I can’t look back on my life and find a time when I didn’t think I was busy. First it was the demands of college exams, loud roommates, study hall, and late night jobs. Then came early married life with toddlers running around and fears that we’d never again get a full night’s sleep. Now I homeschool 4 kids, middle school to kindergarten, run a business full time from home, and I’m a single mom.
You see, I’ve always been busy, regardless of the circumstances in my life. Too busy in fact.
I spent the first 30+ years of my life making good excuses for not doing the things I said I wanted to find time to do. I’ve been too busy to read my Bible or pray, and even skipped church all together. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do these things. I was just always thinking there would be a time when I would be less busy.
Kinda funny, huh?
Well it wasn’t so funny when my perfect little life went up in flames. When I was pregnant with my youngest, my husband decided that this marriage thing wasn’t for him. In the wake of incredible heartache and pain, I got a very rude awakening in regards to what my spiritual life really looked like. When I needed God most, my 3+ decades of lazy Christian life didn’t have much to offer me. The few verses and stale prayers I had managed to hang onto weren’t enough to weather the storm.
I got desperate. I started actually reading my Bible and praying. I started longing to get to church and anxiously awaiting a few minutes of quiet to spend with the Lord. During those early days, I would sometimes read the Word for hours. I even read the entire Bible through 3 times in one year. Nothing in my time schedule actually changed. In fact, it got worse. What changed was me.
When I needed God, I found time for Him.
Friend, I’m not one to smack people around, but will you let me ever-so-gently give you this warning? We don’t just need God when our lives are in pieces. We need God today. Right now. We need Him to help us with all the little things in our lives that threaten to consume us.
I know it’s hard. I know what your schedule looks like. So I’m not going to just tell you to make this a priority and then leave it there. Let me show you practical ways that I sneak in time with God… even in this crazy busy single mom life of mine! I pray this will be a blessing to you as you look to find ways to fit God into your daily life.
Secrets to finding time with God
Start in the morning
No whining about how God doesn’t tell us what time we have to spend with Him or how your little Johnny gets up at 4am every day. Trust me, you’d be preaching to the choir. I’ve used all of those excuses too. The difference is, I stopped making them. Now that I’m on the other side, I can tell a difference in my day if I don’t start it with God and I don’t like that. Once I started, I became addicted to the benefits. You will too.
So let’s make the change tomorrow morning. Here’s the secret: don’t get all legalistic about it. You don’t have to study 8 chapters of commentary, sing 4 hymns, and recite a 45-minute prayer in order to get the benefit of starting your day with God. Just do something. Anything. And grow it from there.
I started with prayer. I’d get up, sit in a chair, and just talk to God. Sometimes it was only 5 minutes before my kids got up. I’m telling you, that 5 minutes of setting my mind on the right things changed the entire day for me. Then I added the reading of one psalm each day. Sometimes I followed it up with singing, sometimes I didn’t.
In the early days, I had 3 children under the age of 7 and a newborn. There was no one else in the house, so there were many days when I didn’t time it just right and couldn’t fit the Bible reading in at all. Over time I got better and my kids became more consistent. Many years later, they all know that they are not permitted to open my door in the morning. I only close it when I am having time with the Lord (not all night long) so they know to wait.
Now that my youngest is 5 and they all know not to interrupt, I spend quite a good bit of time with God each morning praying, meditating on the Word, studying, reading, and singing. Generally I spend about 30-45 minutes on this. I start at 6am and most days the kids don’t get up until 8:30. Once I finish my quiet time, I work for a while.
Here are the resources that I use most during this time:
- The Valley of Vision
- ESV Inductive Study Bible
- Treasury of David commentary series
- Wiersbe commentary series
- Prayer Journal
But please don’t wait until your kids are old enough to do that in order to start your day with God. You’ll miss so much! Start now and grow into it. Five minutes with God is better than zero. My schedule only came after years of consistent practice! Don’t get discouraged by that. Here are some solid resources that you could use in just 5 minutes a day.
- The Valley of Vision
- Hope for Each Day
- Morning and Evening (Daily Readings)
- Keep a Quiet Heart
- Meet Me in the Meadow
Fit God into your midday routine
The more I learned about God, the hungrier I became. I wanted to know more and experience more of His blessings. So I got a lot more creative about how I could do that. Aside from enjoying books with the children during our homeschool, I also spend time listening to sermons on Sermon Audio or the Podcast app. There are so many great preachers out there to enjoy! I also listen to godly music throughout my day which serves as another reminder of what I want to be focusing on.
Of course, you can’t trust a preacher just because he has a sermon on these apps. Do your homework and make sure he’s solid. Here are a few of my favorites:
Consider an evening routine
When the kids were very little, the bulk of my study time was done at night when they were all in bed. I sold the TV for food and seriously never looked back. Spending time with God was so much better anyway! Initially, I used Bible studies written by reputable authors to help me with my study. Over the years, I began to move more into commentaries and study Bibles instead.
Now that I do the bulk of my study in the morning, I use the evenings for spiritual growth. I might pick up a little Bible study or a great book to encourage me in an area that I am struggling in. Sometimes I read for a long while. Other times I read just a few pages.
I love focusing my mind on good and pleasant things before bed. It makes all the difference in how I wake up!
Some of my favorite Bible study or Christian growth resources:
- Run the Race
- Walking in the Spirt
- Choosing Gratitude
- Keep a Quiet Heart
- God is More than Enough
- Changed into His Image
- Anything by Jerry Bridges
Other ways to find time
I wanted you to see my current schedule, but I know this isn’t always possible. When the kids were younger, I had to be very creative about finding time. I would take them outside and sit at the table and read my Bible while they played. Or put the little ones in the bath and sit in the room with my Bible while they splashed around. (Why do kids like that so much anyway?)
If things got super rough, I’d grab my Bible and go into the bathroom. Yes, they stick their fingers under the door, but it’s still quieter in there.
I also would spend the first half hour of nap time reading the Bible, if I couldn’t find any other time. Yes, this was sacred time to me and I needed to use it to get things done. But I learned quickly that God was more sacred and that somehow the dishes always worked themselves out.
Whatever stage of life you find yourself in, I pray that this post will help you find some ways to sneak in that much-needed time to refresh your soul. Don’t get caught up in being perfect. Just be obedient. The rest will come naturally.
Your turn===> do you have any secrets? Share them with us!