Time. We never seem to have enough of it. Between raising families and working, the days and weeks fly by. Sometimes it feels like we just closed our eyes and the alarm clock is going off again.
That’s probably why, these days, everyone has a planner–or three. Our lives have to run like well-oiled machines, and when there’s a glitch (a sick child or a dead car battery) everything breaks down.
Let me apologize right now. I am not writing this to give you a new planning system that’s going to make you more productive or find you extra hours in your day.
Nope. I’m reminding you about the one thing you can’t put on a checklist.
Spending time with God. I mean hanging out and reading his Word. Some people like to call it “quiet time”. Those people are usually the sweet ladies in church who say, “In my quiet time this morning, God…” Don’t you always feel just a little judged, and just a little irritated that they have the luxury of time with God and you don’t?
Quit making excuses. To paraphrase James, you do not have because you do not ask.
This is about priorities
If you’ve got your planner handy, let’s look at what exactly is consuming your time. When you look at your daily schedule, is every moment filled up? If so, maybe you could pencil God in for a week from Tuesday. Or how about meeting up with Him when you are having a pedicure or going for a run to “clear your mind”? Or when you’re waiting in that long line at the Starbuck’s Drive-Thru?
Do you see where I’m going with this? If not, let me spell it out for you. If you have time to have a pedicure, run five miles, or wait 20 minutes in line at the Tabernacle of Coffee, you have time to hang out with God.
Not about shame
I’m not trying to shame you or make you feel guilty about how you spend your time. I’m just suggesting that you take an honest look at what is important in your life. We all need those little breaks and treats in life, but when you add up all the time you waste on social media, binge-watching tv shows, and flipping through Pinterest, it comes to a pretty significant chunk of time.
Seriously, is watching back-to-back episodes of “Game of Thrones” more important than having a meeting with the King of Kings?
Let’s not get carried away, here
Let me hold your hand and guide you through the process of prioritizing God. Don’t be afraid. This won’t hurt a bit.
- Analyze your day. What small adjustments can you make in order to take the first step? Getting up a half hour earlier? Only going to Starbucks once a week? Brown-bagging your lunch so you can have a few quiet minutes to yourself while everyone else is out spending fifteen bucks on lunch?
- Hang out anywhere. You don’t need a cozy chair, a mug of tea, and a War Room to spend time with God. He’s not worried about the decor. He’ll meet you where you are.
- What should you read? You can start by reading daily devotions in print or listening to them online. Everybody’s published them in some form, from Charles Spurgeon to Tim Keller. You could also choose a particular theme, like grace, or a book of the Bible, like John, that you want to learn more about. There are Bible reading plans available online, or your church library may have materials you can borrow. Don’t overcommit at first, though. You can’t run a marathon on the first day.
- Silence your phone. I mean it. Put it away.
- Pray for God to open your heart to what you’re reading or listening to.
What to expect in the beginning
At first, you’ll be distracted by the thousands of other things you have on your plate. You didn’t put your phone away, did you? Do it now; I’ll wait. Thank you. A habit takes time to establish–anywhere from five days to three months–so be patient and listen for the Holy Spirit.
What to expect long-term
As you start rockin’ and rollin’ with God, He’ll be really excited to show you stuff. Don’t be surprised if you start to see, as the days go on, how what He said to you in your time with Him seems to crop up everywhere in your life. A scripture passage might become an earworm, or a confusing concept may suddenly strike you with blinding clarity. This is the juice that will keep you going. It’s the leading of the Holy Spirit all those “spiritual” people talk about at church.
The new discovery
The best part of this is that you will eventually want to spend more and more time with God in His Word. He wants to be with you, to love you, to teach you. The more you let that happen, the more excited you’ll become by what you learn and how it applies in your daily life. This is just a part of the process of sanctification.
And now a Word from our Sponsor
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. — 2 Timothy 3:16-17 | ESV
“The man of God”. That’s you and me.
Grace is real–