Is making time for God a challenge for you? Do you have a to-do list for your to-do lists?
This morning in prayer, I cried out to God to be led only by Him, to trust Him more, and to do His will.
I felt that His response was to spend more time with Him and learn from Him. So immediately, my flesh screamed, “Ok God, I will wake up every morning and spend at least 15 minutes a day with you consistently. I will stop putting other things before you and I will do this and I will stop doing that.” Before I knew it, I could start to feel the pressure and burden of what it meant to spend time with God.
Do you do that too? Hear a word from the Lord, and immediately go into ‘take-control-mode’; print of a year-long calendar that will track your ‘time-with-the-Lord-sessions’; buy a nice new journal that would track your conversations and turn the whole thing into a production? I’m so guilty of this!
I believe I heard God say in this moment, “It’s not your job to figure out how you’re going to spend time with me. Let me do the figuring out. Your assignment is to just tune in to my voice. And, you don’t have to put me on a to-do list. I’m right here, right now, and I’m always here so don’t make it a morning thing; talk to me all day long.”
Amen and ouch! I’m so grateful that I serve a living God who talks to me. As I thought about it, I realized that my need to plan and figure out how I will consistently spend time with Him is based on my fear that if I don’t schedule time with Him, I will forget, or that He will not make my already over-full to-do list. But He shows me that without Him, my life is just an ongoing confused mess of to-do lists. It seems silly (and embarrassing) when I think about it. I ‘say’ that God is the most important thing in my life, yet I sometimes don’t make time for Him.
When we make to-do lists, we tend to focus on the urgent, the immediate, the crisis. The permission forms for school need to be handed in tomorrow; the dishes are piling up in the sink now; your husband or kids need you to find their socks now; the library books are over-due; the phone call that you’ve been meaning to return for weeks. All these urgent matters can easily take the place of spending time with God if we allow them.
The problem with prioritizing your schedule
In the past year, God is teaching me about the need for prioritizing–it’s one of the topics in our Breakthrough program. The lesson I’m ‘slowly’ learning that I want to share with you is to schedule your priorities instead of prioritize your schedule.
- When we prioritize our schedule, we focus on the urgent things which are not necessarily the most important.
- When we prioritize our schedule, we focus on immediate short-term needs instead of long term, future-based necessities.
- When we prioritize our schedule, we focus on other people’s demands on us instead of focusing on what God wants from us.
- When we prioritize our schedule, our list continues to grow, we get more frustrated and feel like we will never have a moment’s peace.
The solution of scheduling your priorities
- When you schedule your priorities you can focus on what’s important and learn to leave the rest for another day.
- You feel accomplished knowing that you’re moving your big goals forward.
- You have a sense of peace knowing that you are in alignment with what God has called you to do.
- You can sleep at night knowing that you’ve done your best.
- You no longer feel frustrated and feel like you’re spinning your wheels.
- You feel a sense of peace and contentment.
- You feel like you’re accomplishing your goals and your life is moving forward.
- You feel confident that you’re hearing from God because you’re not frazzled with 100 things to-do everyday.
How to do this practically
- Spend time in prayer and understand your priorities.
- Schedule your priorities into your day before anything else. For example, schedule prayer time, exercise, and quality time with family BEFORE laundry, returning calls, checking emails or Facebook. or watching T.V.
- Once you’ve completed your priorities, then move on to the other items on your list.
- Take time every Sunday (or another day that works for you), scheduling your priorities for the week and spend a few minutes before you go to bed each night to plug your priorities into your schedule.
- Make your priorities non-negotiable. This will take much time and prayer but your goal is to get to a place where you honour yourself enough to prioritize what’s important.
The practice is bringing a lot of peace and clarity to my days. When I spend time with God before anything else, my days run a lot smoother and I feel more equipped to handle whatever comes my way. When I miss my morning time, I feel like I’m trying to catch up all day. It’s a process and I pray that you will join me in learning how to schedule your priorities.
Study one or more of these scriptures:
- Direct my footsteps according to your Word; let no sin rule over me (Ps 119:133).
- But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matt 6:33).
- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:2).
- For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Lk 12:34).
Pray this Prayer (by Laura Roehl):
Lord, I confess all too often I let life’s distractions get in the way of keeping you number one in my life, and then I feel selfish for even thinking of making myself a priority! Thank you for your forgiveness, grace, and mercy! I pray that I will continue to reorder my priorities to be in line with you and your Word. Lord, give me strength so that I will soar on wings like eagles and find my rest in Your everlasting name. Revive and renew me, encourage me as I move towards total health. In Jesus’ name, amen!
Love and Blessings,