I don’t have time. I really don’t. I have five kids I homeschool, I write a blog, I make all the meals, plan all the activities, and run all the errands. I have a couple of part time businesses that I run, and I would try to work out, hang out with my friends, and set aside a date night with my husband each week. And still, my life feels leisurely compared to many people’s life.
I don’t have time and you don’t either. Except, what is time, but energy?
When it is there on our calendar in front of us it is simply a dimension that exists, but as soon as we put pen to paper and start filling it up it becomes something with movement and direction. Time becomes the energy and we make a million choices of where to spend it.
You can’t make heat without energy.
And it seems the thing most of us are the least willing to give to our faith is our time.
I’ll never forget back in 2008 when I sat in that pew bawling my eyes out. I had come to the end of myself and found Jesus there. So I printed out a year in the Bible plan because I wanted to keep the fire. And I read through it too, faithfully. I almost understood nothing.
So I did it again the next year. And I kinda started to get the story arc.
So I did it again the next year. And the next year. And the next year.
After five years, I was finally starting to understand some of the ways that redemption was written in every narrative. I was getting glimpses of who God was enough to make me shine from being in His presence.
If I had known it would take five years when I started, I probably wouldn’t have taken the time. But one day at a time, showing up and asking God to show me, he did. It just took a long time.
But indeed pride goes before the fall. Or in this case the summer. My kids are bigger and we’d been staying up later, and so getting up earlier wasn’t an option. And the days were so loud and there were so many activities to do. Somehow my time just slipped right out of my hands.
And when it slipped away, my fire faded away.
But the problem was that when the fire of my faith faded, the energy to engage with the rest of my life faded too. And I just couldn’t even anymore.
Through the fog of apathy, I felt the spark. Just a word someone dropped. An encouraging text. A husband who never let go of my hand, ready as soon I was ready to pull back up to my feet. So one afternoon, well before we had gotten back into good bedtime habits, I scrolled up on my phone and did something I hadn’t needed to do in years. I set my alarm.
I made time.
Because what is time, but energy.
You can’t make heat without energy.
If we want the kind of transformative faith that moves mountains and provides deep wells of peace, we are going to have to give it the kind of energy it takes to maintain that.
A few practical guidelines:
1.Make a Plan
Set an alarm. Decide on a place. Put your Bible there, put your prayer notebook there, a candle, an action sheet, whatever it is you need to fan the flames. Next make sure you know where are you are going, pick a book of the Bible. I find it helps to have an actual bookmark in the book of the Bible I’m reading. On mornings it’s really hard to get up, you’d be surprised what can trip me up, the struggle of finding my place can overwhelm me. Come prepared with a plan.
2. Be Practical
Yes, you want to get it all and get it all now. It doesn’t work that way. If you only have ten minutes give that ten minutes you all, but don’t plan to read an entire chapter of the Bible, understand it, pray through an entire prayer journal, and give yourself five practical ways to walk in obedience for the day. That’s not going to happen. If you are reading a really difficult passage, you might only make it through a couple of verses. If it is something more straight forward (like James) you might be able to make it through a whole section. Same with prayer. Same with practice.
3. Get Guide
Find a great teacher to walk you through the Bible. Here is the key though, it can’t be someone who uses the Bible to teach, it has to be someone who teaches the Bible. You will never get a full and rich picture of who God is by grabbing a little here and a little there. So whether you find an app, a bible study (not a book study), a podcast, or a commentary find someone who can help teach you through it. Also key: study first for yourself, then go to your guide.
4. Have Grace
Some days you will get up early, read something beautiful, and have three points of practical application. The next day? You will probably be frustrated that it didn’t happen again. Or maybe you just straight up forgot to fan the flames today. That’s okay. Start back tomorrow. It’s not over, you didn’t get too far behind, and no one is keeping score. In fact, the score has been wiped away, you are in it for the love of it. Let the love draw you back.
I want to know, what is your biggest struggle when it comes to staying faithful?