- Hang laundry
- Pay mortgage
- Finish quarterly report
- Dentist @ 11
- Defrost something for dinner
- Spend time in God’s word
Does your “to do” list look anything like mine? I really want my kitchen floor to sparkle, my family to eat home-cooked meals and my car to get washed (at least occasionally), but the days evaporate before I can get it all done. With an infinite list, I often feel overwhelmed and find that I neglect things that I should prioritize, like spending time in God’s Word.
Jesus tells us there is only one thing worth being concerned about (Luke 10:42). When he arrives to have dinner at the home of sisters Mary and Martha, Mary sits at his feet: to worship, learn from, and love him. We find her sister, Martha (replace with my name), busy and distracted by many things. As a younger woman, I struggled to understand why Jesus applauded Mary. I thought she deserved a good chastening for lollygagging while poor, frazzled Martha did all the work. But Mary had it right.
So why is it so difficult for us?
In 1640, British poet, orator and Anglican priest, George Herbert, wrote “Between the busyness of life and the day of death, a space ought to be interposed.” More than 300 years later, we still struggle with the same problem.
I know that when I spend time in God’s word, I am refocused, rejuvenated, and reminded of my priorities. I also know that it shouldn’t be an optional activity. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he commands readers to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. Then he tells us the benefit of doing so: you will be able to test and approve God’s pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
So why do I allow something as trivial as clean socks to keep me from it? In part, I blame the enemy’s diversionary tactics. He nags me with his mantra you don’t have enough time: the dishwasher needs to be unloaded, the garbage disposal is clogged, and someone just finished off the milk.
And I’ll bet he does the same thing to you. He sneaks around with a tactical plan customized to exploit our weaknesses and keep us from spending time with God (or tithing, or forgiving, or fill in an area where you struggle). That combined with our own weak flesh, leads to disobedience.
Then how can we succeed?
1. Begin in Prayer.
Our prayer can be as simple as asking God to help us focus on how to apply his word to our lives.
Be aware that it may take a while to get into the habit and some days it may feel like a chore. Stick with it and do not despise small beginnings! It is okay to start with a few verses.
3. Put God on your “to-do” list.
Putting God on your “to-do” list might sound like a completely irreverent way to approach meeting with the Creator of the universe, but having a list holds me accountable. If I write down “spend time with God,” I am much more likely to do it. So, if you are a box-checker, put God on your “to do” list, but remember that spending time with him is a privilege. If you exert the same level of enthusiasm as you do for cleaning the cat box—the cat might not notice, but God surely will.
4. Get Support: find a friend/Bible study/App.
When I find myself struggling, I ask a friend to read with me. We agree to walk through the Psalms or Proverbs—one chapter a day. Or we chose a study to do together.
Join a Bible study at your church or on line. Get a bible app (like She Reads Truth or Audio Bible) so you can read on the go or have the bible read to you. Set a goal to read the Bible in a year, then choose a reading plan and follow through (www.lingonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/ has 19 to choose from).
5. Get creative.
Find a method that works for you. Take one of these suggestions or scrap them all and come up with your own.
After a while, you might find you don’t need any of these tactics to keep yourself engaged. The joy of spending time with God will become so sweet that you may find him nudging you to get up and vacuum the kitchen.
About The Author
Karen currently studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where she discovered that she loves to write. She enjoys international travel, but these days more often finds herself at home in her Vermont horse barn or at her desk asking God to illuminate her brain so that she can finish her homework. While her teenagers fear she may begin posting on Instagram, for the moment, she can be found on Facebook. Her poetry has been published in Fathom magazine.