The door had to open somehow: to be able to enter into God’s peace and rest, there was a door which had to be unlocked and opened before I could proceed into the refreshing presence of the Lord.
Jesus’ exchange on the cross opened that door for me: He died in my place, He became sin for me, so that I might receive His goodness as if it were my own; He bridged the gap between God and I, so that I could be blessed with God’s closeness perpetually. Jesus made it possible for me, and He made it possible for everybody: this gift, this incredible treasure, is available to all who would open their hands to receive it! Then why do we, as Christians, sometimes live life stressed out? The door is open, we have passed through to the other side — but have we gone in and sat down?
It has become increasingly clear to me that the biggest obstacle in my own life is that of non-belief. I pray, but I don’t actually expect God to answer. Or, I try to do things His way, but when it ends up being harder than I thought it would be, I doubt Him; I don’t trust Him to have my best interests at heart. For example, it isn’t easy being the mother of many children; I have moments when I feel I don’t have the capacity to manage six human beings’ lives, plus my own. It isn’t possible that God would give me these blessings, and then leave me to figure things out on my own . . . would He?
How do I deal with my children’s occasional (and sometimes not so occasional) disobedience, disrespect, fighting, arguing, messiness, carelessness, and sullenness? Certainly there are biblical tactics for managing those behaviors; but my concern for the moment is how do I myself navigate those daily situations: how do I manage my own emotions? If the peace and the rest of God are at my disposal because of Jesus, then how do I access it? This is not a mystical question, this is a practical question. How can I tap into God’s resources so that I don’t have to figure things out all on my own? Does God truly have my best at heart? Does He see how difficult this is? How messy and frustrating? This isn’t an exercise in futility, is it? If I say that I trust God to manage my life, to be our family Planner, then I must also acknowledge that He knew all that would result when He created these beautiful but humanly flawed individuals — and placed them in OUR family.
I must believe that He WILL answer my prayers for help. I must believe that He DOES knows what He is doing, and that it is for my good, for our good. I must trust that even though He knew how difficult things would be, He still went ahead with His plans because He also knew that He would be there with me every step of the way.
I believe that, so next time I feel like a breakdown is imminent, I will come before Him and seek His direction. I will sit at His feet and hear His voice. I will isolate however much time necessary from whatever hectic situation I am going through to just rest in His presence.
This may require excusing myself to another room for a break, and coming back after a time of prayer and calming down.
Or, it may not always require actually leaving the room, but simply pausing to take a deep breath and exhale a prayer. If I am sensitive to God’s voice, I will be able to hear His direction, which will help me know what to do next. Perhaps a change in scenery or activity: it may be that having everybody go outside will help smooth things out; maybe taking one or two children at a time to another room so I can teach them separately will help lessen the distractions. Whatever it is, there will be a solution to the problem.
This will absolutely require that I get back to a habit I’ve been recently neglecting of having daily “quiet time” while reading the Bible alone. I currently read a chapter every day with my children, taking turns reading verses. However, I’ve realized that I also need time alone with God, time to ponder deeply His truths in the quiet of my room. I’m going to figure out how to make that happen again.
The door has been unlocked for me by Jesus, and I have already walked through to the other side. Now, I will choose to sit down in God’s “living room” where God is waiting for me whenever I need Him, to offer me heavenly counsel, perfect wisdom, and soothing comfort. These are available to me if I will only make it a point to reach out for them.