“Practice what you preach.” “Doctor, heal thyself.” Yes, I have to do the same things I tell everyone else to do. Sometimes it’s a challenge, and I do better in some areas than others.

I know sometimes people wonder how I do what I do, where I find the energy, time, or will to accomplish the things some of them wish they could do. So here is a window on some of my daily routine. And if you ask the people who know me best, especially my husband, you’ll find this is all true!

Over the next several days I’m going to share with you how I manage several of the areas in my own life, and I hope this perhaps gives you some encouragement in some area of your own.

Spiritual breakfast

Most mornings I spend the first part of my day connecting with God and feeding my spirit. Before doing anything else, I sit down with my cup of coffee, my reading glasses, and my Bible for some quiet time. I don’t focus on reading a given quantity of Scripture: I read until I know I have received some spiritual food, something that I need for that day. It may be a few verses, or it may be a few chapters. This is not study – that’s for another time. This is food!

And I pray. I don’t have a formal outline of what to pray, but I’ve learned NOT to spend most of my time talking. I will share with God what I’m feeling or struggling with, and where I want His intervention in my life and for those I care about. But then I’ve learned to be quiet and listen. Those times of listening and hearing His voice are the most important and precious of all my encounters with God.

No, I’m not perfect in this area. There are days when for a variety of reasons my quiet time doesn’t happen. Perhaps I’m on call at the hospital and rounds start so early. Or I have another early appointment. When I do have to set my alarm I’m not that great at setting it early enough to guarantee my quiet time.

But I’ve made this a “regular practice.” It’s part of my normal daily routine. When I miss it, I feel like something is missing from my day. I’ve missed spending time with my best friend, and my soul is hungry. When I DO have my quiet time, I feel like my mental attitude is so much more solid. I have an inner “substance” that I don’t get any other way. I don’t waste time feeling guilty if I miss a day, but the very next day I get right back to it.

Do I always see fireworks or “hear God’s voice” during my spiritual breakfast? Not at all. I truly experience this as a long-term relationship. The foundation is commitment – mine and His. I KNOW that God is committed to me with stronger love than an earthly husband could ever provide. And I’m committed to Him as strongly as my human heart can give. That carries me through the ups and downs of my feelings. I have times of joy and overwhelming excitement, and I also have times of sadness, frustration, and feeling overwhelmed. I take them all to Him, knowing that He has strong enough shoulders to carry it all.

And just like with human relationships, with ongoing commitment come the rewards. I trust Him more, and in some way I believe He trusts me more as well. When I look back, I can see what a difference this commitment has made in my life. But it would never have developed if I had been “on again, off again.”

So, that’s why I continue to value my spiritual breakfast. And why I will continue this as part of my daily routine.

What do you do to nourish your soul? Do you find time with God important? What does relationship with Him mean to you? I’d love to hear from you.