By Quy Te
It is very common for many of us to be so overwhelmed by our schedules that when it comes to spending quality time with God, it can almost feel impossible. We experience busy days at work, responsibilities regarding our families, serving for our local church on top of normal weekly errands like grocery shopping. By the time we sit down to take a breath, it is time to sleep or start a new week again.
Surely this is not the life that God has intended for us.
I have come to realise that when I talk to the Lord and am honest about my time spent with Him, He helps to relieve the tension and vicious cycle of guilt I can so often feel. Rather than carrying the guilt of not spending enough time with the Lord or the heavy burden of never ending busyness, I am set free because I have told God what is on my heart. I will often pray something like: ‘Here I am Lord, imperfect and lacking in intention but please change my heart to have a greater desire to know you and help me prioritise time for you in my day.’
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10)
One step at a time
On average, it is said that 80% of New Year’s resolutions would have failed by the second week of February.
The common reasons for this to happen can be due to a mixture of reasons which may involve setting unrealistic goals, burning out, having the inability to break bad habits or having a lack of motivation. And now in the fast-paced world of social media, we are just as fast to compare our lowlights to everyone else’s highlights so if we struggle we can feel all the more tempted to give up.
Be patient with yourself and invite God into the journey as you make a change. He knows what is on your heart and He will make a way for it according to His will.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (Psalm 27:14 )
It is important to be aware of what can come as a distraction to us. It is said, on average in the UK, we spend 3 hours and 23 minutes on our phones per day. Maybe your weakness is your phone? Maybe it isn’t but you have a different form of procrastination?
It is important to develop healthy boundaries on activities which may take away from our day. Whether this might mean leaving your phone in another room before you sleep or whether to give yourself a moment alone without having the TV on in the background. Find a place of silence and solitude. Give your heart and mind a break. These intentional moments are life giving.
If you feel you cannot keep from getting distracted, why not ask a family member/friend to keep you accountable and for them to pray for you?
‘For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them’ (Matthew 18:20 )
Picking the right time
Do you feel at your best in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
For me, I struggle to feel wide awake until 10 am and often lack energy towards the end of the night. I have tried many different time frames of when to spend time alone with God and I can say that neither morning nor just before I sleep allows me to offer my best to God. I have figured out that spending time after finishing work, just before dinner or during a point in the evening when the house is quiet allows me to offer my best.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
There is no set rule when it comes to prioritising time with God. Often it is a journey that takes time and patience. It is important to understand that this journey looks different for everyone. The Lord knows our hearts and He knows what we are going through. Take in a deep breathe, remember that you are not alone in your circumstances and that God is right there with you.