I am the queen of struggling to have devotional time each day.
Time and time again, I’ve been shown that nothing is more vital to my Christian walk than spending time with God. As I’ve grown, I’ve also seen that nothing has greater impact on my life as a whole.
Even so, something always seems to get in the way… A hectic work schedule, a heavy coarse load (and lots of reading, which doesn’t exactly inspire the desire to do any extra!), a newborn who doesn’t sleep, a move… At this point I think it’s safe to say that there will always be something in life that is so all-consuming it will detract from my devotional life. Unless I choose to make it a priority anyway, and find a way to keep trying in the midst of the chaos.
I often compare having a devotional life to having an exercise regime, probably because I struggle with exercise in the same way I struggle with my devotional life. Both are a discipline that take time to build upon.
When I first start a new workout regimen— especially if I’ve gone a while with *ahem* no exercise at all— it takes me a few workouts (or a few weeks) to feel as though I’m making any progress. Maybe I’m struggling to make it through my workout, or maybe I’m not being productive at the gym, but it generally is a discouraging phase of the process because I am not experiencing the benefits of the regimen. Rather, I’m probably sore, I’m unfocused, and I’m not terribly thrilled to be spending time doing something that feels like it’s not doing any good.
As time goes by, however, I get stronger, and the more diligently I apply myself, the more I get out of the workout. Eventually it becomes something I crave, something I recognize as a need, something I’m now willing to carve into my day even when it initially felt like the last thing in the world I had energy to do.
When I do a devotion after a period of time without spending regular time in the word or in prayer, it feels incredibly tedious; I get distracted, my mind wanders, and I feel as though I’m not progressing. But if I stick it out, my focus returns, and ever so slowly I’m able to see the changes in my heart beginning to take hold.
There have been times where I’ve felt shame and regret over my lackadaisical devotional life; why don’t I have more knowledge of the Bible? Why am I still struggling with this? I’m sure I’m not alone in that. It’s frustrating to struggle with discipline in such a major area of life.
And in all honesty, the precious time that has gone by is a powerful reminder of the importance of good stewardship. But just like with that new workout regimen, starting fresh is important— which means looking forward with hope. Change is possible, and there is enormous growth to be done!
I don’t have all of the answers. I wish I could recommend the perfect schedule to boost you right on into having a successful devotional time each and every day, but I can’t. For most of us, this is a process. Discipline doesn’t necessarily come easily. Little by little, our hearts change and thus, our desires and behaviors change as well.
After all, nothing worthwhile ever comes easily 🙂