It’s easy to quote that we make time for what matters most, but it’s a lot harder, more humble, and way more helpful to show someone how instead.
Life is fast paced and hands on when your littles are small or have special needs. Here are a few tips I’ve learned alone the way-
1. Expand your arsenal. Miss extended time for Bible study, or being in groups or just physical books? Don’t get rid of those but be gracious enough with yourself to know that those might need to move from daily/weekly occurrences to monthly/quarterly in this season. Consider different alternatives like ebooks, write the word journals, YouTube sermons or online community studies, or studying smaller passages in greater depth.
2. Remember the goal– meeting God and getting to know Him better. Take the pressure off perfect execution and instead look for opportunities to say a quick prayer, read a verse, meditate on an old one, or just express your emotions to Him. Sometimes for me, this is when I’m putting the baby down for a nap as I relish the silence and let my raw thoughts and spill out before God (so they don’t land on other people), or other times it’s in the car while driving…and speaking of cars…
3. Take a drive. Audiobooks, podcasts, audio Bibles, and online courses have given me a much needed mental break and recharge. Choose whatever will fuel your soul, not what you think a “good Christian” or “good mom” would listen to. If it isn’t helping you fill up, then choose something else.
4. Make a plan. I recently took Philippians & broke it into small chunks (like 3-5verses) for me to try to “eat” each day. I journal my thoughts/ideas and always ask these two questions -what does this teach me about God’s character and how should it reflect in my own?
Creating a plan in advance gives me a path so I don’t waste time trying to figure out where to start. Find a bible study plan one or make your own using the method I described above. Just don’t be afraid to start somewhere, and be open to adjusting your pace as needed along the way.
5. Remove the dates. If you use or create a plan, try labeling your notes with “day 1, 2, etc” to match your plan days instead of using actual dates. This way if you miss a day you won’t feel as guilty when you see the last date you completed. This can help you stop the negative feedback loop if you miss a day or two, or three (been there!) Then take time to remember the goal and that we are practicing expanding our toolkit. God could have used another tool to meet you on those days you “missed”- including using your kids.
If you’re super disciplined or like to keep track of your dates, consider creating a table of contents to capture your dates so they aren’t in your face every day. For me, using the month and year is often enough without the exact “date” every time.
6.And the Last one for today is… recognize your kids are tools in His hands. Invite them to the table. If they are old enough, let them play independently and teach them to respect your “God-time”. If they are too young to play on their own then plan to keep some special “study only toys” nearby. You could even take it a step further if you have the time and find them a coloring page or devotional they can do while you study. (I really encourage that for older ones). Remember there is no Junior Holy Spirit. They need Jesus the same as you, and they are looking at you to model what that relationship looks like in real life.
I’ve lived this up close. Let me set the scene for you. The picture at the top of this page was taken at the playground with my baby girl strapped to my back. My older two were on the playground and playing with rocks nearby. I carved out this time the best I could from the time I had that week. It takes some planning, but it’s possible.
Also, ask God to show you who He is IN and THROUGH them throughout the day. On occasion, I’ve invited the girls to discuss what I’ve been studying or a recent sermon we’veve heard. My goal is to make the Bible tangible for them, not a religious set of circumstances. When I make an effort ot include them, I end up seeing something I would have missed without the Holy Spirit’s guidance. I’ve learned so much about Him as my father through my journey through motherhood. So, excluding or distracting them doesn’t always have to be the answer.
Alright, those are my quick tips.
Just remember to give yourself grace in every season. Evaluate where you are, and make a plan with what you have.
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Tell me in the comments- how have you made time to connect with God in busy seasons?