INSIDE: You know you are supposed to read your Bible and pray every day but life never slows down long enough for you to make it happen. You have your excuses…I mean “reasons” for not spending time with God every day – so do I. But it’s time to move past them, friend!
We gathered around tables in the fellowship hall waiting to find out why we had all been asked to meet after service. Our church didn’t have an official women’s ministry, but the female biblical counselor was kind of the spiritual mamma bear of us all. She genuinely cared about our families, our friendships, and, most importantly, our souls.
So when she called this meeting, we came even though no one knew why. She didn’t leave us wondering for long. As soon as we were all there, she sat in front of the group and opened with a very direct question, “How much time do you spend in your Bible every day?”
And I just couldn’t resist the chance to pop off.
In a half snarky, half teasing tone, I responded, “What time?”
Without missing a beat, she looked in my direction, pointed her finger directly at me, and said, “You been on FB today, friend?” and then turned back to the group and kept right on talking.
If a crater could have opened up in the floor and swallowed me at that moment, I wouldn’t have screamed for help. I was so embarrassed.
Here’s the thing, I knew that reading my Bible mattered but, at that time, I had plenty of excuses as to why I didn’t read it and I bet you have used at least one if not 2 or 3 of these yourself.
If I asked you the #1 reason you don’t spend time with God on a daily basis, what would you say? “Because I don’t have time!” If that is true for you, then you are just like most women I know…BUSY!
You will always find time for things that you enjoy. However, when the initial excitement of a new habit wears off, it suddenly becomes a lot harder to “find” time to keep up with it.
This is true of working out, eating healthier, saving money, and it is definitely true of reading your Bible and spending time with God.
How do I know? HA!! Girl, I have been there!! (You are not the only one with half-completed Bible studies and partially filled prayer journals.)
So right now, instead of finding time for God, you will make time for God.
#1 PLAN AHEAD. MAKE IT EASY.
Decide exactly which 5 mins of your day you will spend with God tomorrow and set an alarm on your phone. Then, grab your Bible, a notebook or piece of paper, and a pen. Put them where you will be spending that 5 mins. If you are at home, pause the episode and do this right now! This simple first step is small but powerful because it is you taking initiative towards making time with God a priority in your day.
How to PLAN AHEAD:
- Set your alarm for 5-10 min before you plan on sitting down so that you can snooze the alarm 1 time and finish up whatever you are doing.
- Consider when you are most likely to be successful at actually having these 5 mins available and the energy to make them count.
If mornings are hectic, don’t schedule your Quiet Time for the start of your day. If you know you usually hit a wall at 3 pm, don’t choose that time of day to try and focus. Be realistic!
- Consider how much time you scroll FB, IG, TikTok, Twitter, or playing solitaire on your computer… whatever time-sucking addiction is. before you open it, remember that 5 min with God matters more.
I told you what a gut punch was to me when I was called out during that meeting, but only because it was so true and I knew it. So do you, friend.
How to MAKE IT EASY:
Rather than fighting the friction that makes your Quiet Time hard, reduce it.
- If you chose the perfect spot to spend 5 min with God but your supplies are likely to get displaced during the day because they are in the way, grab a cute bag or basket to keep them in and tuck it away nearby so they are out of the way without being too far out of the way.
- Understand that you don’t have to plan for the same 5 mins every day! If mornings are better on Mon and Wed but not Tues, Thurs and Fri, do what is best for your schedule that day and set as many alarms/reminders as needed.
- Finally, if you find that you are constantly getting distracted by notifications on your phone, consider putting it on silent or sticking it in a drawer to make it less tempting to pick up. (Does this make you anxious? As hard as it is to imagine, the world will keep on spinning without you being available for 5 min. Promise 😉)
Trying something different is better than giving up so tweak your plan and keep going, even if that means missing a day and getting back on track the next.
Here comes excuse #2. Do you have a neverending To-Do List? You know the one that you never actually cross anything off of because the tasks are all reoccurring:
- By the time you get the laundry done, there is more to be washed, folded, and put away.
- You get everything prepared for this week’s meeting, but there is always another one coming up.
- And why, oh why, does your family insist on eating dinner every single night?!
You may have learned that adding “Quiet Time” to this list never works. Why? Because when it is just another thing you need to “get done,” you don’t prioritize it the way you should.
God’s not going anywhere, right? So it makes sense to take care of the more immediate needs and get to your Bible later…maybe…but probably not. Or, if you do sit down with your Bible, your ToDo list is fighting for your thoughts, making it impossible to actually get anything out of your Quiet Time.
And at the end of the day, either you feel guilty for choosing chores or work instead of time with God OR frustrated that you didn’t get anything out of the time you did spend reading your Bible.
U-G-H! It’s like you can’t win!! Though you may not have verbalized quite in this way before, you know it is how you feel. So how do you get past it?
Your WHY is what will motivate you on the days you don’t want to do what you need to do. This is true no matter what the goal is and that means it is true of growing your relationship with God too.
#2 ESTABLISH YOUR “WHY”
During your 5 min tomorrow, sit down where you gathered your supplies, grab that notebook or sheet of paper and write down an honest answer to this question…
“Why do I want or need to grow my relationship with the Lord? Why does it matter to me? Pour your heart out, friend. It doesn’t have to sound spiritual! How will being closer to God help you become the mom, wife, and woman you want to be?
Your reason doesn’t have to be pretty. It just needs to be honest. But the motivation behind growing your relationship with God can’t just be about “getting it done.” It has to come from being honest about who you are without Him and who you want to become through Him.
Now we can tackle what is likely the most frustrating struggle we busy moms face — squirrel brain!
Has this ever happened to you?
You read the verses, come to the end of the passage, and realize you haven’t taken in a single word. So you go back and start again but it is the same result. You want to pay attention, but you are thinking about the errands you need to run that day. Or maybe you are reliving a conversation (or fight) you had yesterday.
Or you didn’t sleep well last night and there isn’t a cup of coffee in the world strong enough to make you feel alert!
One of the biggest struggles many of us face is not being able to quiet our minds long enough to focus on what we are reading in our Bibles. Hello excuse #3!
So should you just give up? Unfortunately, I often did until I discovered the solution. How do you beat excuse # 3?
#3 WRITE OUT THE SCRIPTURE
Why write it rather than just read it?
The process of writing helps slow your brain down so you can focus on the words and help you actually connect with the Scripture you are studying.
Reading, writing, and rereading what you wrote will make it easier to understand and recall the verses later, even if you don’t remember them word for word.
How do I know it actually makes a difference? Besides my own personal experience, responses from women who have applied this practice to their daily Quite Time through my Find Your Faith study tell me they agree. I will put some of their comments in the show notes just in case you don’t believe me.
While you are on my website checking out the legitimacy of my claim that writing scripture is a huge help, you can sign up for the FREE 5 day email series that walks you through all the excuses we are talking about in this episode along with actionable steps to get past them. To make this particular step even easier, I also provide you a PDF download with 33 verses broken down by topics like stress vs peace, contentment, relationships, and more that you can choose from.
Okay, now we are going to dive into what I believe are the 2 most painful excuses we face when trying to grow closer to God —
Excuse #4 – not understanding what the Scripture means.
Excuse #5 – not knowing to actually apply it to our daily lives.
Friend, I have cried in frustration over these very struggles. My heart has desperately wanted to understand God’s Word but the Spirit just wasn’t moving in me.
The verses I was reading were just words on the page instead of life-giving nourishment for my hungry soul and I didn’t know what do to about it. And if I didn’t understand the Bible, how the heck was I supposed to live it out while caring for my family, serving in my church, running my business, and fostering friendships with other women?!
Can you relate?
While it is true that the Holy Spirit opens the Scriptures up to us, I have come to learn that He often requires us to put in a little effort.
Answering three simple questions will help you to be more sensitive to what God wants to reveal to you and will help you beat these excuses of “I don’t understand it” and “It doesn’t apply to my life today.”
#4 Answer the questions: WHAT? SO WHAT? NOW WHAT?
What does this passage of scripture say? Just summarize it in your own words. You don’t need to rewrite the Bible, just jot down the main idea of the verse.
If this is still hard, circle words that stand out to you. Look up their definitions and use some synonyms for them. You can also read the verses that come just before the passage you are studying and just after it for context and comparison.
The Bible was written by men but inspired by God and there is not a single word in it that doesn’t have significance to you right now, in your daily life, right in the middle of the chaos.
So next, answer the question “why does (or should) this passage matter? Why do I care?”
Need some help connecting those dots? Use one of the following prompts:
- The example here that I should follow is…
- The error here that I should avoid is…
- The Truth about God that I am learning is…
- The Truth about man (humans in general) that this passage reveals is…
- What I see God doing for His people is…
Again, all of this is in the 5 day email series so if you like it but won’t remember it 5 mins from now (my hand is up), there is a link in the show notes where you can sign up to get this all sent directly to you!
Finally NOW WHAT? Once you know the main idea of the verse and understand why it should matter to you, answer the questions:
- If I believed that was really true, does my life reflect that?
- IWhere’s the proof? If not, what needs to change about my life today so that I can live it out?”
Friend, this might be a hard question to answer, but not because you don’t know the answer. It may be hard because you might not like the answer you come up with.
But this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where the transformation happens.
This is spiritual growth.
There was a time in my walk with God that I was so spiritually dry, I had absolutely nothing to draw from. I would stare at the Bible page in front of me and beg God to show up because I couldn’t hear Him.
If this is you today, be encouraged.
Satan would absolutely love to convince you that God’s Word is irrelevant. He wants you to believe that it is just an old book that was intended for the people of “old times.”
Satan wants you to believe that the Bible doesn’t apply to your life. DON’T BELIEVE HIM!!!
One day at a time, with a few verses at a time, and really awkward prayers most of the time, I started to gain small insights and started to catch brief glimpses of God.
Like drips in an empty bucket, slowly, oh so very slowly, He began to fill me up.
When you sign up for the email series and get the pdf that breaks up this process that I shared today into little 5 min “pow-wows” with God, 5 days a week, it may not seem like you are doing much, But the small intentional choice you make each day will have a huge impact over time.
Developing this habit that will affect more than just your life, but the lives of those around you.
When you are close to God, you will feel the Holy Spirit working in your heart:
- affecting your decisions,
- shaping your responses,
- and changing your perspective regarding your circumstances.
And others will take notice. The transformation that occurs in you as God moves you from where you are now to where He wants you to be spiritually is impossible to ignore. It is the kind of transformation that saves marriages, breaks generational sins, and shines the light of Truth into a culture that is covered in darkness.
Remember, spiritual growth is not a destination, it is a journey. And while we are on it, God will continue to remind us that His grace is more important than our perfection.