Thursday, March 21, 2019

Don't Overthink Daily Devotions

When I Used to Overthink My Devotions

For the longest time, I struggled with confusion on how to conduct my daily quiet time with God. (Can you relate?)

See, I was born into a family deeply involved in church. From the time I was just a few days old, my parents brought me to service. And when I was in preschool, my dad graduated from seminary.
As a teenager, I started having a desire to go deeper into Bible study. I craved meat instead of milk, and I thought this required large amounts of time daily spent in meditation, memorization, commentary reading, and journaling. I felt if I wasn't doing all of that daily, I was only getting "milk."

When I went to Bible college and took a course on studying the Bible, those feelings were reinforced. I was taught that using Bible study books was relying on other people's interpretations instead of relying on the Holy Spirit to learn from God's Word. So I felt a lot of pressure to do daily devotions a very specific way.

As a result, I've had many seasons of life where
I just didn't spend time daily with God. I figured I couldn't do it at all unless I do it "right." I would procrastinate, constantly telling myself, "I'll have the time and motivation to do it tomorrow." And maybe I would, but then I wouldn't have another devotion with the Lord for several more months.

Stop Overthinking Quiet Times & Just Do Them!

Just a few months ago, God gracefully convicted me that it is way better to spend time with Him for 15 minutes a day than for an hour every 6 months! And in my current season of life with young children, so much of my mental energy is drained from tending to them. On top of all of that, my toddler and preschooler rarely let me get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night. The Lord illuminated my heart to His grace - it is okay to utilize a Bible study written by another God-fearing, true-to-the-Bible Christian, especially in seasons of life that hinder us from doing a self-driven study.

Really, the 2 most important aspects of spending time daily with God are:
  1. Bible reading. 
  2. Prayer. 
That's it!! 

And pretty much any good Bible study book worth doing contains both of those elements. God alleviated my guilt by helping me to understand that the Holy Spirit works in many ways, including through a Bible study written by a mature, growing born-again believer. Once I finally understood this, I felt freed to do a challenging Bible study consistently. (Currently, I'm working through Beth Moore's To Live is Christ).

How to Create the Habit for Daily Quiet Times

Are you struggling with knowing where to start with your daily quiet time with God? You are not alone! I've totally been there. It's confusing and frustrating. An awesome resource to use is the Ultimate Guide to Establishing a Daily Quiet Time. To get this super short, 6-page e-book (which includes a list of free Bible study resources and easy-to-follow flow charts), just plug in your information below!

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Setting Small, Realistic Goals for Your Spiritual Walk

Don't get me wrong, there is so much value to all the other stuff, especially memorizing Scripture and journaling prayers. But trying to accomplish all of that every day can prevent us from being still and knowing that the Lord is God (Psalm 46:10)!

After establishing the habit of daily time with God, I definitely encourage every believer to set higher goals of drawer closer to Him. A couple of suggestions would be to pick one day of the week to journal your thoughts and prayers and pick a Bible verse or short passage to memorize every month. But don't get so bogged down in idealism that you miss out on what really matters - an authentic relationship with your Savior and Lord!

What tends to stop you from spending time with God? What has helped you overcome these obstacles?

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