You know, some child development and parenting experts say that it’s vital for you to be there for your kids 24/7. Not me! If your emotional fever is high, and you’ve got something causing major stress in your life, it’s critical for you to take a step back and tend to your needs and feelings. Jesus gave us a commandment that covers this. In Matthew 22:38-39, he says, “The greatest commandment is to love your God with all your heart, mind, and soul. And the second greatest commandment is to love one another as you love yourself.”
So, what does that mean? God wants us to love and be there for our children in the same way in which we are there for ourselves. If you are out of gas, you’ve got nothing left to give to your children. You are, then, at risk for doing more harm than good. There’s a reason why airplane pre-flight instructions tell passengers to put the oxygen mask on themselves before putting it on their children in case of an emergency.
How can we be there for ourselves? Two resources come to mind for you. First, daily time alone, without distraction or pressure. This often takes the form of devotional time with God. Did you notice in Scripture that Jesus went off to pray before his miracles? Also, after a big day of teaching and healing, he frequently went into the mountains for respite and to pray again. Most devotional guides take about fifteen minutes of quiet time. Morning works best for me, as it centers me for the coming day. Some families extend devotions to include family devotions and couple devotions, but I would always include private time with the Lord.