I am a mom. I have three beautiful, active and awesome kids. There are 7-8 years difference between the older two and my youngest. Between all the activities and a part time job, I am often in the middle of what feels like insane multi-tasking. I admit, my 3 year old has developed a bad habit of yelling to get my attention. We are working on fixing it, but it gets tricky in moments where 3+ people are attempting a conversation with me. I know many of you can relate. Not to mention the “background” noise of life, dinner cooking or focusing on driving and remembering which activity or store or... where are we supposed to be going? Who asked me a question first?
Recently I found myself desperately craving quiet. When I was finally able to find the time, it was night. Everyone was in bed. It was later than I wanted, but I decided not to dwell on that. I kept the house dark and sat by the window, looking out at the trees or up at the stars speckled across the sky. My headache started to fade and as I opened my heart to the Lord in meditative prayer, I pondered how to let God lead me through my days. How can I assure that I'm not forcing my own path, rather than walking the path laid out for me? Allowing God to intervene in our lives can be a deep and profound experience; it can feel like a daunting, never ending task. It can also be simple. How can I bring this quiet space into my day more frequently? This is where my doors open to God’s knocking.
There is a pattern or a web that links each small choice and behavior, bringing us either closer to God or farther away. Reminding myself that closer to God may not always mean easier, I choose to search that out. He has proven to me over and over again that the most important things that open up space in my life to hear Him, to allow room for Him in my daily life, are the small choices I make daily. They are the moments in which I choose to be present and connected. They often only need to last a matter of seconds to have an impact.
Embracing the few moments of quiet before I hit a wall of exhaustion and moved to bed, I reminded myself of three simple and practical, daily choices that bring me closer to God. Here is my list:
Breathe: We breath “good enough” to stay alive, but intentional breathing can give us that pause we need to reconnect. It can also center our soul a bit to be able to hear the Lord in all the chaos.
“By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host”. Psalm 33:6-7
Breathing connects us to our existence, and is proven in the world to reduce anxiety, relieve stress, increase energy levels and even help with weight loss. More energy and less anxiety is likely to lead to more prayer time, less chaos, more mental clarity and more space for God in my life overall.
Fast: Fasting is found often in the bible as a way to draw closer to God. I have applied this to my life in many ways, less clothes, less stuff, etc… but the most tangibe is usually to simplify the diet. Avoid foods that make us feel really full, sleepy or foggy. When I wake up, I try to first breath, pray & drink water rather than desperately scramble for coffee. I have found this leads to better food choices and my intention when consuming food and liquid is more wholesome. I have also found it works better for me to eat smaller amounts or spread out meals regularly rather than make a big event about fasting. I may spend the morning drinking water, noticing the clarity and lightness it brings, then wait until 1pm to eat something nutritious, natural, “straight from God” and say prayers of thanks as I eat slowly. I don’t count the hours, but rather try to listen to what is right and always pray for guidance, even about the small things. Setting a number of hours or days and filling myself with anxiety as I restrict my consumption just leads to a misguided focus. Fasting is meant to bring us closer to God, so that He is the focus.
“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3-5
Drink water: We know that water is essential, so there is little explanation in this one. Water keeps us healthy, refreshes us, cleans us. Water is a source of life; therefore I do not want to take it for granted and have developed a habit of feeling immense gratitude when I drink water. Since we should be drinking water often throughout the day, this is an opportunity to be present in this gratitude and have a clear, wholesome moment with God. We can make it a moment of prayer where we imagine our hearts opening and creating space for God to speak to us.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
The common thread in applying these practical activities to our daily lives, is that the intention brings us fully aware of the present moment. Being present and aware is the place where God is waiting for us. He is not screaming like my 3 year old, but when we stop to listen, or just be in His presence, we are grateful for the interruption.
All in a moment, I notice where I am, what else is in existence around me. I always find something to smile about. God is always there. I don’t think about the past or plan for the future. I often forget what my to-do list is for the day. It only takes a moment or two to be beneficial and I am always brought back to my spinning mind and crazy life feeling more capable, clear, confident and relaxed.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
About the Author
Leona is a wife, mother and traveler who is intrigued by how different people live. Her latest project is exploring ways that different walks of life can simplify, in order to live a fulfilling journey.