In parenting there are days in which I remember and even stay one step ahead of everything and then there are days that could have been better. Today was a day that could have been better. My husband had to work this AM so I was on duty alone to get kids to their Saturday morning activities. This is always tough. So, the oldest got off to her first activity and we had 35 minutes to spare. That's when things got real - the 3 year old decided to act his age. He took off his shoes, he took off his pants, he took off his shirt and he was running around like HULK smashing things in his path. It took me over 30 minutes to wrangle him back into his clothes. He put his own shoes on (a different shoe on each wrong foot) and refused a coat and at this point I could not fight, defeated I got him in his carseat. We were now late for middle child's first activity and we had to pick up the oldest before we could arrive late. We arrived to pick up oldest and the 3 year old wanted to stay in the car, I carried him screaming at me all the way into the school and through the halls to her class room. I am sure you can all picture the scene. The day got worst for both of us as I forgot a snack for him and his toys as I hurried out of the house with him and without a coat we weren't going to walk anywhere...It helps that Thursday was a win. Timing was perfect, snacks were remembered, husband picked up youngest so he didn't have to spend a long time watching his siblings no things he couldn't and dinner was in a crockpot. Yup Thursday was great, it is days like Thursday that keep me going on days like Saturday...
I find however that the same is true for much in life. For my work, if I have a day in which timing is perfect and I am not stressed between visiting people I am able to be full present in the moments for those I am with. On days in which things begin badly or traffic is worst than expected (I always plan for some bad traffic), I am not my best fully present self.
This is also true when it comes to my relationship with the Divine. The more I am able to give to my relationship, the more I take away. The more time I crave out to be present with God, the more full I feel from those moments. When I "rush" to get through my prayers, when I let the business of life put me in a hurried state instead of a present state, I know it and feel it. It is just like leaving the snacks and toys behind when I was focused on my screaming 3 year old; instead of staying full in the moments I stood fully in the stress, the screaming. When I do that I am not my best and nor is my relationship with him. It leads to a left spiderman shoe on his right foot and a right superman shoe on his left foot. It leads to me compromising his jacket for the sake of time instead of doing what was right. And using this metaphor for our relationship with God - if we only keep a hasty relationship with God than we are not getting the full possibilities of what a true and meaningful relationship with the Divine brings to our life.
For a full relationship with the Holy is like the days in which I feel like I won - I feel like I have won. But it takes a mind-set to get ourselves into a place in which we have a fuller relationship with the Divine. It is like my crockpot meal on Thursday - I had prepared for Thursday. Saturday without that extra adult hands I had not prepared either myself or my three year old for a different schedule and he wasn't wanting any part of being carted around having no fun. Prep is an important part of life. Preprepation isn't always practice but it does require us to "get ready." One way we can prepare when it comes to our relationship with the Spirit is to "practice our faith." We do this through going to church, praying, reading the Bible, doing a bible study, reading a faithfilled book, ect.... The more tools we have in our pockets the easier it is to not only be prepared but to actual handle the crazy moments of life. I used to keep a back up snack in the car or in the diaper bag, that stopped after giving them a back up snack and not replacing it many many months ago. Had I kept up that practice, at least a little bit of today could have been better, in fact I might have been able to save my morning.
Take a few moments to think about ways in which we can help ourselves be more prepared for success not only in life but in our relationship with God is a great thing to do in Lent. Lent is a time for us to reflect on our relationship with God and what it is that keeps us or gets in the way of a fuller relationship. We ask how can we elevate our relationship with the Divine so that it is deeper....One way can be in how we prepare. Do we rush our prayers? Do we simply just pray whenever we need something? Do we treat our relationship with haste or understanding? Do we find ways to come to God in which our state is peaceful? Or mindful?