“If you don’t have time to spend in Bible study every day then your priorities are wrong.”
It hurts me to type that sentence. Because it is embarrassing to me that I have said it many times to people who didn’t need to be admonished, they needed to be heard and encouraged.
About two or three years ago, the Lord began showing me the depth of my pride and self-righteousness in the area of daily Bible study. I used to judge people who said they just didn’t have time to spend a lot of time reading their Bibles every day. I thought if they had time to watch TV, they had time to read. I thought they were lazy and not as devoted to the Lord as I was. I believed I was better than them. And I said things that made that clear.
I was arrogant and self-righteous. I was wrong.
If I could go back about ten years, I’d handle all of that so much differently! Instead of looking at moms of newborns and toddlers and offering my “wisdom” about how to spend time reading your Bible during that season, I would give hugs and offer to keep their babies so they could take a nap.
Instead of judging the moms who were always at the ball fields and never joined the latest Beth Moore study at our church, I would have asked when their kids’ next games were and made the effort to cheer on the next Adam Wainwright (who plays for the St. Louis Cardinals and graduated high school in Brunswick, GA, where we used to live).
Instead of spouting out platitudes, I would have extended grace and spoken words of affirmation.
I doubt my words and attitude caused one person to draw closer to God. I imagine my words did not result in a rush to spend hours a day in Bible study. Instead, I bet I caused a lot of unnecessary guilt and hurt and self-doubt.
Part of having the opportunity to speak into the lives of others is the responsibility to do so with sincere understanding that each person’s situation is different.
I know women who say, “I really want to spend more time in the Word. I just don’t have time.”
My response ten years ago would have been, “Well, you just need to readjust your schedule. We make time for what is important.”
My response today is, “It is hard, isn’t it? I struggle also to do the things I want to do. Some days it just feels like everything is conspiring against me. I do what I can and trust that God is sovereign and that He knows the heart of this weary mom.”
Sometimes, we don’t have time. And it’s not about over-scheduling or mismanaging the time we have. The reality is kids get sick. We get sick. Husbands lose jobs. Family situations interfere. That doesn’t mean the dreams and goals are unimportant. It simply means that they are put aside to deal with the reality of life’s changing seasons.
I intended to publish a book in April. I started talking about it and sharing quotes in March. But we had a very difficult situation arise in our extended family and making time to write simply fell down the list of priorities. It needed to. The lives of people we love were radically changed and our attention rightly belonged to those circumstances. Did that mean writing wasn’t important to me? Not at all. My longing to write was there. But the emotional energy and time needed to devote to it simply were not. That was the reality.
Thankfully I had people in my life who were encouragers. They didn’t tell me that I needed to finish the book. They didn’t question my desire to be a writer. They didn’t imply my priorities were incorrect. They simply walked with me as I travelled a rocky path. And now, as the book is finally nearing publication, they are celebrating with me. And somehow this book means more to me because I had to set it aside to live the season we were in. It wasn’t my first choice. But it was the necessary choice.
Why am I writing all of this? Because I want you to know that this is a safe place. That you can have dreams that you haven’t started pursuing because you are taking care of babies and loving your family. That I don’t believe for one minute that if you are not doing what I do there is something wrong with you.
There is something sacred in living right here, right now. Looking around and cherishing the moments today without longing for what might come tomorrow.
Yes, I want to encourage you to read your Bible and I try to offer suggestions for finding the time to do it … but if you haven’t slept in two weeks because you’ve been taking care of your sick parents or if you are still waiting for that glorious day when you don’t have to buy diapers, know this—there is grace here. No demands and expectations. Just a girl who is thankful you stop by and share a few moments of your crazy life with me.
You are dearly loved by the Giver of all grace! And you are enough!