My birthday was this month. My husband took me to a new restaurant that everyone had been talking about. He called a month in advance and asked for the most romantic seat in the place, what a guy! We arrived and apparently table 53 is the spot! The food was decadent, the restaurant was elegant yet contemporary, and the service was great! It was a special! What do you think would have been the outcome though if on that same night my husband instead took me to a gas station? With the smell of gasoline wafting through the air, the florescent lights glaring in my eyes, and the sound of the rickety hotdog rotator squeaking in the background, he said “Amy, pick anything you’d like to eat, tonight is all about you… happy birthday!”. Hopefully, the dumbfounded look on my face would have told him “get me to table 53, pronto.”
Just like atmosphere matters for a special date night, so it does with our time with the Lord. I am a self proclaimed perfectionist. In some areas this causes me to fall into the trap of legalism. My devotions with the Lord can simply turn into a chore that I do to avoid guilt, rather than a privilege. There can be days that if you were to ask me did I spend time with Jesus, I would say yes. Bible – check. Prayer – check. But if you were to ask Jesus the same question, His answer might differ. We must be mindful that the precious time we get to spend with our Savior is not sandwiched in between emptying the dishwasher, running through our mental checklist, and feeding the kids. So what do we do? I believe we create an atmosphere.
Let’s be honest, a successful quiet time is not always easy nor always convenient. We are moms. Every day has the potential of being unique. Our families, schedules, tasks and lives all look different. With that being said, God isn’t interested in a cookie cutter quality time. He also is not expecting perfection. He is looking for genuine effort and intentionality as we develop an intimate, meaningful time with Him. It takes forethought and preparation, but it is so worth it!
Let me tell you what I am not saying. I am not saying if you light a candle before you read your Bible, your spiritual life will bloom. I do believe, though, that creating an environment that is enjoyable, relaxing and free from outside distractions will create an atmosphere where you are more available to hear God’s voice and soak in His Word. It is in these moments we gain real faith, Biblical knowledge, strength of character and a joy filled hope. It is in these moments that our praise and thankfulness rise, our worries diminish and our needs are brought before the Throne of the Miracle Worker. It is in these moments that we fight our battles.
Here are some suggestions to help create an atmosphere.
- Have a spot. I think it’s safe to say that in the middle of the kitchen with the tv on, 3 kids running around, the pasta water boiling over and the dog begging at the back door is not an ideal spot to start digging into God’s Word. Find a spot where you can go everyday to relax, be alone and be free. (This may be 5:30 in the morning, after you drop the kids off at school, or nap time, etc.)
- Make it something to look forward to. Turn on some worship music, curl up in a blanket, get a cup of coffee, light a candle and ask the Holy Spirit to anoint your time as you study, pray and grow.
- Get rid of distractions. Put your ever present sidekick (your phone) in the other room, turn off the tv and don’t think about the Swiss Alps of laundry on your bed. Multitask with dinner and chores, but not with God.
- Finally, pray and ask the Holy Spirit for a hunger of His presence and a desire to spend time in His Word.
For me, the days that I have quickly grabbed my Bible, read a chapter, prayed a thoughtless prayer and moved on with the day so that I could feel good about myself were drastically different than the days when I created an atmosphere of praise and worship. God has so much for us, we have only scratched the surface. In the world we are living and raising our children in, we need more and more of Jesus. Create an atmosphere where the Lord can saturate you in His presence.
“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
This is where we fight our battles!
Amy is married to Jared Wootton. They have two precious little ladies, Gable Claire and Layla. Jared is a talented chiropractor in Cordova TN, and Amy stays home with the girls. Together, they are a part of the worship team at their local church. Amy absolutely loves to teach the Word of God with simplicity and conviction. As a mom, she is serious about pouring the Truth into her children, and also throwing some manners in there as well. Amy’s desire is that her children will follow after the Lord wholeheartedly, and that God uses her to impact this world for His Kingdom!