How can I balance spending time with God with other commitments?
Life after the pandemic can sometimes feel overwhelming – we’ve gone from not being able to make plans to suddenly everything speeding back to normal at what feels like a faster pace than ever sometimes. I have definitely found it hard to get “back to normal” and still make time for Jesus in my every day routine. During lockdowns it seemed easy to create a consistent routine because not much was changing on a day-to-day basis but now, managing work commitments, church commitments, family commitments and a social life has made my days change on the regular and creating a consistent routine has definitely become harder.
Maybe you can relate? Maybe for you instead of work it might be school, college or university? It could be factoring in exams, coursework, hobbies and sport commitments? Whatever it is, I know we all have a lot more going on again than we did!
One thing I’ve learnt is to not beat yourself up for struggling with this – the worst thing we can do when trying to establish positive routines in our life is to tear ourselves down whenever we think we’ve failed. Routines take time and an important thing I’ve learnt is that they absolutely don’t need to look the same every day.
The definition of a routine is “A sequence of actions regularly followed.” It’s not “Doing the same thing at the same time, every single day.”
This made me approach how I balance my time with God on a day-to-day basis in a whole new way, and I’m going to share a few pointers with you…
1. Look at things afresh each week. Just because a plan worked last week doesn’t mean it will this week, especially if your commitments aren’t always consistent. Planning your routine on a weekly basis will help you to make realistic expectations and a plan that feels achievable, as well as also helping you to make sure you actually aren’t over-committing in other parts of your life too! Maybe if it feels impossible to make time for God you know that you’ve got too much on your plate right now.
2. Think about what different ways you can connect with God so you can switch things up a little. Maybe a few days a week are focused on reading scripture and then another day could be to listen to a message or a podcast that will encourage or enlighten you. You could also factor in a day or two where your quiet time is devoted to some worship and prayer. Think about how long you can set aside time in each day – some days might be 30 mins and some days could be 10! It really doesn’t matter, it’s about setting aside that time for God and giving him your attention, rather than worrying about whether it’s as long as a devotional time someone else is having!
3. Are there any apps or books could you use to help give direction to your devotional time? I recently read the book “Something you once knew” by Joshua Luke Smith and I used that at times as my quiet time with God, because although it wasn’t a specific devotional book, I was still learning more about Jesus through it. It’s not only the bible that God can talk to us through! Not long ago I came across the Glorify app which has also been great at helping me connect with God, and because it’s an app I sometimes use it on-the-go when I have a particularly busy day but don’t want to wait til the end of the day (because I know I’ll be really tired then!) So I find being able to plug in my headphones and zone out to some scripture and worship music helps me to have a moment of one-on-one time with God from wherever I am!
4. Don’t underestimate the power of constant small talk! I am someone who regularly voice notes some of my friends, there’s a few that I have a daily constant flow of conversation with as we back-and-forth reply to each other, and although it might not be a solid 20 mins of dedicated time in one go, we do life together because we are in constant communication. We know the insignificant details of each others days – where I went to get a coffee that day, where they went for their morning walk, whether I was on time for work, if they made it to the gym – the small details that we don’t deem important enough to start a new message with someone for. But the thing is, these insignificant moments actually build up a deeper connection with each other, they give little insights into who we are that may otherwise go unseen. I also have this same sort of relationship with Jesus – I will sometimes just quickly ask him something, have a little vent about something or give thanks for a moment of unexpected joy! It’s these small, every day conversations that become the significance of always keeping Jesus in my every day. My go-to friend who I don’t need to pull out my phone to voice note, I can just engage with in the immediate moment because he is always there and always listening. I believe that as a God who delights in His creation, he must really love it when we choose him to be part of even the smallest moments!
No matter how much or how little time you are spending with God remember how much he delights in you and values every moment in his relationship with you. ‘The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. ‘- Zephaniah 3:1