We look forward to summer vacations! Breaks in routine are great for refreshment and renewal. But sometimes changes in schedule wreak havoc with an established devotional time. How do we keep our study of Scripture fresh and free from avoidance (and the resulting guilty feelings) in the midst of our time-crunched busy lives? Some women shared personal solutions…
• One popped immediately into my head. Change of location… Grab your coffee/tea, Bible and/or devotional and head outside into the sunshine. I love doing my Bible study in the SUN!
• Technology has actually helped me so much in my personal Bible study and prayer time. I started the Reformation Reading Plan on the You Version Bible phone app, and even if I miss a day, it’s easy to catch up (and I always have it with me!). This keeps me focused on the “full meal” of reading right through the Bible, rather than depending on the “snacks” of a verse here and there. CLB daily prayer notes by phone are great reminders too.
• Use a devotional “app” such as First 5; She Reads Truth; The CLB App, Daily Prayer Notes, etc. Podcasts are my favorite, like Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s Revive our Hearts. I play it every morning while I get ready for work. I read Scotty Smith on the Gospel Coalition website as often as possible. He posts a prayer every day.
• The first thing that comes to my mind, living now with a full house that has brought much change to my life, is to keep your Bible, devotional, or app on computer or phone, readily available and visible—like on your dresser, the kitchen table, somewhere you often are. Take advantage of spare moments.
• I agree that summer schedules and breaks present a challenge to each of us. Bible study/prayer meeting on Wednesday night helps me throughout the week. I also found a couple of old devotionals that I will peruse during the summer. Most recently I bought a coloring book that focuses on spending time with God. It’s actually a devotional and then you can doodle and color the picture along with the devotional. I find that very peaceful and enjoyable.
• I make it something I do with the kids—they never forget when you tell them you’re going to do something! Since I’m that “mean mom” who makes them read every day, I sit down and do my reading as well. Get an accountability person…or several. Give yourself grace when it doesn’t get done. Think of people you haven’t encouraged for awhile and send them a verse—refreshing for both parties.
• Time in the Word? I put it on my daily to-do list, but catch myself making it “the next thing, after I finish this thing I’m doing right now.” I’ve found the best way for me to have daily devotions is simple. Take it any way I can get it, whenever the opportunity presents itself: reading a blog, a daily devotional text message, moments in my car before my daughter’s game, during lunch, or before bed. My favorite is with a cup of coffee sitting in the cool morning sun. I’ll take those days when I can get them, though they are rare. The one thing I can tell you is I feel better after spending time in the Word. God doesn’t fail. He puts the words in front of me that I need to hear, when I need to hear them.
Cheryl Olsen is the Faith & Fellowship correspondent for Women’s Ministries of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.