“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.” Psalm 53:`
I’ve always considered myself a spiritual person. I’ve read through and studied the Bible through SO many times. I’ve spent tons of time in all sorts of prayer. I’ve been in ministry my whole life with the exception of one year in college. But through all that, I’ve not sustained a regular devotional time. How is that even possible??!! I’ve looked at people who wake up early every morning to read their Bible and pray as “religious”, as much as I despise that term and it’s lack of biblical support. That’s because I had somehow managed to keep my heart alive in God spontaneously, without discipline. Before I had kids.
My kids stole my focus. They snatched it from me and shattered it into a million pieces. Even with the advent of my first child, my life suddenly became about being productive. And I was so stinking busy that I justified the anemic state of my walk with God. I did pray and read my Bible. Minimally. Enough to keep my heart alive? Well …
I of all people know that you don’t pray and read the Bible to please God. I could preach a sermon about that. I could write a book. That was never my hangup. My issue was rooted in my anxiety, that I wouldn’t get enough sleep, wouldn’t get enough down time, wouldn’t get things done.
Then I got to the best place of all. I got desperate. I needed God to bring change to me, to my heart and my attitude. So I decided to do whatever it took to grab ahold of God and receive what He had for me. Everyone knows that the morning is the best time to seek God. I was casually reading my Bible at night, when I was exhausted, spent, and distracted. The kids were in bed, mostly staying in bed, but I was heartbeats away from nodding off myself. If I wanted to give God my best moments, I knew it needed to be in the early hours of the morning when the needy needers were not needing me.
So I took a leap of faith and told my husband that I would take my son to the bus stop every morning, to force me to wake up, so I could have my quiet time in between dropping him off and making the other kids breakfast before they woke up. I made myself a good amount of coffee, sat on the front porch in the beautiful outdoor sunshine and read my Bible. I then did something I haven’t done in years. I prayed for people on a list (gulp). I’ve always thought that was such a lifeless way to interface with God. I was wrong. After praying through the list, I walked through the neighborhood, letting the Holy Spirit guide the next portion of my prayers.
The strangest thing happened. Since I started praying in the morning about a month ago, I have not once dragged my feet about getting up early to pray, even on the weekends. It’s genuinely something I look forward to: kid-free Mommy and God time! And here’s the clincher: since I’ve been consistently waking early every morning, I’m actually LESS tired. Even with ear infections and kids waking scared in the middle of the night, I’m not exhausted during the day. I sleep soundly (at least until I hear a kid-peep) and, apparently enough.
My pastor preached a little while ago about how God instructed Isaac not to leave the land he was in during a famine, and as Isaac sowed during the famine, he reaped a crop one hundred fold (Gen. 26). My pastor’s point was that if you give even when you don’t have anything, you will receive an unexpected blessing in return. This stuck with me not only for the financial aspect, but regarding the investing of your time when you don’t have a lot. It’s about trusting God, that He knows your needs and will provide. I don’t have a lot of time, and my sleeping hours are especially important to me in this season. However, as I gave out of my own lack, I received an unexpected blessing in return. Not only was my spiritual and family life blessed, I have more energy during the day than before.
Of course, I’m kicking myself. Why did I wait so long to have a morning devotional routine? Why was I so scared that I wouldn’t have enough time to myself that I couldn’t trust God to provide for me? Fortunately, He is gracious. He knows me, He knows my frame. He knows my journey.
I encourage you, if you don’t have a regular quality time set aside each day to spend with the LORD, make it happen. You will be surprised at the results. You might even turn into a morning person, like I did! If you want to read about more tools for reading and studying the Bible, check out this post.