Stop Waiting For a Zap

Today I want to ask you something:

Have you been waiting for the elusive “zap?”

Stop Waiting for a ZAP //


What I mean by that is:

Are you waiting for something to happen TO you in one of these areas:

  • Is your child throwing tantrums and out of control?
  • Are you in a marriage slump?
  • Is your house a wreck?
  • Are you out of control in your anger?
  • Is your budget pushed to its max each month?
  • Are you burned out, feeling pushed beyond your limit?
  • Are your children lazy schleps that leave you to do all the housework yourself?
  • Is your attitude toward your husband growing more bitter by the day?
  • Are you losing touch with friends and facing overwhelming loneliness?

…but you’re subconsciously waiting for things to change?


Let me say something to you that we all need to hear from time to time:

There is no magic “zap” that’s going to happen TO you.

If you are coasting along through life, hoping that each day will somehow be different from yesterday, you are — essentially — trusting in magic.

And magic isn’t going to:


Friend, the magic “zap” (that you have been waiting to jolt you) doesn’t exist.

And even if you are a follower of Jesus Christ (and I hope you are), the Holy Spirit inside of you STILL is not going to instantaneously, magically change you into a new person with new attitudes and new habits.



A couple weeks ago, it occurred to me: though I’d done really WELL with reading aloud to my oldest son, and even my second oldest from time to time, I’ve been slack lately in reading aloud with my younger children. Furthermore, I hadn’t been doing much Godward reading with them at all (by that, I mean literature designed to disciple and instruct them in biblical, Christ-honoring ways).

It hit me like a slap in the face. 

I was being a lazy hypocrite, claiming to value this activity of reading aloud, but doing NOTHING in my everyday life. Like a vehicle expecting to keep going, I was coasting off of the “fumes” of past faithfulness, expecting it to continue producing fruit in my younger children’s hearts, even though the tank was near empty.

I had to be honest with myself: Facebook, cleaning, crochet, and busyness had all crowded out something that I value and want to do with my children.

So I went to our bookshelves and selected two books: Heaven for Kids, and Dangerous Journey (an abridged, beautifully-illustrated version of Pilgrim’s Progress). Like with a new exercise regimen, the tendency is to want to overdo it, but I knew that I’d quickly burnout if I chose too many. So I chose two meaty, enjoyable books that would appeal to everyone from the 4 year old to the 12 year old. (Sorry, 21-month-old Theo, it’s Duplos time for you.)

And for the last two weeks, I’ve regularly called the children to sit around my desk, and read them these wonderful books. Not only are they growing in their vocabulary (“Silas, what’s the difference between narrow and wide?”), but Randy Alcorn’s wonderful book has prodded us to pull out our Bibles to study what God says about Heaven. We’ve also enjoyed some wonderful conversations, both during the time that we read, and later, at dinnertime with Daddy when they share with him what they’re learning.



Growth doesn’t just happen to us.

There is no magic “zap.”

  • Nothing is going to instantly happen to you to change your marriage.
  • Nothing is going to magically turn your children into obedient helpers.
  • Nothing is going to change your attitude from a self-focused grump-monster into a Christ-centered joyful woman.

Growth, in any form, happens with intentionality and with purposeful steps taken in a different direction.

So what is it that you need to DO?



  • Is there a “zap” in your life that you (now) realize you’ve been waiting for?
  • What is it that you need to CHOOSE TO DO differently today?
  • What ONE THING could you stand up (yes, right now) and choose to do, to change your life or home?

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast ( I write and wrangle kids.

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15 Responses

  1. Miranda says:

    I really love this post. I waited for years for that zap! I also waited for someone else to get that zap! Actually starting last Monday I decided to stop waiting for things around me to change and to start doing something about the things I wanted to change. It’s actually been an eye opener for me and your post just helped dig it in.

  2. Barbara H. says:

    This is just what I needed today. I’ve been wrestling with the “self-focused grump-monster” all week (well, all my life, but in an intense way this week). That phrase made me smile even while it went straight to my heart.

    Theses days there is such an emphasis on grace – which is good and needed — that some folks I read along those lines bristle at words like obedience and action. One of the frequent themes of my blog is that grace doesn’t negate the need for obedience – it enables it. Yet even still I wish that God would just change my heart already and make me think and feel right. But I remind myself He has – it’s just going to take the rest of my life to work that out into every thought and action. Meanwhile I have to make the choice whether to let my wrong, angry, selfish thoughts have reign or whether to “take them captive,” to decide what to meditate on, to implement certain actions.

    Thanks for the “zap” that there is no “zap.” :-)

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you so much for writing this, it was really encouraging for me today. I love Jesus and my family so much and yet it’s easy to let the simple things slide to get by sometimes. I know I’m made for so much more than that though, so thanks for the reminder! :)

  3. Debbie Coleman says:

    The Zap I’ve been waiting for is losing weight. Oh, I say things like, “I could write a book”, “I am a Lifetime Weight Watchers member”, “I walk every day with my dog”, “I just had surgery, so I’m supposed to be sluggish”, etc.
    I need to choose to walk more, exercise more, eat less, journal what I’m eating, and quit making excuses.
    The one thing I can do to start off with, is to journal what I put in my mouth. This always makes me stop and think, and really help tackle this problem.
    Good article!

  4. WL says:

    For me (and I’m sure many others)… since having my first baby I fell off the bandwagon bigtime as far as reeding the Bible. When I was single I enjoyed reading deep theology Christian books and also plowing through my bible. I had only been a Christian for a couple of years so it was pretty new to me. Then I read most of it, got married, had a kid and kept saying “after my difficult pregnancy.. after the newborn stage… after he is sleeping better…” and so on… THEN I would pick up my bible and read it Even though I wasn’t really sure where to begin again.. I kept waiting for God to change me and magically force me to walk over and pick it up and start reading. I think it’s OK to pray for the desire to do something when it’s not there. But as far as phyisically making it happen – I keep waiting for some overwhelming urge to read. I’m running on fumes and I can tell my spiritual life is at a standstill because of it. My husband isn’t a reader and so I can’t look to him to initiate or to prod me to do it. When I got married I had these visions of him sitting us down and saying “It’s bible reading time!” But he is just not that type. He reads the Gospel Story Bible to our son which is nice, but he doesn’t read the bible independently.. and I think that rubs off on me as well. But I can’t use that as an excuse, like “oh my husband doesnt lead in that area.” It would be nice but he isn’t going to ZAP me either :) Now I have an 11-week old so it’s even harder.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Thanks for your honesty!

      It is so easy, I think, with the shifting of seasons as mom, to fall away from Bible reading. The key is just choosing to do it.

      Lately, just leveling with you, I’ve been slack in that area. I know the right thing to do. And yet I don’t do it. Today I was brought low… and knew I needed God’s Word and so I RAN to it… spent a lot of time journaling and praying and getting teary-eyed at God’s swift way of reining me back in after several areas of conviction and confession.

      Anyway, all that to say, when things go wrong, I know I need it. And I go for it wholeheartedly. It is in my times of “health” that I am less apt to go to the doctor for the check-ups and reminders that I need. And that is wrong.

      So then, like you, I’ve been waiting for the zap. And didn’t know it, in this area, until I read your comment and realized I’ve been in a similar spot. So then, you and I both just need to do the thing we know we ought to do, rather than waiting for the “zap.” Here’s to a better week for us both!

      Thanks again for your honesty.

  5. Autumn says:

    Hi Jess!

    So from time to time (I read frequently but don’t comment over much) I have marveled at how you (or anyone else) had time to complete a project. I remember being pretty blown away when you finished your chicken coop that you put together, without plans to boot!

    Well, I don’t have that kind of household.

    What does that mean, exactly? It means home = WORK for me. I am moving from the moment my eyes open to when I collapse at night (more or less). I am battling a deep burnout. Projects (sewing, writing, refurbishing and refinishing furniture) don’t get done – because (and only because) they are things that I WANT to do. It means that I very nearly got teary eyed when you mentioned you sit on the couch and cuddle your kids to read. I thought: “How does she have time to sit on the couch?!” It means I frequently, historically, over extend my self to “do what needs be done” to extreme level where the idea that I could sit in my own house and you know, have peace is something that makes me sad.

    What grieves my heart even more, is that all this running around in order to prove my value and worth has in fact had the opposite affect on member’s of my household.

    Recently, the Lord has been (gently) dealing with me because I choose not to address this inadequacy, but as I do, ignore it and leave my house to relax. (Or stay home when everybody else leaves.)

    I’m 38. and for the first time in my life I understand myself as a to be God-given resource to be well-stewarded.

    Honestly, changing the habits of my family (or rather changing my habits and loving guiding my family as they learn and understand the changes) doesn’t sound like a picnic to me.

    We are talking about some pulling up some deeply planted lies and tearing down a faulty framework (one where I worked for my value, one where I’d take responsibility for things not mine, one where I swallowed my God-given influence for fear of causing displeasure among my family and thus not being loved (again) ) And rebuilding it totally from the ground up – this time on the firm foundation of the Rock.

    How is all this going to change when I barely even see it? By the Grace of God.

    Time to roll up my sleeves and get to work.


    A household where every member of the family has value.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Thanks for your (refreshingly honest) comment. I think you and I must be on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of housekeeping, LOL. I’m the one who (though improving) still struggles to NOTICE and actually put one foot in front of the other to tackle the mess & “must dos” of housework. Which is how the chicken coop got built– everything else went to pot during that time, haha. :) (Yes you must be a long-time reader…)

      That said, I do have peace in our home. and I think whatever you do about housework, THAT is important goal to work for. To be mentally able to “let go” and relax and be at peace. You’ve shared some really important self-realizations here… did you write them down in a journal, or somewhere where they can be in front of your face? Cause, man, these are big.

      And this?

      “I’m 38. and for the first time in my life I understand myself as a to be God-given resource to be well-stewarded.”

      I’m so very glad. You do have value. Not because of your doings, but because of your being. What a heap of hard, but good, lessons God seems to be reaping in your life. Please come back and share as you see the process and the fruit of these things, playing out.


      • Autumn says:

        Thank you, Jess, for your reply.

        It was so very nice to feel heard.


        And yes, I’ll come back and share. I deeply appreciate the invitation.

  6. Vanessa says:

    I’m always surprised (and should stop being surprised!) when God brings about something for me to read (to improve myself sometimes, to change sometimes ,and to confirm what I am doing sometimes). This post now is a confirmation for me . I’ve been intentional in changing my attitude, being loving, choosing to forgive my husband (for real and imagined crimes and irritations), and choosing to POUR into my kids and husband (the best of me) at the expense of housework.
    That is a reason why it took me so long to come and read your post, I had to prioritise and while doing that I realized I din’t have as much time as I thought I had, to spend reading blogs (I needed to read the bible first). I’m still working on setting limits (for me) on how much time I spend on facebook (I keep failing!), but I’m going to continue trying.
    Btw did your youngest make his appearance yet?

    • Jess Connell says:

      Good for you Vanessa! Sounds like you’re being purposeful in a way that few are, these days.

      Nope, I’m not due until early/mid February. :) We’ve got a ways to go yet. 10 weeks from tomorrow. And possibly later than that. 😉 Thanks for remembering and asking though!

      • Vanessa says:

        Thank you. I have to point out that this isn’t everyday (though it should be ) and it’s more recent (weeks/months ) and I wasn’t like this for most of the previous years of our marriage.
        Excited to see your little one :)

  7. Jamie Butts says:

    I missed this one the first go round. Very helpful and applicable to me, I often think like this. Then days turn into weeks, months and years. Love you Jess!

  1. December 31, 2016

    […] Just need a kick in the pants? Try this—-> Stop Waiting for a “Zap” […]

  2. March 17, 2017

    […] to a sermon on an issue or area of life that’s been plaguing me. No one is going to zap me & it’s worthwhile to put effort into working through real challenges. Even though it […]

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