I used to feel guilty every time someone in church talked about spending time with Jesus every day. A few years ago, everything changed for me. I realized how tired I was. I needed more. I needed God, alive and present – and I discovered I had access to Him at any time.
Spending time with Jesus every morning isn’t something on my schedule anymore. It’s isn’t a line on my checklist or something to feel guilty about. Now, I look at it a lot more like getting filled with oxygen enough to breathe all day. It’s as if, without it, I’m only running on fumes, hoping to make it to the fuel station before my life stops cold.
Time with Jesus isn’t part of my life – it IS MY LIFE. Everything else I do is living that life out.
As much as I know this, and believe it – there are still things that get in the way. There are times I choose other things over truly living.
For me, it’s super practical. There are 3 things that can often get in the way of my time with Jesus. I thought I’d share them here – because, well, maybe it will help you, too.
What gets in the way?
- Bedtime – well, missing bedtime. As silly as this sounds, it’s a real thing. I believe in meeting with Jesus in the morning – it helps set my priorities for the day. If my life is my time with Him and everything else is living that out, I better know what I’m living out before my day starts. When I stay up too late, I inevitably press snooze, and then snooze again, and then snooze again.
How much sleep do you need? Start at the time you want to meet with Jesus tomorrow and count backwards the hours you need to sleep – that’s your bedtime. When I miss my bedtime, my time with Jesus loses. When my alarm goes off in the morning, I hear my heart quote Psalm 27:8: My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Tomorrow starts the night before.
- Technology. Please tell me I’m not alone in this. It’s like my hand has muscle memory. My alarm goes off, then I open my phone (thank you iPhone thumbprint – I don’t even have to remember my passcode . . .), and before I know it, I know what you ate for dinner last night, who had a baby, and what the weather is like across the country where Aunt Suzie lives – it’s snowing again, by the way . . .
Email is worse, at least for me. It’s inevitable that some emergency at work exists at all times. As soon as I open my email, I open my mind to the long list of TO-DOs with whichever email I read first at the top of the list. My morning – and my priority list – is hijacked before I even get out of bed.
My whole mind is now full of work and other people’s lives – where do I have room for the voice of Jesus? Instead of filling up on the source of life, I’ve already filled my mind with everything else. Instead of my time with Jesus fueling me to face these aspects of life with grace and wisdom, I face them on my own strength – which is always lacking.
I’ve got to receive before I consume. Everything else can wait – Jesus is calling to my heart. I want him to have some space to work with. Apps are off limits until I’m full.
I want to know what God thinks more than what others think: Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)
- Worry. This one is sneaky. Maybe I’m the only one, but my quiet moments are often filled with a long list of things threatening to steal my peace. What ifs seem to have an inordinate amount of power over me. To be honest, I can’t control the swell of worry inside me by pure will power – believe me, I’ve tried.
I’ve got to clear the floor. I once heard a great image of imagining a giant broom coming to sweep away all the concerns and worries and fears so we can have a clean floor – an open starting place. For me, it usually takes writing down the things I’m worried about on a piece of paper before I settle in for my time with Jesus. It’s kind of like exhaling so there is room in my spiritual lungs to breathe in all the good, clean oxygen Jesus is offering.
This scripture is true: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)We have access to the Spirit of the Living God.
The time we spend with our Savior by His Spirit is sacred – because it fuels our lives for the mission. I can forget this. I need to be reminded.
Let’s remind each other often.