When I was 6 years old, my dad came home from a funeral for a little boy who had drowned. He was in tears, but not because he was sad. He sat me and my 5-year old brother down and told us that the little boy was with Jesus because he had invited him into his heart. Then he asked us if we wanted to do the same, and we said yes. That day we entered the Kingdom and I started my walk with the Lord.
More than thirty years later (I know, I’m showing my age here), my journey with God has had many ups and downs. Periods of intense intimacy with Christ has salted the road through many seasons of life, and carried me through the times I’ve spent at a distance from Him. At every hurtful loss or moment of anxiety, I become the prodigal daughter who comes running back to God with tears running down my face into open arms. Often times, I feel like those moments are the ones that punctuate my walk- a series of give and take as I struggle to become the woman God wants me to be. Even at 35, I’m not there yet.
Growing up in the Evangelical circle taught me a lot on the topics of Christian dating, music, modesty and maintaining my walk with God through regular quiet times. While I can look back at several of the social trends that were relevant at the time and laugh (thanks, but no thanks “I Kissed Dating Goodbye), I know the foundation was laid early on for having a close relationship with Christ. Some things still come naturally for me, like enjoying regular Sunday church services and listening to worship music. The hardest thing for me has been reading my Bible on a regular basis and it’s something I struggle with daily.
Here’s my confession: I don’t read my Bible every day.
I don’t know where exactly I first heard that you’re “supposed” to spend time in the Word every day, but it’s something that has honestly always weighed on my heart. If I’m being honest, I’ve felt the obligation more often than the desire in my adult years, as I struggle to check off everything on my to-do list. I’m constantly torn between relieving the stress of my day by getting things done, and adding one more guilt-ridden task to my growing list of responsibilities. Because that’s the truth: I feel guilty. And that’s really not what God wants.
I don’t read my Bible every day because I don’t want to spend time with God. I don’t read my Bible every day because my heart isn’t always in that specific act of worship and I think God desires TIME with me more than an action. Quiet time doesn’t only equal reading your Bible- it’s ANY time spent with God and if you’re a mom it’s probably not even quiet.
It’s waking up and asking God what He plans to do with your life today, and giving Him the power to do it.
It’s listening to worship music as you get ready for the day, work and drive.
It’s crying out to God in moments of sadness and anger.
It’s thanking him for your children and marriage, even in the midst of struggle.
It’s reading that one Bible passage you can manage in between a million other things and the devotional you sneak a peak at on your phone.
One of my favorite women speakers, Donna Jones one said, “Don’t make spending time with God complicated, make it consistent.” I can say with complete certainty that God would much rather talk to me through the day, be it through worship or quick prayers, then wait for me to sit down for a quiet time with my Bible that may never happen.
The biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome is getting past the notion that I’m supposed to read my Bible every day, but knowing I’m still loved and valued by God when I don’t. Do I want to? YES. I know my soul is thirsty and can be quenched by the Word. I want to be well-versed in Scripture and be a light to others. I don’t write this post to advocate for a deliberate avoidance of a regular and daily quiet time. I want to be transparent but share that God’s heart is to be close with you, and that reading your Bible religiously is not the only way to get there.
So for now, I’m setting the guilt aside. One of the most beautiful characteristics of our God is that He meets us where we are. We don’t have to come to him perfect, we are only made perfect in Him.
How about you? How do you choose to connect with God throughout the day?