For the longest time I was busy. Too busy to finish the things that I started. My desk is chronically covered with papers, notes, receipts, magazine clippings, coupons, to-dos, mail, and other things for me to “get around to.” So in the middle of working through whatever task I’m involved in, there’s nothing like a child to come and disrupt your train of thought with such pressing matters as:
“Mommy, my doll’s car door broke and I can’t get it back on.”
“Can you help me put on my doll’s new dress?”
“Can I go to ____________’s house? PLEEEEEEASE?
“LOOK! LOOK! Hurry, you gotta see this _________ on TV quick! I want it!”
What my daughter feels she needs at moments like these is my undivided attention. What I feel I need at these moments is uninterrupted quiet time to read or concentrate on what I’m doing (yeah right!). But which is more important? The things she wants to tell me or show me are important to her, and the task I’m attending to is important to me.
Something I recently learned and internalized is how to balance rules with relationship. Once I started being a little more patient, learning to stop what I’m doing (even if just briefly) at a good stopping point where I can later continue where I left off, to give her more time. It’s usually not much to me, but it means a lot to her. Once I started giving her more attention, even if it’s just for a hug or a high-five, I noticed that she has been acting out less. There’s been less talking back, less disobedience, and no tantrums to speak of! No child is a perfect angel, but I when I stopped treating her requests like inconvenient chores (which some of them still are, but I act differently now), I stopped having to correct or discipline her as much.
Now what does any of this have to do with religion? I’m getting there.
Lots of people don’t care for organized religion of any kind, while some identify with or float between one or two types of religious denominations. I’m not a scholar of history, but from what I do understand, the man-made elements of religion are widely subject to interpretation. But I don’t think religion itself is either the culprit of spiritual crises, nor the be-all end-all to life. I strongly affiliate with the Baptist religion now as I have all my life, but I know there are some things about it that should be different, so I don’t go around putting down other beliefs. I don’t think there are denominations or any other separating factors in heaven. As far as I’m concerned if you make it to up heaven, you’re in, and who will care about denominations then? But while we’re down here on earth, I think a relationship with God is the key.
Similar to my daughter and I, if I believe in God, I love Him, and therefore want to be obedient to Him, my relationship with Him will reflect that. And if I have a relationship with Him, I can hear His voice. I won’t have to consult six different people about a situation and get six different, often opposing opinions (and I am definitely guilty of doing this). If I can’t seem to find the answers I need in the Bible for the situation, I will rely on my relationship with God to help me discern what I should do. If you can’t find the answer to your problem in the Word, I suggest going to God in prayer FIRST, and remember that whatever answer He gives you will not contradict His Word. Don’t add confusion to your situation by listening to advice from people that violates the Word. Maintain your relationship with God and you will be able to discern the truth.
Now let’s say I go to church every week, read my daily devotionals during my quiet time, and tithe. Am I good? Is that enough? It depends on my motivation for doing those things. Speaking only for myself, I need, yes NEED, to read, study, and hear God’s Word regularly or else I am a vessel running on Empty. My mood and my attitude slowly but surely decline, and it’s not pretty folks.
Sometimes people want to quote Scripture in certain situations, but in other situations where their mind is made up, they don’t want you or anyone else to tell them or remind them of what the Word says. Here’s a newsflash: the Bible is not a buffet where you take the stuff you like and leave the rest. It is what it is. Follow it or don’t. Sometimes scripture is taken out of the context from which it came, and that’s where regular study, not just reading, of the Word is key.
Proverbs 3:5,6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.