I’ve noticed there is a question that inevitably comes up whenever a group of women are talking about life and roles and responsibilities in marriage. The question can be asked in different ways, but it basically comes down to this: How can I squeeze time with God into my already busy life?
Sure enough, a couple of week’s ago as we gathered with a group of married friends, a form of this question came up. As a group, we gave some sound answers to the question. We talked about prioritizing your time. Getting up early to meet with God before the demands of life start pulling on us and the other standard answers we have all heard in response to this question.
I continued to think about the question long after our gathering ended. It wouldn’t let me loose. The Monday after our gathering I went to the gym to run on the treadmill. Running is my go to form of exercise and stress relief. It has many benefits, one of which is that it helps calm my heart and mind, when I feel anxious. I love being completely focused on moving my body and the thrill of pushing myself to test my limits.
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8
As I was running last week, I experienced the “runner’s high”. I’m familiar with this feeling of being unstoppable. In that moment of euphoria I also remembered how much my body loves running. It used to crave it before I fell off the running wagon. I haven’t been a consistent, weekly runner for 3 years! That long hiatus caused me to lose my appetite for running.
One of the hardest things about running is taking the first step and pushing past all the excuses of why I don’t feel like doing it. The benefits of running only kick in once I push into it. If I can move past my initial resistance, I enter this zone where the more I run, the more I want to run. The more I run, the more my appetite for running increases.
We easily understand appetite as it relates to food, but our bodies have an appetite for all sorts of things besides food. The more we feed those appetites the stronger our cravings become. I fed my running habit through leading a running group and training for races for nearly 4 years. Once I stopped running, the craving went away. For the last 3 years, the desire to run has always been there, but because I stopped feeding my body this exercise, it no longer craves it.
Similarly, our soul and spirit hungers for a relationship with God. The more we feed that hunger, the more our appetites become accustomed to it. When we feed our hunger with spiritual junk food (distractions), we miss out on the more satisfying, deeper intimacy we could have with God. Matthew 6:11 is reminder we need spiritual food for our souls to be satisfied.
We need God. We need to be so hungry for him nothing else can satisfy us. He is our daily bread, our portion, the sustenance we need to sustain us through all of life’s tests and trials.
How do we make spending time with God, the primary source of our spiritual growth, a priority?
Change your expectations. We do this when we have our first child. We realize life as we know it will no longer be the same, so we establish a “new normal.” The time you have for prayer, bible study and sitting in the Lord’s presence may look different in one season of your life than another. Give yourself some grace. Maximize the time you do have.
Don’t forget what you’ve already been taught. Life can makes us forgetful. Keep reminders of what you already know around you. Journaling is powerful because we can use it to record truths God has spoken to our hearts about circumstances. Review it often to keep yourself moving forward.
Get started. The first step is always the hardest. Take one step in the direction you want to go and then take another step… and another step.
Pray without ceasing.(1 Thes 5:17) Acknowledge God through out your day, while you’re in the car, at work, making dinner, etc. If you are talking to Him all day, it will feel more like a relationship and less like a duty.
I have a suggestion for two free resources that will help you take a step in the direction you want to go. One resource is from me and one was created by a well known ministry.
- Download Proverb’s 31 ministries’ First 5 app to your phone. It was designed “to connect a woman’s heart to God’s Word the First 5 minutes of her day. First 5 will wake you up with a short teaching first thing in the morning, so you can exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world.”
- Listen to episode #5 of the StrongHer podcast. In episode #5 Ginger Ciminello reminds us that none of what we do amounts to anything if we have lost our desire to know God, intimately, personally, in the midst of our busy lives. Each of us has a soul. “You are the only one charged with the care of your own soul. Hearing the Lord’s instruction is not a task that can be delegated to someone else. “
JOURNAL USING THIS DEVOTIONAL PROMPT: What adjustments have you recently made to make your spiritual growth a priority?
You can also share your thoughts in the comments.