When you just don’t have the time… the Lord wants to spend more time with YOU.
Several times recently, I have heard of Susannah Wesley. She was the mother to John and Charles Wesley, two of the founders of the Methodist faith. She had nineteen children (nine of whom died as infants), but there was a time each day where she would go sit in her chair with her apron over her head. When she did that, her children knew she was spending time with the Lord and not to bother her. From her home came two men that were the founders of the Methodist faith. I think it’s safe to say that her daily quiet time ended up pouring into the lives of her children and helped form them into be God-fearing, Jesus-following adults.
Moms: it is absolutely fine to have a set time where your children know not to approach you unless it’s an emergency.
In fact, we have to put distractions aside sometimes to press into the Lord. (That’s why she used an apron!) Now, children are a blessing, not a distraction, and as they get older, they can be taught to respect your time with the Lord. I can’t think of a better positive influence on my daughter than to respect time with the Lord and see that it is important for herself as she grows into adulthood. Having a set time can help teach boundaries and responsibility. Those are never bad things.
In a culture where we feel we are not being good mothers if we are not at our children’s beck and call, we can easily overcompensate and raise children that aren’t capable, responsible, and respectful of others’ time. We can also swing the other way into ignoring our children if we’re not careful. If we want our children to be God-fearing adults one day, we need to show them a life wholly committed to the Lord – and that begins with the way we spend our time.
Now, despite the tagline, I DO think every effort should be made to get up and spend time with the Lord each morning. I know it just makes my day run so much more smoothly. He helps me prioritize my tasks and guides me into making the right choice in everyday decisions.
Even if you wake up later than usual, if you’ve got 5 minutes to spend in your Word and prayer, please take them! For those days that just don’t start right, or we need MORE of Him, here are 10 additional ways to find time to spend with the Lord:
- Turn on the TV for the kids. (Really.)
Sometimes as moms, we try to do it ALL. Including spend every second with our children or doing things for them or for our husbands or our home. Let me tell you, though, spending a set amount of time with the Lord each day rather than spending that time with your children will pay dividends in your relationship with them. When I walk away from time with the Lord, I know it was time well spent. It helps me deal with my daughter, my husband, and my housework with an attitude so much better than time without Him. Trust me on this: God doesn’t condemn you for putting on some (decent) form of entertainment for your children so that you can spend time with Him. Sometimes, they just wake up before we do, despite our best intentions.
- If you work outside the home, spend your lunch break with the Lord. If you work inside the home, institute a quiet time each day.
I’m not saying it’s easy, but I have done this. During the last year and a half while I was teaching (when I didn’t have a student teacher), I would close the curtain to my room, turn off my lights, and read my Bible on my iPad. People who thought they needed me (mostly to chat), would assume I wasn’t in my room, and people who were desperate to talk to me would knock and enter anyway. Did I miss eating lunch with my friends? Initially. However, spending time with the Lord gave me a peace my friends never could. If you work inside the home, institute nap time or quiet time each day and use that time to draw close to Him.
- Spend time exercising and meditating on the Lord.
We all know exercise is important; pray while you do it. If you can read your Bible while on a treadmill, go for it! If you want to listen to praise and worship in your earbuds, do it! If you find a preacher that you feel the Lord speaks through to you, listen to their podcasts.
- If you have kids, ask someone to babysit.
If you have kids and a husband, ask him to watch them while you work out. If a grandma lives close by, see if she will watch them once a week. She may offer to do it more than that! If you have a close friend, consider swapping time watching each other’s kids once in a while to get by yourself and spend some time with the Lord. If she finds it difficult to get alone, she may relish the idea of trading off with you.
- Take a trip to the local store. Pray on the way there and on the way back.
Maybe your go-to store isn’t Walmart, but wherever it is, I suggest either going by yourself or putting on Christian music for the kiddos to sing along to in the backseat. It keeps them occupied and it gives you time to relax and pray.
- Turn off the radio.
Pray when you drive. I’m all about listening to Christian music, but sometimes I just need to pray!
- Hang out in the bathroom.
You know, like the guys do… Forget the phone and talk to God. I promise He doesn’t care if you’re in the bathroom – as long as your heart is with Him. Not joking folks (well, kind of), sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! While you’re at it…
- Pray in the shower.
God will help you prioritize your day in the morning, or help you have peace in the evening. Let’s be honest, even the kiddos don’t generally follow you in there! (If they do, it’s time to start employing the lock!)
- Pray while you do laundry, dishes, or other mundane housework.
Trust me on this. God has spoken to me while I washed dishes, grocery shopped, and hung laundry. If you can talk to a friend while you’re doing those everyday chores, you can talk to the Lord – He wants to be your friend!
- Figure out what your biggest time-waster is… and turn it off.
Now, I know this one is easier said than done. It’s almost as hard as waking up earlier. I know for me, there is a particular Netflix series that I REALLY want to watch, but some days you just have to say, “No, Lord, spending time with you is more important than the siren call of my show.” You know, the one you want to watch while you’re prepping dinner, or at the end of a long day. If you’ve had this thought before, consider it your confirmation that the Lord wants to spend more time with you. Maybe you like to settle down and scroll across Pinterest or Facebook. I’ve even had a game on my phone that is hard to let go of. Turn it off this one time and you’ll begin to wander how much time you have spent doing things that don’t matter – compared to spending time with the Lord, which definitely does!
Am I suggesting that we aren’t to have any fun or any time where we just let our minds relax? Absolutely not! I am all about having fun, spending time with my loved ones (my daughter in particular), and relaxing in the evenings several days a week. We were not made to work every moment of every day without rest and relaxation. These are just ways I have found in my busy day to meditate (concentrate) on the Lord, which is always time well spent.
Are these methods a bit extreme? Perhaps, but sometimes you have to be adamant that you WILL spend time with the Lord.
Have I employed each one of these at various times? Yes.
Do I do each one each day or even each month? No, but I do usually find myself talking to God – and trying to listen – during the quiet moments of my day.
In fact, if none of these ten methods chimed with you as “do-able”, pray and ask the Lord to help you find moments in your day to call on Him, listen to Him, and read His Word. You won’t regret it.
If you’d like to read more about listening to the Lord, might I suggest my blog series, Breaking Busy?