Stress is a major issue for so many within our society. I’m sure that like me you have at some time felt under stress. I’ve learnt to connect with God during most things but stress is a feeling that I personally struggle to bring God into. It’s not intentional, it’s just that when I’m under heavy stress I don’t even think about God.
Yesterday was one of those days. You know the type. I have 3 children under the age of 6. Throughout the day there was the consistent drone of whinging. The phrase “I want …” was a repeated refrain. Screaming. Fighting. It just never stopped. Of course this wasn’t just out of the blue. I was feeling tired (not helped but having to get up to the kids 4 times the previous night). They were tired. Everybody was just a bit on edge and little things automatically became big things. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was feeling exhausted, emotionally frayed and stressed out. I was struggling just to hold everything together and the thought of God was the furthest thing from my mind.
I don’t why it is so difficult for me to even think about God during these moments. Perhaps at the end of the day, I am still fairly me-focussed. Perhaps it’s because I feel like I should have it all together. Perhaps it’s because somewhere deep down I believe that my kids should be perfect even though others aren’t. I don’t really have an answer but sometimes it’s just hard work to try to be God-centred.
Thanks to the therapy of a nice hot shower I was able to see things differently. I wonder if our prayers could sometimes sound like whinging to God as we rattle off the details of our situations. Are our prayers full of “I want …” even though we phrase it differently and always remember our manners. I wonder if God is surrounded a seemingly constant sound as fellow Christians bicker over doctrinal positions. I’m not saying that these things are wrong – the Bible has these as examples – but do they dominate?
Even when they do, I think it’s ok. Even though my kids’ behaviour drove me crazy, it wouldn’t God. Even when I come to him sounding like a bratty child he shows grace. I’m glad God is not like me. I’m glad that he isn’t overwhelmed by my actions. I’m glad that he is loving at all times.
I love my kids even when they are not behaving well. When I’m being driven crazy by them, I still love them. I especially love it even they want to be around me – not because they want something but simply because I’m their dad. They think I’m cool even though no one else does. And even though God loves me when I come before him with complaints and requests, I want to carve out time just to be with him. I want to make a space where I can say ‘God, I think you’re cool.’