It’s the busiest time of the year. When your schedule fills up, what’s the first thing to go? If you’re honest, you might admit that spiritual practices usually face the chopping block.
You aren’t alone. Most Christians struggle to spend time with God when they’re busy. As a pastor, I frequently hear some version of this, “I’d love to spend more time in prayer, Bible reading, etc…but I’m so busy!”
I feel the tension too. This past year I have overseen a church merger, building renovation, and fundraising campaign, all on top of my regular ministry duties. We are still adjusting to welcoming our third child into the family at home. All our kids are 3 years old and under.
Some weeks “busy” is an understatement. Yet, this year I’ve maintained consistent spiritual disciplines. No matter how full your schedule gets, keeping a regular quiet time is possible.
How can we do this?
Here are my top 5 tips for spending more time with God (especially in busy seasons):
1. Capitalize on the Commute.
How much time do you spend driving each day? If it’s more than 10-15 minutes, then you have a built-in opportunity to pray and listen to the Bible consistently. Turn off the radio, podcasts, and music. Find an audio Bible you like (I use Dwell) and start a Bible reading/listening plan.
Spiritual disciplines while sitting in traffic aren’t exactly a mountain top experience. However, I’m always surprised how my heart changes when it is full of Scripture upon arriving at the office. In the same way, praying on the drive home allows me to process the day with God so I can be fully present with my family.
2. Get the Family (or Friends) Involved.
Your relationship with God is essential, and so is your relationship with your family. You shouldn’t have to choose one over the other. Instead of compartmentalizing these two relationships, find ways to integrate them.
More than simply praying at the dinner table, you can create a bedtime routine with prayer and Scripture with your kids. Try reading the Bible or a devotional book aloud together as a couple. It will always be necessary to have alone time, but growing in your faith together will strengthen your family.
3. Stop Scrolling.
Your phone is probably the biggest thief of your time. Whether it is social media, online shopping, or news, there is never a good stopping point. To fight the temptation of endless scrolling, you have to put self-imposed limits in place.
Most smartphones have settings to decide the maximum amount of time you will spend on certain apps. Monitor the common culprits on your screen time and put app limits into place. Pro tip: Don’t put a time limit on your YouVersion Bible app!
4. Wake Up Earlier (or Go To Bed Later).
Don’t get me wrong; sleep is good for your health. I’m not advocating for sleep deprivation. But the reality is the benefit of setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier in the morning so you can pray before the household wakes up far outweighs the cost.
We have to find quiet places if we want to hear God’s still small voice. Unless you live by yourself, the early hours of the day are the most undisturbed. If you despise mornings, try staying up a few minutes later than the rest of the house.
5. Take a Break.
If you aren’t taking breaks at work, you should be. Technically, federal law doesn’t require employers to offer rest (or even meal!) breaks. If breaks aren’t part of your work culture, I’m sure you can convince your boss that short rest periods increase productivity. It’s scientific! Once you have permission, use some of that time to connect with God.
Even if you are a stay-at-home parent or don’t have a traditional job, taking a break is still vital. Leave the pile of dishes and put on a TV show for the kids. Spend a little bit of time resting in God’s presence or laying your heart before Him. Tradition has it that Susanna Wesley put her apron over her head as her “prayer closet” in a house full of 10 kids!
Busy, Not Hurried.
Jesus was insanely busy during his earthy ministry. Long before social media, Jesus was #trending. Wherever he went, thousands lined up to see his miracles and hear his teaching. “For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” (Mark 6:31)
Jesus was busy, but he was never in a hurry. Even when crowds crashed his spiritual retreat with the disciples in Mark 6, he still “went up on the mountain to
pray” (Mark 6:46). No matter what his schedule demanded, Jesus always made time to get away to the desolate places.
In this season, let’s learn from Christ’s example. Your soul craves rest in God’s presence.
What helps you prioritize time with God in busy seasons? Let me know in the comments below!
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