What are you wearing?
by Jo Le Page
I own a few tops that have words on them such as 'thankful', 'blessed', 'faith over fear', 'loved'. With the growing collection in my drawer it is now fairly likely that I am going to pick up one of these in the morning. I have realised that these words are a great daily reminder for me.
I have been trying to be more positive, think more positively and speak more positively. The truth is we don't always feel like it, we don't always leap out of bed ready to throw on our 'thankful' top literally or figuratively, but 'wearing' that is a reminder that there is some part of us that is always thankful for something. I don't always feel like looking at my daily reading but within that is always a timely word in season for me. Biblically this reminds me of 'Putting on the whole armour of God'. I like the way the Amplified version puts it - Ephesians 6:10-18 AMP says;
“ In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armour of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armour of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. 13 Therefore, put on the complete armour of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having [a]tightened the wide band of truth(personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15 and having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] [c]shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people.”
There is so much information in those verses, an indication that ‘putting on the armour’ isn’t a case of just throwing it on but it takes thought and preparation. This also shows us that as important as we deem it to be to get dressed in the morning before facing the world, it is equally important what we are clothing ourselves spiritually too so we can be ready to face the day. Some can’t start the day without caffeine, most women will apply at least some makeup before facing the world, we brush our teeth so our breath isn’t offensive to anyone, we do our hair to make us look neat and tidy, we spend time choosing and buying outfits in the first place then additional time each day deciding what to wear. Isn’t it equally as important to clothe ourselves in Gods courage, spending time with him to prepare our hearts for the day, our feet ready and stable knowing where we stand and on Whom we stand, and not forgetting our shield of faith which will protect us from any fiery darts that come flying our way through the day, extinguishing them, rendering them completely disarmed before they even have a chance to touch us, eliminating the risk of them doing us any damage at all. How different could our days be when we are remembering to put on this armour every day.
By clothing ourselves in positivity, walking out into the day remembering that we are thankful and loved and clothed as stated in those verses, I am not suggesting that we put on a front, that we mask how we are feeling, or force a strained smile. I am suggesting that we acknowledge our ‘I need You every hour’ dependence on God. That we realise we need God’s help to face the day, that He alone will remind us of how blessed we are, how loved we are, how thankful we are, how protected we are.
As a Parent you give and give, you have come to realise that you give more than you receive. You have children depending on you, often that dependence can extend to where you are also looking after the needs of your Spouse and sometimes ageing Parents get thrown into the mix also. Your feet hit the ground running as soon as you step out of bed. You get dressed because you don’t really want to do the school run in your pyjamas, but if there was a choice then you may well skip the getting dressed part some mornings! So often the idea of ‘spending time with God’ before you leave the house leaves you with feeling like a failure if you can’t juggle that as well as the uniforms, the lunch boxes, the breakfast plates, the way that clock just seems to move faster on school days, and any and all other pressures too. God understands all this, He really wants us to equip us for the day ahead and empower us with His strength. Below are a few tips on spending time with God when you are too busy to even sit down.
Reading the Word
Audio Bible – I have found this to be revolutionary for my ‘bible reading time’. I had heard of the Audio Bible but had never used it. For years I have wanted to do ‘cover to cover’ (read through the bible in one year) I was getting frustrated with lack of time, or the way my mind would wander, or my eyes would get heavy so I would have to read the same chapter more than once, rarely progressing past two chapters in a day. After returning from morning school run plus morning toddler activities I was regularly spending 40 minutes plus emptying the dishwasher, filling the dishwasher, tidying the kitchen, taking out clothes from the tumble dryer, swapping them with wet clothes from the washing machine, folding the clothes, clearing breakfast dishes, straightening out the downstairs, picking up toys and discarded pyjamas from the morning rush. Once that was done and I sat down briefly to eat before my youngest awoke from his nap I may have had time for a quick read and pray but that was it, I was then on full duty again until 7:30 or 8pm when they finally settled to sleep by which point my brain couldn’t handle any more information. I was fed up with feeling guilty about this so after a Pastor recommended the Audio Bible I looked it up on YouTube as I was starting ‘operation tidy up’. I googled Genesis audio bible NIV and bam we were off! Reading, listening, getting saturated in the word whilst tidying. I was amazed how quickly the chapters were unfolding and how MANY chapters can be read to you in 30 minutes or so of doing chores. I felt great for being immersed in the Word, I found that I picked up some things by listening that I wouldn’t have by reading and before I knew it I was ending Genesis and starting Exodus. I still read the bible and do my daily reading but this has been a great addition to my daily routine. I am not suggesting that we overwork and get exhausted by not stopping to take a break, we really do need to take breaks, I am just suggesting that while we are busy with chores we can also have a bible reading or audio sermons or whatever you are needing read to you at the same time.
Short prayers can help us to keep connecting with God across our day. I had this advice passed to me so am now passing it onto you;
1. The Breath Prayer
An ancient practice which involves repeating a short sentence throughout your day - as natural as breathing. Take a moment to stop and breathe, and try one of the following short prayers: "Jesus, let me see you", "God, I belong to you", "Holy Spirit, come".
2. The Thankful Prayer
Remembering to give thanks can be a challenge, especially when things are difficult. Take a moment to stop and recall 3 things you're thankful for - from the weather, to what you've eaten, to the people who are around you in this moment.
3. The Praise Prayer
Acknowledging who God is and giving Him glory is a powerful way to realign your head and heart. You might like to use different names and attributes of God as found in scripture: "I praise you for being a wonderful counsellor", "Thank you for being mighty and strong", "I give you glory, everlasting Father".
As we start each day let us acknowledge our minute by minute need of God’s help. Let us offer a short prayer of praise and thanks, asking God to strengthen us for the day and to clothe us with His armour, He alone knows what is coming your way today and He is equipped to give you all that you need. Please find time today to sit, be still and rest Psalm 23 encourages us to do just that.
Jo Le Page is a stay at home mum of two lively children. She has always had a love for God and a love for writing and at five years old would regularly staple pages together to make books. This love for writing has continued to now writing articles for her blogs and as guest posts on other writers blogs. Jo has a passion to encourage and empower parents on their journey interjecting humour along the way. She has experienced three pregnancies, infertility and loss, all of these experiences and passion to write and help others has interwoven into a full tapestry of experience, growth and sensitivity. Any small amount of spare time is spent leading worship with her husband Pete, playing keyboard and singing at Nursing Homes. You can follow Jo on the following links;