I remember this time last year all too well. I was newly pregnant with my second baby, we had just taken in an eight-year-old girl for three months of respite care, my mother-in-law was recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous kidney, I was teaching a new class for the first time and I was Overwhelmed. Capital "O." And zero fun to be around. My journal from that season of life is mostly empty, and I know for sure my Bible sat unopened on my nightstand (I vaguely remember moving it to a place I wouldn't see it every day and feel the knowing guilt that I was supposed to be looking there for peace, for rest, for anything to take the edge off the anxiety). In the exact season I needed Him most, I made no space for Jesus.
As I sit here with the back door open, feeling the cool breeze of the end of this lovely Indian Summer we are enjoying, life feels so different than just twelve short months ago. And I know that is because I've been reminded to make space for Jesus. And I have.
What none of us need are more words, more lectures telling us to have our "quiet time." We don't need to be told again that Jesus prayed and so should we. We know this well. We don't need guilt, or shame, or to lie about how deep the roots of our spiritual lives are growing because of our time in study (I may have done this once or twice. I've been a Christian long enough to know how to fake it). But we do need truth. And the truth is that even when every single thing in life fights against it, we have to make space for Jesus. Nothing will be more important.
We need friends to text us scripture, quotes, anything that is breathing life in to them so that we can feel the warmth of their fire and borrow it's heat.
We need to set the alarm. But if we miss it or if the babies wake up with us (and so often, they will), we need to play the grace card and push back the belief that if it doesn't happen in the morning quiet then their is no redeemable time for Jesus in the day. Take back the car rides, the dinner preparation time, the shower, the instagram browsing, and there is time.
We need to weave prayer, God's word, and good people to talk about it all with into our lives. Our every day, folding laundry, pushing strollers, checking email lives.
For me, the combination of a 5:15am alarm + the accountability of friends + Trader Joe's cold brew coffee has been magic. And I'm saying this from the deepest place of my soul: it's working. God's word is changing me, my marriage, my parenting, my eyes towards the world. I'm dreaming and thinking and getting excited about things and actually doing them. I've missed joy and presence during entire seasons of my life because of anxiety, because I haven't made even just a little bit of margin for Jesus. And now I'm finding that when I start to make that space, all of a sudden I don't want to simply fit him in on the edges but to start with him at the center and build life around him. And he is making me different because of it.
There is no question that life will surely scratch away at this bit of a "sweet spot" I have found. I'll forget the feeling of excitement to open God's word early in the morning. I'll get busy or stressed or feel like I have to handle more important things first. And then once again, someone will remind me that there is no more important thing, that we won't take anything with us home to heaven but the beautiful, living words of God. Let's do this for each other: point one another back to the Source consistently, daily, without reservation. The world needs followers of Jesus to come alive, to seek their calling with passion, to know scripture and to live it. And that starts in the space where it is just you and Him, working it all out together.