Seek first His kingdom: Learning how this applied to ME!
As a busy mother, I was trying to do everything right, but it wasn’t until I really laid hold of this verse that everything became clear to me.
I am the mother of three remarkably busy children and a young baby.
One day I stood at the kitchen sink washing the dishes, tears streaming down my face. I thought to myself that if anyone ever told me again that children are a blessing, I would tell them straight out that I do not agree. I thought about how Jesus came to earth to set me free. But I did not feel free; everything felt heavy and dark.
Where was the wisdom?
I felt sure that I was doing everything right. I prayed in the mornings, and during the day I was in constant conversation with Jesus, asking Him to give me wisdom so there could be peace in our home and that I would be a good and happy mom. I tried everything! I tried reward charts for the children to encourage them to behave and I set up systems on how to get the housework done faster, so that I could spend more time with them. It worked for a while, but was hard to sustain and then everything would just fall apart again.
I would get up in the mornings thinking how horrible the day was going to be –reprimanding the children morning, noon and night, dishes piling up, a screaming baby and three children causing havoc. I just could not give up everything. Did God really want me to have a dirty house and disrespectful children doing as they please, and in return He would give me peace? What does it mean to give up everything?
The more I asked for wisdom, the more I felt I was receiving nothing from God. I tried to stay calm and positive, asking for wisdom to resolve fights between the children and pacify a crying baby, but in the end everyone would be unhappy, most of all me.
What I really needed to be free from
Then one day, I had just sat down to have a cup of coffee after putting the children to bed. It had been another difficult day and I was close to tears, when the baby woke up crying. I had had enough! I went to his bed with a heavy heart, thinking I could not continue like this for one more day! I looked up and asked God to set me free from whatever was binding me. Is it not the reason that Jesus came to earth, to set me free from everything that is so heavy? Then I had a realization. I told Him that He did not have to give me wisdom on how to get the baby into a good routine or how to discipline my children, all I wanted was to be set free from my own flesh and all its unrest. A verse came to mind: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33.
At first, I didn’t think much of the verse. I wasn’t seeking anything else in life – more earthly riches, honor or anything the world could offer. I was content with being a stay-at-home mom. I tried to brush the verse aside, thinking it was not relevant in the circumstances, but it stuck in my mind.
The next morning I sat with an unhappy baby again, trying to get him to sleep, when my eldest son came into the room crying because he had hurt himself and at the same time my daughter was pulling on my hair demanding another snack. Suddenly it hit me! “Seek first His kingdom …” I imagined Jesus standing before me while I asked Him what His will was for me right then. It was as though I could clearly hear His voice saying, “My will for you is not to calm this chaos. My will is for you to fight against the impatient feelings coming from your flesh and not to give in to the feelings of panic and despair.”
And that is what I did right there and then. I fought against all those feelings coming from my flesh, and God added everything else. It was as though the whole situation was defused and resolved and everything was calm and peaceful. A warm feeling streamed into my heart. I had sought God’s kingdom and His righteousness first and therefore He kept His promise and added everything that I could not manage.
Overcoming the root of the problem
God’s intention is not for me to just accept the chaos around me and live in an untidy house with disrespectful, disobedient children. He is there with wisdom and help, and I firmly believe that He is creating something new in me by revealing the sin in my flesh in each situation, so that I can overcome it.
The more I fight with all my might by asking God to reveal what my real enemies are in the circumstances, and praying for a deeper hatred against the unthankfulness, honor-seeking, anxiety, anger, discontentment and blaming others that is revealed in my flesh, the more He makes sure that everything that needs to be done for the day, gets done. Wisdom on how to handle the children starts streaming in and it creates peace and a blessed atmosphere.
Instead of trying to control my situation so that it suits me, I have learned to overcome the root of the problem – the sin in my own flesh. Once I learned to take up that battle, then everything else also started going well!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.