I was too tired to read the Bible. It put me to sleep.
I struggled for a long time. I felt like a failure. I looked around me and saw my Christian friends reading the Bible, growing, learning, praying, in what seemed like a perfectly disciplined faith. I felt like I couldn’t live up to that anymore because I was a mother. What little time I had to myself, I was too tired to read the Bible. It put me to sleep. I felt so guilty that reading the Word of God put me to sleep, but it did. I had an infant. And then a toddler and an infant. I just couldn’t find the time or the motivation to read regularly. And the guilt was eating me alive.
Growing up, I remember my pastor saying not to feel guilty if you ever fall asleep reading the Bible. “What better way to fall asleep than in the arms of the Father?” he would ask. True, I thought. But if you never read more than a sentence before you fall asleep because you’re so tired that a moment of stillness is like a sleep aid, you begin to think maybe that sentiment doesn’t apply to you.
And so the guilt piled higher.
This went on for a few years in my life. I still prayed. I still worshipped God in the car, listening to my favorite live worship albums. I still went to church. But I felt like a colossal failure because I couldn’t seem to find the time to actually read the Word of God. I knew that’s where the power was. I knew that was what I needed to go to the next level in my faith. And I just couldn’t seem to have a breakthrough.
If you’re a mom reading this, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. A moment of stillness is like a fine wine – you cherish every sip, every second, like you’ll never have it again, because truth be told, you may not. Throw in the obligatory daily Bible reading and it seems like an insurmountable mountain to climb. It might as well be Everest.
But I have good news! There is a way to be a mother of young children and still nourish your walk with Christ in a meaningful way.
I was listening to a sermon from my pastor in my car one time when I heard him talk about his son. He said that his son was given some advice when he was a young entrepreneur – to get a copy of the Bible on audio and listen to it as much as possible throughout the day. My pastor laughed that his “cheap” son bought the King James Bible on audio because it was only $9 as opposed to $50 or more for the other audio translations. And because of the Elizabethan language he was immersing himself in day in and day out, he began to speak like Shakespeare. “How goes thou, dearest brother?” he would say. Pretty funny.
But that funny little story flipped a light on in my stubborn brain.
My faith doesn’t have to be defined by the actual physical act of reading the Word right now. I can listen to it instead! What a concept!
It’s so simple, and yet for me, it was profound. I am just in a tired season of my life. A busy season. A season of dirty diapers, and tantrums, and messes, and cries, and more messes, and more dirty diapers, and sharpies on the wall, and jelly on the floor, and rocks in my cup, and… you get the picture. Sitting down to read anything, while it sounds luxurious, just ends up being a recipe for sleep. Glorious sleep.
Any parent will tell you that the car is one of the few sacred places left where you can actually do a little thinking once you have kids.
So when God showed me that all I have to do is listen to the Bible, it opened up a whole new world for me! Now, every morning when I’m getting ready, I whip out my handy little smart phone and turn on my free audio Bible (any translation I want!). I listen to a chapter or two while I’m putting on my makeup. It’s awesome! I get to have a few moments to myself and immerse myself in the scripture all at the same time. It has become my favorite part of the day.
But it hasn’t stopped there. Whenever we drive, I listen to the Bible on audio some more. Any parent will tell you that the car is one of the few sacred places left where you can actually do a little thinking once you have kids. They’re strapped down, you see. They can whine all they want, there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re on the highway going 70 miles per hour. You can’t take their shoes off for them or find their monster truck. You have a legitimate excuse. And it’s a perfect time to listen to the Bible! (Plus a bonus: you’re immersing them in the Word, too!)
I live thirty minutes from my church, an hour and a half from my parents and generally twenty minutes from anything else I want to do, so needless to say, we’re in the car a lot. I made it through Leviticus that way.
The point, my sweet friends, is that your walk of faith doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. And in fact, it won’t. And that’s great! If you are in a season of life where sitting down to read anything, even for five minutes is out of the question, don’t fret. Find another way. There are endless resources out there. Even if it’s just a simple five minute devotional read from a free app, you can find a way to be with God each day. But I’ll forewarn you – it will only leave you wanting more! (What a great problem to have!)
And don’t let Satan keep you from reading the Word by making you feel guilty like he did with me. He robbed me of several years of meaningful growth in my faith by telling me I was too busy for God and by telling me that if I didn’t have an hour every morning before everyone woke up to sit in a quiet place and read and study, it wasn’t worth my time. But when your infant wakes up four times a night, what exactly is the definition of “before everyone wakes up?” See, that’s his plan – not to turn you to him, just to keep you from God. And he’ll use any means necessary, believe me. And a steaming pile of guilt is one of his favorite tactics with me.
Take back your walk. Don’t fall victim to preconceived notions. Ask the Lord today to show you how you might incorporate him into your day, everyday. And see if you aren’t radically transformed and blessed because of it.
If you would like to download the Bible app I use for audio (and reading), check it out here. There’s a kid’s Bible by the same company and it is awesome, too!