Your mind gets distracted. Life gets busy. Your thoughts become occupied with figuring out what to do next or solving a problem. Your heart becomes filled with frustration or anxiety or fear or bitterness or pressure. The urgency of life seems to overtake your decision to spend time with God.
Perhaps somewhere there’s someone who’s super spiritual and for whom spending long periods of time with God happens without effort. For me and most of the rest of us, finding ways to spend time with God only happens by being intentional.
As with any human relationship, our relationship with God has many dimensions. Different seasons of life and our unique personalities color how we experience our relationship with God at various times. But there are some common threads we can take advantage of at any time to improve how we spend time with God.
God built us to be part of a community of believers, and I hope you’re involved with others in growing your Christian faith. Worshiping together with others is a powerful way to connect with God. But here I want to focus on 5 ways you can spend time with God individually even when you’re busy.
Time With God
For years I read the Bible alone almost every day. I still consider that one of the most important ways in which God grew me and prepared me for my life now. But I’ve also learned several other dimensions of spending time with God that hopefully will help you also.
- Read the Bible in a new way. If the way in which you read the Bible now is meaningful, keep doing it! But if not, try something different. I have the Bible app on my smartphone and my tablet. I can listen while I’m driving, or read in a different version. Try reading out loud; both seeing and hearing Scripture can make it come alive in a new way. Sign up for a Bible reading plan or devotional email list.
- Incorporate music. During periods of time when I was feeling at my lowest sometimes the only thing that would break through to my heart was worship music. I just saw again this video that has kept this Scripture song going through my head over and over. I talked this week with a young lady whose life was completely changed after she felt God directing her to switch her radio station to one which played Christian music. Find music that ministers to your soul, and listen often.
- Dump your emotions before God. The cloud of anxiety, busyness, fear, confusion, or bitterness filling your soul may well be keeping you from hearing God’s voice clearly. Begin your prayer with a few minutes of laying it all out before God – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Cry or scream or plead if you must. Get it all out there. Doing so is one of the best ways to allow God’s Spirit access to the deeper parts of your heart.
- Learn to listen. Once your own emotions have been spilled out before God, once you have heard His Word through your eyes and ears, pause and be still. (Psalm 46:10) I’ve often found that focusing on some of God’s creation in nature helps me be still, reminding me of how big God is. Consciously put your own thoughts and feelings on hold, and just listen. God will speak! Perhaps not audibly, and perhaps not every time or in the way you thought He would. You need to be quiet long enough to hear Him.
- Follow through. If you’ve come to spend time with God out of anxiety, fear, busyness, confusion, etc. it’s likely His message to you will include asking you to take some action. When you’ve heard His voice in your heart, following through will make it easier to hear Him next time. Do you need to say NO to something or someone? Do you need to forgive some hurt? Do you need to take responsibility for changing something in your lifestyle, or taking a risk in some new direction? Take action on it promptly.
You can incorporate these 5 steps in your time with God no matter how long or short you spend. There are times I’ve easily enjoyed an hour, two hours, or more in God’s presence doing just these things. You can also incorporate them in a 10-minute quiet time in the morning while drinking a cup of coffee, during your child’s nap, or while driving to work.
There’s no excuse to not spend time with God. He is eager to meet with you!
Your Turn: What works for you when you need to spend time with God? Has it made any difference in your life? Leave a comment.
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