As a parent, I never seem to have enough time to get everything done. Some days I consider it a victory when I get all the kids out of their PJs, manage to slap on some make-up, and everyone eats 3 complete meals. I’m constantly facing the tyranny of the urgent around the house and (sadly) sometimes I fail to prioritize my quiet time with God. (Wait, you mean quiet times do exist when you have small kids? I’m just kidding…well, sorta.).
And the irony of it all is that I would probably experience more peace and clarity of mind if I created space each day for consistent time with God. (Ouch…conviction hurts.) When you look at your day(s) ahead, consider these 10 ways to have a consistent time with God as a parent…even when when it seems impossible.
1. Get Up Early
If you have a newborn or an early riser, this may seem like the last thing you want to do. I am not a morning person, and getting up even earlier than I have to seems dreadful. But consider how your day might be different if you got up 15 minutes earlier than normal and spent a few minutes in the Word or in prayer.
I spent a few weeks last fall getting up 15 minutes earlier than my children’s typical wake time, in order to get have some time to myself before the day began. While the initial wake-up-and-get-out-of-bed process took all my energy some mornings, once I got out of bed the hardest part was done. And to be honest, I actually enjoyed the peaceful quiet of the morning. You may experience that those extra minutes early in the morning actually boost your energy level rather than drain you.
2. Stay Up Late
If getting up early isn’t an option for you, try staying up a few minutes later at night. Before you get snuggled under your covers, take 15-30 minutes and read your Bible, do a devotional, or just pray. There will probably be nights that you fall asleep reading or struggle to keep your eyes open out of sheer exhaustion…and that’s okay.
Try it and see what happens. You might find closing your night in reflection creates a deeper sense of gratitude and thankfulness for the fullness of the busy day you just finished. (Note: this option may mean you have to cut short your binge watching of your favorite show on Netflix… *gasp*!)
3. Put It In Your Calendar
Whether you use paper and pen, google calendar, or some other scheduler, you most likely have a “command central” where you keep all your appointments, deadlines, notes, etc. (If you don’t, then get one pronto!) I live by the calendar on my phone and create calendar reminders all the time for the things I need to accomplish. Maybe you set a reminder alarm to go off everyday or maybe you actually set off an actual block of time for your quiet time.
Do what helps YOU. If you need to treat it like an appointment and not let anything impede upon that time, that’s okay. Don’t be legalistic about your devotional time, but it does help to set boundaries in order to have a consistent time with God.
4. Spend Time With God While Exercising
If you have a consistent exercise routine, consider how you can mesh the two and have a consistent time with God as well. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be healthy both physically and spiritually? A few options would be to listen to scripture while running/walking, reading while on a stationary bike or treadmill, listening to Christian music, etc.
Turn off the Today Show or Live with Regis and Kelly! and proactively make a decision to spend time with God during your daily or weekly exercise time. I found it helpful to get an armband to hold my phone, so I could move around easily without dropping my phone all the time.
5. Watch or Listen To Sermons
Listening to sermons or podcasts can be a great way to integrate consistent time with God each week. You can do this while exercising as well. If you drive your kids to daycare or preschool each day, it probably takes you at least 15 minutes to get there or come home. Utilize that time in your car and listen to some excellent teachers of the Word.
Most seminaries have chapels you can watch. (I like to tune into my alma mater Dallas Seminary….) Or maybe your pastor records and posts his sermons from each Sunday that you can re-listen to. Look for a sermon series you are interested in or find a Christian leader that you enjoy listening to and subscribe to the podcast.
6. Close Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter
Be honest with yourself. How much time each day do you spend trolling through Facebook or Instagram? Could you benefit from reducing your time on social media and reallocate that time for time with God?
Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely benefits to social media; however, don’t let social media come at the expense of your relationship with the Lord. Before jumping into the time-suck of social media, make sure you’ve set aside time with God.
7. Put a Show On For Your Kids
If you are struggling to find some time to go through the Bible, open up your devotional, or focus on prayer, consider allowing your kids to watch a short show while you do your devotional. Of course, each parent sets their expectations and desire for how much screen time their children have. My daughter turns into a zombie whenever a TV show comes on, so I do try and limit how much TV she watches each week.
But sometimes I put on a show, so that I can have 15-30 minutes of focused concentration on something I need to get done. This also works for spending time with God. You are not a bad parent for turning on the TV, a DVD, or Netflix, in order to create some time for yourself and your relationship with the Lord. And it also doesn’t have to be hours on end. Considering most kids’ shows consist of either 15-minute episodes or 30-minute episodes, those brief sections of time could be the key to creating the consistency you desire for your time with God.
8. Put on Music
Worship music continues to be one of the ways both my husband and I experience time with God throughout the day. And it’s an easy one to do, because you can do it in your house, at work, in the car, in the kitchen, etc, — the opportunities are endless. Show your kids that time with God comes in many forms, and worship music is one of them!
Recently, we bought Rend Collective’s album, The Art of Celebration. My husband and I love it, but even better yet my kids love to listen to it. They actually enjoy it more than the kids’ worship music I have on my phone. Listening to these songs as a family creates an atmosphere of worship for us all to take part in together. And nothing is sweeter than hearing your 4-year-old and 1-year-old belt out worship songs without abandon (especially when all you’ve heard is Frozen the past year).
9. Find a Devotional You Like
Sometimes the key to maintaining consistent time with God lies in finding a devotional that you enjoy and that connects with your phase of life. I have tried many different Bible studies throughout the years and a few of my favorites have been: My Utmost for His Highest (a classic), Jesus Calling, the Coffee Cup Bible Studies series, and Bible studies found on YouVersion.
If you feel challenged, encouraged, or motivated by your devotional, you are likely to keep with it and create consistency. You may have to try a few to find one that you really like. And that’s okay. God speaks to people in different ways, so find one that speaks to YOU.
10. Be Disciplined to Have Consistent Time With God
A final way to create a consistent time with God is to simply be disciplined. It’s easy to let life get in the way and say that we are too busy. Yes, we are busy, but when it comes down to it we can create even a little window of time to spend with God.
We just need to be disciplined and not allow ourselves to become lazy. (I am speaking to myself here, as it’s very easy to become distracted or lazy and not use my time wisely.) Allow yourself the opportunity to experience what consistent time with God looks like. Decide what option works best for you, stick to it and see what happens. I bet you will like the results.
What has worked best for you as you create consistency in your time with God? I’ll take all the tips I can get.