After a week or so of the kids being out of school, I think I have reached my limit of dealing with noise and chaos. I literally spent most of yesterday afternoon locked in my room hiding. And here we are, at 7:30am on a Monday morning with nowhere to be and we’ve been up since 6am. So far today I have listened to a piano performance by Hudson (who really has a thing for the out-of-tune bass notes), several arguments, and a lengthy concert by a singing Spiderman toy.
I love my kids. Adore them.
I don’t love noise. It kind of makes me mean.
Newsflash: When I am mean I am not really acting like Jesus.
What did He do when it just got to be too much? When the people were clamoring for His attention and wouldn’t let him have a minute to Himself?
He got away by Himself to pray.
He didn’t roll His eyes and strike a martyr’s pose and keep on trying to meet needs and chat with folks.
He didn’t just run real quick to the side and yell, “Give me a minute! I’ll be right back!”
He left. Alone. And went somewhere quiet to talk to His Father.
“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Luke 5:16
He withdrew to the wilderness, people. That is not the same as the back yard, though at my house the back yard sometimes resembles the wilderness. The point is, He Got Away. Alone.
There are other examples of Jesus getting away from the noise, at all times of the day, not just His “quiet time” early in the morning.
“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” Mark 1:35
“After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.” Matthew 14:23
So, if Jesus needed alone time, why do we Mommies beat ourselves up when we do? Why do we keep trying to give of ourselves to these little (or big) people who consume us without taking time to let our Father re-energize us?
I think He knew we would miss this… That we wouldn’t necessarily notice the example He was setting for us. So He went one step further– In His very first public sermon, He specifically told us what to do:
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God and you will begin to sense his grace.” Matthew 6:6 (MSG)
What does that look like for you and me? Obviously we can’t leave our children unsupervised and take a hike on Green Mountain with God while they watch Spongebob back at home. Let’s break it down:
1. “a quiet and secluded place”- a long, hot shower; your bedroom, your closet (works in times of desperation), a quick walk (if hubby is home), or ANYWHERE you won’t be disturbed. (bathroom? haha)
2. “be there simply and honestly”- Tell God your frustration… Even if you suspect your own attitude is stinky. He can handle it. Pastor Rick Warren says this:
“Here’s the thing – You are not waiting on God, he’s waiting on you. God wants to meet with you. He wants you to know him as well as he knows you. If you don’t understand this, you are rarely going to go to God for guidance. There is nothing in your life that God is not interested in.”
3. “the focus will shift”- Isn’t that exactly what we need? For our focus to shift from ourselves, our weakness, our exhaustion, to Him, His strength, His energy, and His power in us?
4. “you will begin to sense his grace”- I don’t know about you, but the first thing that happens when I pour out my heart to God, honestly and without holding back, is a sense of calm. Peace. I feel Him soothe my frazzled nerves in much the same way I might soothe my daughter if she came to me in distress. Because I am His daughter. And He longs to smooth my hair back from my red face and speak to me in soft and loving tones until I remember that I am not alone or without help. That I can come to Him with anything, anytime. And that He will always be there, waiting to help.
I sat down to write this because today, right now, I needed to remember. That I am not alone, that these sweet days that are also hard days matter to God, and He wants to help me. I needed to remember what to do when it just gets to be too much.
If your day- or your life- is just too much, He is there. He is waiting. Get away.