A month ago, I made the decision to intentionally spend time in the Bible at some point every day. Now, before you roll your eyes and say, "Well, that's great and all for you, but I just don't have the time to do that everyday," just hear me out.
Some days it might only be for 5 minutes, some days it might be for 15. Some days I sit down and get one verse read, and am then pulled away by my toddler or a client needing an immediate deadline met, so I only get one verse read. Some days I get through a whole chapter.
I had come to a place in my life where I said the same thing, "I just don't have the time right now to read my bible." I made excuses as to why I wasn’t spending intentional time with God, some were even great reasons — but excuses nonetheless. It sounds awful, but the very idea of sitting down and spending even 5 minutes in the Word was more like a dreaded chore to me.
I made time for everything else and told God, “IF I have time for you at the end of my day, when my house is clean, when I’ve had time to catch up on my shows, when I’ve cooked dinner, when I’ve finished work projects, when I’ve spent time with my husband, when I’ve had 5 minutes to myself — IF I have time, I’ll visit with you.”
I used my daughter as an excuse; “I can’t right now, because she needs me for ______.” Don’t get me wrong, children are very needy, but the truth was, I had just been using her as a crutch at this point.
I know better, but for some reason, I let legalism try to creep in and even tried to use the excuse that unless I could spend a certain time limit or read a certain number of verses/chapters a day, then it didn’t even count as spending time with Him — so why bother anyway?
I told God he could have my leftovers, if there were even any left to give.
I felt and could see the lack of my time spent with him reflecting in my day to day life, as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, as an individual.
Motherhood is hard. Doing things you don’t want to do is hard.
Just living in this world is hard.
To be completely honest, I knew the excuses were excuses. It all boiled down to one simple fact, that I didn’t want to spend time with God — Shocked? If you're thinking, "What?! How could you! You're a pastor's wife, a pastor's daughter, a believer."
I hate to burst your bubble, but pastors and their families are just like you.
We go through seasons where we get upset with God, we battle anxiety, we have fears, we have anger, we become worn out and want to just hide away from the world sometimes, we even have seasons where we don't want to talk to God or read His Word. We struggle with trusting God, with waiting on His timing, we even struggle to see His goodness sometimes.
Pastor's and missionaries, and anyone who "works" in a specific ministry type of workplace, are the exact same as you, sinful human beings, redeemed by a sovereign God.
I was in a season where I was a little frustrated with God, and taking time out of my day to sit down and talk with him, read letters from Him and listen to what He had to say wasn’t something I wanted to do.
My cup wasn’t just empty, but I felt like there was a crack in it, never allowing it to fill up again; I just couldn’t hold anymore, and I thought if I sat down and listened to what He had to say, that He might ask me to do something else — He might ask me to invite a friend over for dinner because they’ve been lonely lately, He might ask me to bake cookies for the elderly lady down the street, He might ask me to open up my house to someone for a couple of nights, He might ask me to reach out to the mom who's been struggling and offer to babysit her children for an evening, He might ask me to spend another afternoon with my husband, cutting out 140 stars, so that he doesn't get behind — and as selfish as it sounds, I just didn't want to do anymore.
I would feel His tugging, asking me to just sit down and spend some time with Him, to which I would either try to ignore, or simply try to tell Him, "God, I just don't think I can take on anymore, I can't invest in any more people right now, I don't want to take on anymore, we can talk later."
But later would never come.
After an exhausting amount of time of me trying to barter, argue and ignore my way out of spending time with God over and over, the conviction finally became unbearable and I said, "Okay, you win. I don't want to, but I will. Let's talk, I'll listen."
So at the beginning of December, I made the decision to sit down daily and spend time in His Word. Maybe it sounds silly, but that first week was HARD.
Guess what though? After a month of consistently making the decision to spend time in the Word, I’ve found myself not looking at reading and spending time with God as something that I have to do, something that I dread or as another item checked off the to-do list, but something I genuinely look forward to each day. I crave that time.
I even find myself sad on the days that I may only get 5 minutes. When my devotional is over, I find myself still digging in and trying to read more scripture, not even related to what was in my study that day.
I've fallen back in love with the Gospel, with learning about God's character, His faithfulness,
His promises, and how deeply He loves me and His people.
Don't think it's this easy every day though. I still have days where I contemplate skipping or try to tell myself, "I'll just watch a little Netflix first," or "I'm going to do a little work, then I'll read." Discipline is key. When I start to have those thoughts, I shove them away, just as quickly as they come. I sit right down and open up the Word, not even allowing myself the chance to do anything else.
The thing that took me by surprise the most was that the very reason I kept running from God, was that I didn't want to do more. I felt depleted, exhausted, drained of everything that I had, and when I finally went to Him, He didn't ask me to do more (though, the more time I spend with Him and His Word, the more I've found myself longing and looking for ways to serve and love others, ironic much?)
He didn't tell me how I should be feeling guilty for not wanting to do more.
He said, "I see you're tired. Let me give you rest. I've missed you."
You see, God isn't this dictator like figure, waiting with a to-do list and rules, ready to point out all your failures and shortcomings when you've messed up, constantly asking you to do everything, and reminding you of everything you haven't done.
Does God call me to live a life where I may feel exhausted and weary at times, due to loving and serving others? Yes. But, He also calls me to live a life of coming to Him when my load is too heavy; when I become weary, He calls to me to give me rest. He calls to me, because He genuinely loves ME, He loves spending time with me, He longs for me to come to Him for comfort and peace, allowing Him to be my strength.
So if you've been struggling with spending time with God, whether it's out of fear, or frustration, exhaustion or anger, whatever the reason may be, go to Him. He sees you exactly where you're at, and He's waiting with arms open, ready to both talk with and listen to you.