What Fuels You?

Alone Time?

As a homeschooling mother of four, with no family locally, and my husband working long hours, I often have other mothers ask me (with a bewildered look) when I get “time for myself.” My response is always something simple along the lines of “Well, I don’t, and I’m ok with that.” I notice that especially non-Christian mothers find it hard to understand how I function without this. But what I have come to terms with is that my life is not about me–it was bought with a price by Christ, and my life is His. And my time to refuel is not “me time”, it’s “God time”. When I am struggling, it is Him I turn to for strength, not myself. 

I have thought about this increasingly of late, as even some family members have urged me it’s important to have time for “myself.” Apparently, this is imperative to continue to serve others well. However, I have not found anywhere in Scripture that indicates this is necessary to walk by the Spirit. In reality, I see the opposite: I see sacrifice and putting others first. And the only examples I recall of faithful believers pulling away to be on their own are for times of prayer. I am often reminded of Daniel (specifically from Daniel chapter 6), who amid an extremely busy schedule full of responsibilities, managed to consistently find time to pray a few times a day. His character was above reproach even when his enemies intently sought to find flaws in him to bring him down. He seemed to find the strength to serve God faithfully through all the adversaries he faced. I wonder, could prayer be the key here? After all, continuing his prayer time was even something he was willing to give his life for (death by lions might I add…).

Prayer Time 

Paul writes encouraging believers, in Colossians 4:2, to continue steadfastly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving. I consider this along with verses like 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, which say to pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks, further saying this is the will of God. Biblically, I recognize that thankfulness also is a key element in being faithful. When we focus on God with gratitude, and we desire to please Him, it lightens the burdens we carry in our life. Yes, motherhood is taxing mentally, emotionally, and physically, but our spirit is a new creation. Our born again spirit cannot sin according to John in 1 John 3:9. It is by walking in the Spirit and not by our flesh that we live in ways that honour God and–in our role as the temple of the Holy Spirit–do justice to Him. This is seen in chapter 5 of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Living as vessels of honour requires denying the flesh, crucifying it in fact, that we may live according to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 24).

When I am parenting, and challenges arise (and they do!), how do I react? By the Spirit, or by my flesh? The fruit of the Spirit is showing love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So, when my child makes the same mistake for the gazillionth time this week, do I react with patience and self-control, or do I lose my temper? Do I take the time to disciple and discipline them in God’s ways, or do I take the easy route and leave them to it, saving myself the battle/hassle? After all, fighting your flesh is difficult enough, let alone that of a stubborn 3-year-old! When the day has been demanding, am I miserable and stressed, or do I still have joy and peace? Does the Bible suggest that these traits are possible?? Yes, it does!

Time in the Word

Scripture, especially 1 John, helps us to know how to stay in fellowship with God. If we are to know God’s will in our lives and know His ways, we need to know His Word. We must prioritize Scripture, meditate on it, and value the wisdom it brings. If it’s difficult to sit down and read, get access to an audio Bible and have it going during the day. Find any way you can to get Scripture in your mind and heart, and if you are open to it, you will see change and spiritual growth in your life. 

By staying in prayer, keeping a heart of thankfulness, and prioritizing His Word and submitting to it, I can walk by the Spirit and continually fuel myself to serve God the way He intended. I, in turn, become a better mother. Do not the attributes in Galatians 5:22-23 describe the kind of mother you’d like to be or have? I face the challenges of motherhood knowing that God is for me and with me and that one day, my faithfulness will be rewarded. All the sacrifices I make now for my children, even those unseen, will one day amount to something worthy of eternal value when we are judged at the Bema for rewards (not for salvation!). Even in the little things, I do as though for the Lord, considering also the effects it has on my children and their futures. I hope that one day they will hear those words “well done good and faithful servant” like the servant in Matthew 25:23 (reflecting also on John 12:26, Galatians 6:9).

We can be sure we have eternal life through faith in Jesus; the next step is following Him. Seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), and not the things of this world. What are the eternal results of godly parenting choices now? Looking after yourself and having time to do the things you enjoy is not wrong but consider from where you are drawing your strength. Not all of us have the opportunities to have “me-time,” but don’t fret, because God is our dependable and sustainable source. Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will have its own worries” (Matthew 6:34). So as a woman of God, find the strength to do today faithfully, and find your strength in Christ, not yourself.

By Jacinta Patten

Jacinta Patten is a homeschooling mom of four living on a farm in New Zealand with her husband Zak, 3 cats, 2 dogs and a lot of cows! She loves anything creative and always has multiple projects on the go. She loves being in the forest, studying the Bible, organizing activities within the homeschool community, and learning new skills.

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