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How to Keep Growing Spiritually When Your Life is Busy
Four strategies for spiritual growth in the midst of a hectic schedule.
This week I return to my full-time job after two months off for the Summer. The Summer is a great time of growth for me, as I get to spend unhurried time in God’s word and have more time to devote to spiritual disciplines.
Starting in a couple of days, I will be gone at least nine hours every day and clock eleven many days in the fall. Every year when this time rolls around, I have to think about how I will intentionally keep growing as a Christian while my schedule is overwhelmingly busy.
I’m not alone. Everywhere you go, if you ask people how they are doing, they will usually reply, “Busy.” We are tempted to run from work to activity and back to work while neglecting our spiritual lives.
Here are four ways you can continue growing as a follower of Jesus, even when life is busy.
Do Not Forget What Matters Most
It is possible our being too busy is the result of doing too many things that don’t matter, but more times than not, we find ourselves stretched thin doing important things. However important what we are doing may be, we can never lose sight of the most important thing–our walk with the Lord.
We frequently fall into the trap of saying, “I can’t find the time to…,” falling into the trap of thinking that we are magically going to discover the time we need for important things. Life doesn’t work that way. If we want to devote time to what actually matters, we are going to have to make time for it. We will have to plan it and prioritize it.
Read the Bible First Thing in the Morning
I realize there are exceptions to every rule, but for most people, it would be wise to read the Bible before going to work. By the end of the day, we are too tired and our brains are too drained to think clearly. The Bible demands our best attention and for most of us, that means first thing in the morning.
Develop a routine. For me, I stick my breakfast in the oven and read for the 20 minutes that it is cooking. You’ll figure out what works best for you. Make sure you have a plan for reading the Bible. Don’t spend half of your Bible reading time flipping through trying to find something to read. Your plan can be to read through a devotional book or to read through a large chunk of Scripture. The plan isn’t the important part–the primary objective is to dive straight into the Bible before you start the rest of your day.
Prioritize Your Prayer Life
The next time you read the book of Nehemiah, pay attention to how he prays. There are sections in Nehemiah that contain longer, more formal prayers. Then, Nehemiah finds himself in a difficult situation and he prays a quick prayer for God’s help. This provides a helpful framework for us to think about our prayer lives.
We need periods of uninterrupted prayer–it may be ten minutes or thirty, but it should be focused on the Lord and him alone. Then, during the day, we pray as life puts us in situations where we need God’s help. The Lord frequently orchestrates the events of our days to remind us how much we need him. When those times come along, stop and offer up a quick prayer.
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Don’t Fill in Gaps with Social Media
As time goes along, I am finding that time on social media is an enemy of my joy in the Lord. The problem is that I have quite a few two to five-minute gaps in my day. It is tempting to fill those times with “just a quick check” of social media that inevitably makes me angry or frustrates me.
Think of what we can do with all of the time we use for “quick checks.” We can pray, memorize a Bible verse, relax for a second, read a couple of pages of a book, or carry on a conversation with a friend. Each of these activities is a million times more rewarding than a scan through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
You have enough time to grow as a follower of Jesus, even with a busy schedule. Prioritize your time with the Lord and fight for it. Don’t fritter away small chunks of time, but instead invest them in ways that will bear fruit in the long run.
For Further Reading:
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney
The Common Rule by Justin Whitmel Earley