedient and faithful when it feels like I’m left on my own to get things done? Will I prove myself trustworthy with what He’s called me to do?
Like my boys know, it’s so much easier to be inspired to obedience when an authority figure is looming. But I am considerably more proud of them when they do the right thing and I’m not right there to dictate their every move. With each stage of maturity I can trust them with bigger and better things, and ultimately I want God to be able to trust me with tasks of increasing importance too. So I guess I should be thankful for all these “other days” and see them as opportunities to exercise my discipline muscles. Besides, He has already given me all the instruction I need for today through the Bible.
“He has shown you, O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micah 6:8