Not too long ago, I use to start every early morning the same way: I would pour a hot cup of coffee with a heavy dollop of half and half, curl up on “my” side of the couch in my dark living room, and read a short devotion by the dim light of a table side lamp. Then I’d head out for a run and start my day.
It was simple. Often those devotions would speak directly to something that had been bugging me, or something that was on my mind, and I would continue to think about it throughout the day. It was a great, easy way to start my day.
Then we moved.
In the crazy, busy, and survival-mode life we’ve been living, I ashamed to say one of the first habits that I dropped was my morning devotions. Wouldn’t you know it, that this year, my devotional and spiritual life seems to be tanking?
It’s amazing how sneakily Satan works. One minute we’re focusing on God’s Word, continuing in our worship and prayer life, and making Bible study a regular and deliberate priority in our lives, and the next minute, one tiny little life “hiccup” happens, and we forsake it all. How often is our personal devotion or spiritual growth one of the first things to go when we get busy or stressed?
Our relationship with our Savior should be the first thing we cling to! And yet, we let all the distractions take top position in our hearts and lives. This is idolatry.
Thanks be to God that he forgives our sins of doubt, idolatry, selfishness, and distraction, through his son, Jesus Christ.
So if, like me, you have found you are struggling with dedicating time to the study of God’s Word, I want to share some tricks that I try (or will make the effort to try) to implement in my life that will encourage each of us to make the study of Scripture easier and a priority in our lives.
Ok, I have to be honest. This is a recent discovery. I can’t believe it took me this long to find devotional podcasts! I listen to podcasts all the time: marketing and business podcasts while I get ready in the morning, endurance sport podcasts when I run, and financial podcasts when I cook. I’m ALWAYS listening to podcasts! You can find super short daily devotionals that you can squeeze into your day, whether when you get ready, while you make kids’ breakfasts, or brushing your teeth before bed. Here is the one I listen to and I think it’s fantastic. It’s usually around 3-4 minutes, and is a quick meditation that I can listen to when I’m getting ready in the morning.
My journal is a hodgepodge of different things: goals or tasks I hope to accomplish throughout the day, prayers or worries, things I’m grateful for. One item I want to make more of an effort to include is writing down one scripture with a brief meditation about it. It doesn’t have to be huge or time consuming, but it gets me in the Word, and gets me to think about how God’s Word applies to what I’m facing on a particular day. Starting or ending the day with a little reflection is not hard, and I definitely want to make it a priority of mine.
I’ve actually created a seven day journal that mimics what I usually do. If you’d like to give it a try totally FREE click here.
Keep a Devotional on Your Nightstand
Most of us either own, or have access to a devotional. Most of the devotions they contain are short enough to read in a few minutes. So the last things before bed every night can be a brief meditation of the Word. Can you think of a better way to put all the stresses of the day at the Lord’s feet and end the in prayer right before you fall asleep? I can think of no better way to relax at night before bed! Lay all your cares on the one who can actually DO something about it!
Pray with Your Family and Spouse
Many of us pray with our children before bed or meals, and that’s such a wonderful way to model how prayer should and can be a daily part of our lives. But how often do we demonstrate throughout other times during the day the importance of prayer? Let me give you an example: Imagine your 4 year old child just grabbed a thick, black Sharpie and colored all over your brand new, white sofa. (I know, who in their right mind has a white sofa with small children, but hear me out.) You’re about ready to lose it. You want to cry. You want to yell and scream. You want to knock that kid into the middle of next week. What if, instead of doing any or all of those things, you took a breath and asked your child to pray with you? Pray for patience and guidance for Mom, pray for obedience and self-control for the child, pray for forgiveness for Mom and child.
Imagine what would happen when prayer becomes such an active part of our lives? When husband and wife pray together for their marriage? When parents and children pray for forgiveness or patience or health? Imagine how how such a powerful tool could keep Satan out of your home.
Keep Your Bible Within Reach
Where is your Bible? Do you know where it is? Is it on a bookshelf in the office? Drawer of your nightstand? In a box in storage? Where ever you keep it, you should be able to grab it easily. The Bible is one of the most powerful tools we have against the problems, sins, and stresses of the world. Any time you can find a free moment, read a verse or two. Start with Matthew or Proverbs and just let God speak to you. Don’t be afraid or make excuses not to use it!
When things get busy, that’s when we need to focus on the Word! Feeling stressed? Take it to the Lord in prayer. Feeling scared or overwhelmed? Find confidence and encouragement in the scriptures. Plagued with doubt or despair? Turn again and again to your Savior!
Join me and let’s make the study of the Word a priority!