Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Workshop Experience

I went to a workshop at the convention that was supposed to be a panel discussion about how to balance family, school, and work without going crazy or getting bitter. One lady asked a question, in tears, and it was obvious that she was at the end of her rope: "I have four children from junior high down to age three and I teach at our Christian preschool. How do I find time for personal devotions?" Good question. But one of the panelists, a sweet lady who had already revealed that she had only had one child, grown, said somewhat aghast, "Oh, you have to make time. It's the most important thing you do in your day. [agreed so far--but the clincher is coming:] I get up at 6:00 every day and have my devotions until 6:45 and wouldn't let anything get in the way of that." You could see the poor mother just withering. Four kids to get up and ready and she just doesn't have that kind of time. She was still upset, and on my way out the door after the workshop I leaned over to her and said "Sometimes you might get five minutes and a prayer to the Lord for strength. If that's the case, it's OK. Do what you can." I just had to say something to give some hope to this overwhelmed lady who needed help, not more guilt heaped upon her.

One of the most liberating realizations in my Christian life was that God is not a judge who will punish me if I happen to miss a day of devotions. In our zeal to get people to establish good habits of daily Bible reading (yes, a good thing) I fear we have imposed that impression on people.

3 comments:

Bet said...

Thank goodness you were able to say something to this stressed out woman. I don't know what some people are thinking when they say such things to someone who needs encouragement--not, as you say, more guilt.

Rhoda said...

Good for you!

Aren't you excited about spending time with someone when it's something you have to do?

Barbara H. said...

That poor lady. There are certain seasons in life -- or certain days in any life -- when it is just not feasible to spend a lot of deep, thoughtful, uninterrupted time in the Word. I am glad you said something.

I wrote some on this here with a quote from Rosalind Goforth that helped me immensely. I wish I could send it to that lady -- to both of them.