I have wrestled with this thought now for about 1 or 2 years. I can’t remember when I started to feel this guilt coming over me, but I have to readily admit, it hasn’t really lessened, until I started to get real with myself. And with God.
Have you had what you consider AMAZING devotional times? When you were in a study and you put your heart and soul into that book? When you walked away from it, changed, and remember so much about it? I can think of a few studies where I have felt that way! It gives you such an energizing feeling, that you want to recreate it constantly, but realizing all your attempts at doing so in your personal devotions, makes you feel like you fail, because that feeling just hasn’t come back? Or if you’re like me, struggle to find the time to do such a study?
Over the past few years, my time with God has changed drastically. And it’s not just this “because I’m a parent now” thought. My life has just changed. A LOT. I am a different person than I was 10 years ago (aren’t we all, right?) I used to be able to sit down and do my devotions for an hour if I wanted to. It was just the stage of life I was in. Over the past couple of years, I have seen my devotional time changing just as much as my life has. And it has left me wondering, what could I be doing better?
I have long thought about getting up an hour earlier than Mazy, but with my health, I know I need my sleep. I have spent time at night filling up my spiritual cup, but the focus just wasn’t what it once was. Ever feel that way?
Then I started to realize, through all my guilty feelings, that God doesn’t stare down at me and say “Oh, Kristin, it’s past 8am and you haven’t done your devotions…” Yet that is what I’d tell myself sometimes. I would create legalistic expectations for myself that were just ridiculous and the enemy loved it. He loved every thought going in that direction. And that’s when I realized my time with God is so much more than set time frames.
Don’t get me wrong. God says to meditate on His Word, day and night. I’m NOT saying you should do away with devotions! Reading the Bible is one of the most treasured gifts we have as Christians. Daily opening His Word is vital for our growth, understanding, and sanctification process. But the question is…
What do I do with my time during the day and how can I “devote” that to God?
When I wake up in the morning, if Mazy is not awake yet, I right away grab my devotional and Bible. It is maybe a 5 minute session and then if I have the chance, I will take some time to pray. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. It’s the perfect way to start my day. Then there are other days when Mazy wakes up early and I don’t get that time. Then as we are snuggling, I will try to do them then, but that doesn’t always happen. If that doesn’t, well, then I try to do them at another time and sometimes it isn’t until nighttime. But that to me is not the only part of “devoting” a life to God.
What I have found to be more influential and life-changing, is to walk with God throughout my day. It’s such a cliche saying to say as a Christian, but when life has you running and going, and your kids do too, taking time to find God in the mundane and spend time with Him, to me, can be just as valuable. When you are on a walk or bike ride – just take 10 seconds to thank God for the weather. For time to just be outside. When you are coloring, thank God for the time to be together and the creative minds He’s given us. When you are putting dishes away, thank Him for whatever comes to your mind. When you are saying “no” for the 100th time, ask God for patience and calmness of heart. When you’ve asked your child to do this or that and they aren’t listening, ask God to change their mind frame, but also maybe give you a different idea on how to ask.
I have also found podcasts (listening to a talk online), to be extremely influential as well. Even though I may not catch all of the broadcast, the little nuggets of wisdom I do catch, can make or break a day as well. I found this to be one of my new ways to soak in all that I can of God during a day!
During my most desperate times in life, when I haven’t been able to pick up my Bible and devotional, it’s been those times that I’ve never felt so close and desperate for God. The nights when I couldn’t even barely talk I was so sick, I remember thinking about God and wondering, “Can I do this?” The nights when I was in so much pain that only God could take it away b/c no pain med was helping, I could only ask God. And He delivered, time and time again.
But it doesn’t even have to be while lying in a hospital bed, desperate for relief. What about while driving in the car? While making supper? While in the shower? While doing your hair? Merely thinking about God, puts your mind in such a different place. And in turn, your spiritual heart as well. For out of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Don’t get stuck. Don’t listen to the enemy. Listen to that still small voice that is always ready to listen and talk with you. No matter what time of the day. No matter if you opened up that devotional or not. Maybe you will be able to find that time again to do that in-depth study. Everything in life is a season. But don’t let this season go by without communicating with your Heavenly Father, who wants YOU.
Don’t get stuck on the legalistic. Get stuck in His presence.