I feel and perform at my best if I eat a balanced 300-400 calorie breakfast. But sometimes, I just want toast.
My problem: when I give in and just eat toast, I wind up feeling snacky ALL DAY LONG. My body is not as satisfied and I wind up being a little distracted and a little “off” all day. Missing that nutrition in the morning makes the rest of my day a little harder. So most mornings, you’ll find me eating a bowl of oatmeal, adding some eggs to my toast, or eating some yogurt, whether I “want” to or not.
Likewise, some days I wake up very eager to connect with God and I make my quiet time happen. Other days (like most days this week) I wake up and do other things. I think, maybe I’ll get to it, or I don’t want to do it right now, or I’m too tired that I can barely process words or I have other things to do or Zoe needs me. And so I eat toast instead of oatmeal, and all day I’m just a little “off” as a result. My reactions to people are more “me” focused. My emotions feel all over the place. My heart isn’t as sensitive to the Spirit. I’m not grounded in what I want to be grounded in, because I didn’t feel like nourishment that morning.
Someone else who didn’t feel like nourishment
95% of the time, skipping my quiet time comes from a good place. I think, I don’t want to bring God obligation or duty. I want to bring Him a joyful and willing heart. “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for you” and so on (stupid Psalmist and your ridiculous standards…my mornings are more like “as the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for coffee. Seriously, WHERE IS THE COFFEE?”)
But you know what I’m realizing through parenting? That obligation and duty still show love.
There are times when I just do not want to soothe my daughter through whatever “crisis” she is experiencing (e.g. The Great Mom Put Me Down So She Can Go to the Bathroom Crisis of 2013 for the 270th time) and would rather meet my own needs or desires…but I put my own feelings aside and meet her needs anyway and try my hardest to smile while I do it. Other times, there’s nothing I’d rather do than give her everything she needs and wants. I joyfully and willingly sacrifice for her and it makes me happy.
Both times, I act out of a desire for my daughter to feel like she is loved and secure, that the world is a safe place, that when she hurts someone sees and feels her pain and will try their hardest to make it better.
And today, God showed me that both times, I act out of love. A disciplined act of love is still an act of love.
If our intent is love and we wholeheartedly offer up our deficit, He can make up the difference.
While I would like to wake up every morning ready to pour my love into God, He doesn’t need that to feel good about Himself. He’s totally big enough to handle my duty and obligation. He’s totally big enough to handle me ignoring Him, too…but that leaves ME not at my best all day. A deer that isn’t panting for water can still drink.
Today, God gave me the ok to bring him my obligation sometimes. Not in a legalistic way, like “check off that quiet time task or you suck at life,” but in a way that says, “if your mind or body isn’t 100% there but your heart craves me, feel free to seek me anyway. I totally get it and I’ll meet you there and refresh you.”
I’m curious–do you ever struggle with this in your own faith journey?