We’ve all been there. We want to spend time with God but don’t get around to it. Or, we start and stare into space. Frustrated, we move on with our day and wonder why it’s just not working.
In an earlier post, I shared 8 reasons why our devotional times are boring and inconsistent. And, by implication, 8 ideas for turning things around.
Here are 8 more:
- You’re not meditating or slowing down. Sometimes we feel like we need to get through a certain amount of bible reading. But we don’t slow down to think and pray about what we’ve read. (Those of us who are achievement-oriented are especially prone to this). Imagine what would happen if, when your timer went off, you told your girlfriend it was time to move on. (The responses might not be printable, right?)
- You’re obsessed with school or your career. Our careers – and the education we need to prepare for them – are from the Lord. But, they can be like bottomless pits that always demand more. If we’re looking to them for meaning and value, they’ll crowd out meaningful time with God. If you find yourself saying, ‘I just don’t have time’ for God, or race through your devotional times to study or start work, that’s a huge warning sign.
- You’re not connecting your time with God to the rest of your life. When we never apply our times with God to the rest of our lives, it’s easy to wonder why we bother at all. This is not to say we look for something easy to tick off. Instead, we should prayerfully ask God to show us how our times with him can overflow richly into the rest of our lives.
- You’re not taking enough time. Just as with human relationships, we won’t spend the same amount of time with God every day. But, we can’t relate to God on the fly, either. The quality and quantity both matter.
- You’re giving God the leftovers. Examples: having our devotional times just before bed when we’re exhausted, or, over breakfast for 5 minutes. I know one pastor who said there was a long period in his life where he only had time to relate to God in the shower. That’s definitely better than nothing, but I think it’s hard to go deeply that way.
- You don’t open your heart to God. It’s entirely possible to read our bibles, pray, and sing without ever being vulnerable to God. In the same way it’s possible to spend time with a person but never really let your guard down. But when we share what’s truly on our hearts, and invite God to do that with us, amazing things happen.
- You let your kids interrupt you too much. Kids can be trained to interrupt you less, but in my experience you can only do so much. Especially with younger kids. Far better to choose a time early in the morning or late at night when they’re in bed. Or put them in a soundproof crate. (Just kidding).
- Your prayers are like a shopping list. It’s so easy to talk to God like he’s a vending machine. And miss telling him all that we appreciate about him, acknowledging what he’s done for us, and, saying we’re sorry when we’ve come up short. Any healthy, balanced relationship includes all these things. See the Psalms for some great examples.
So there you go. Eight more reasons your times with God aren’t life-giving or consistent. I’ve seen – and many times still see – all these patterns in my own devotional times. I’m guessing you do, too.
The good news is that, in seeing the problem, we can move toward a solution – and God – with his help.
Let’s live it out: Which of these patterns do you see in your own relationship with God? Take a moment now to confess anything you need to, and ask God for help.