My time is precious. Even though God is not bound by the hands of time, we human beings are. Each tick-tock that goes by is one less that we have to spend here on this earth. Our end goal is eternal life with Jesus Christ in heaven. God has blessed us with these lives and wants us to be a good steward of our time while we are here.
Throughout my life I have had many different seasons of my walk with the Lord. Part of the differences is when I spend my set aside time with Him. Some seasons my time was spent early in the morning, some in the evenings as the last thing I do before bed. Lunch’s breaks or breakfasts were set aside. The hours of the mid-morning or mid-afternoon are some of my favorites. I guess you can say I have worked my way around the clock when it comes to my time set apart for God. I really want to talk about these specific times and how it affected the rest of my day.
Time of Day
Early in the Morning
When I was a little girl, I loved waking up early in the morning. It was like extra play time just waiting for me to get out of bed. I loved that no one else was around. I loved the sound of the quiet paired with the chirping birds and maybe a lawnmower running in the distance. Actually to this day I feel a sense of nostalgia when ever a similar atmosphere is around me.
I just close my eyes and picture my childhood mornings waking up next to my grandma (because I loved sneaking in to be with her, and what good grandma says no?). It was a very relaxing blue bedroom, and the window was always open. A gentle breeze would blow in and the air smelled so fresh. Sometimes it was crisp and invigorating, sometimes it smelled like fresh-cut grass, sometimes like my grandmas lilacs. The sound of the birds was and is still one of my very favorite sounds. They different types make such different and interesting chirps. Sometimes I would just lay in bed a little longer and pick out each sound, and wonder what they were saying. Sometimes I would just step outside to experience to serenity of having the outside world all to myself before everyone else woke up.
This is how it is for me when I spend my time with God early in the morning. It’s so serene and peaceful. It’s just me, the world, and God. I have to admit that the older I get, the harder it is for me to take that first step out of bed when I don’t absolutely have to. And early mornings to me these days have to be even earlier than the birds singing me awake. My kids have to get up for school, and my husband has to get up for work. If I want that to be good quality quiet time, I really have to get up ultra early in the dark of morning. And I often times fall asleep praying or reading.
It’s not always hard early in the morning, but it’s very inconsistent for me. There have been times when He has called me to wake up early for a season. Those are the times when I can stay awake in the morning while I’m spending time with Him.
I think one important thing to remember about waking up early to spend time with god, is going to bed on time. Take care of yourself and get a good night sleep so you can really give your all when the alarm goes off. All in all, early in the morning is definitely a sacrifice of time for me.
Late in the Evening
Now on the opposite end, there is before bed time devotions. I happen to have very fond memories of this season of life. I chose this time of day for my devotional time with god when I was a teenager and into young adulthood. Between school, extra-curricular activities, and helping my parents out with home life this was prime time for me and God. I would go to bed and sit and pray, read, and write for hours.
God really used this time to develop my study habits for Him. He led me through the Bible in a year, and that was a big deal to me then. I felt like I had a good foundation. Like I had some sort of better idea where most things were in the Bible. I understood what the books were mainly about, and how to find my way around better. It really gave me the confidence to dig in to the Bible wherever I wanted or needed to in the future.
I really believe this was a good time of day to spend with God for the younger season of my life. When I started praying or digging into His Word, I really never knew how long it would take me to feel finished for the evening. Some times I would stay awake for hours in His presence. And then morning would come and I was good to go. These days I cannot stay up late without suffering the repercussions! Not that I don’t spend time with Him at that time some days, but I fall asleep easy and have to cut myself and God short.
Breakfasts, Lunch breaks, & any Meals
Something that I used to do when I was in college or working was fast during my lunch break and spend that time with God.
When I was in college, I still packed a lunch on the days that I fasted it. I went to school in a city and would always walk past the same homeless man everyday. I decided that if I wasn’t eating it, I wanted it to go to someone who really needed it.
Packing a lunch on those days really reminded me what my time was going to. I didn’t give myself the chance to change my mind or forget during the business of the day and grab a bite out with other people. That brown paper bag lunch was with me for a reason, and the reason wasn’t to fill my belly. It was to honor God. I spent time in the morning and prayed over it and the man as I packed it extra full. Then on my lunch hour, I had to walk to the street where this man lived and talk to him for a moment and give my comfort up so that he could feel a little bit of it. He was always so humble and thankful.
At other seasons in my life, I would (and will) fast my breakfast time, spending it with God. That doesn’t mean I would just eat as soon as that time was up. I would wait and not eat until the next meal time. This can be applied to any meal of the day and or snacks. Usually when I am fasting a meal or meals I don’t eat snacks throughout the day. That is just my conviction.
Mid Morning, Afternoon, & Evening
I have to say that the “mid” times of day are really my best times. Mostly mid-morning and mid-afternoon, depending on my schedule on that particular day. I love these times of day the most because it is when I feel I am really at my best.
The things around the house under control, I’m either by myself, or it’s baby nap time, the son is usually shining through my house, and I feel like I have nothing but undivided time to give. I grab a warm drink in my favorite mug, my Bible, my notebook and favorite pen and highlighter (sometimes at my piano)…all is well with the world. Of course, I still have these things at the other times of day for my devotional time with God, but there is something about awake me and the rest of the atmosphere combined. It has always just been a recipe for a successful devotion time for me!
Now saying all of that about mid-morning and mid-afternoon, I have to also mention mid-evening. This is after dinner time but before the chaos of getting my kids ready for bed time. So during dinner we have been doing a family devotion. Everyone get’s involved in reading, answering questions, and praying. Then after dinner, I clean it up sometimes with help sometimes without. Then my kids are ready to play or still needing help with homework. My husband is either playing with the kids, watching something on tv, or fixing something (usually for someone else…sometimes for us). At this season in my life, it is really not a good time to spend deep digging in time with God. But I don’t completely through out that time of day for spending time with God. Some days I just do it anyhow even with all the craziness happening all around.
Even though my time with God in the evenings is not undivided, it does not return void! God speaks in many ways.
When I was a little girl, I used to spend time at my other grandmas house. We would go over to visit and play or she would help out by watching us for my mom. I can guarantee that at some point while we were there she would either be in her room with gospel music blasting and she would be singing to the top of her lungs, praising and worshiping Jesus, or she would be sitting in her chair in the living room reading her Bible taking notes. This drew me to her, and I always paid close attention to her when she was doing these things. I loved it about her. It was just beautiful to me even at a young age. And if we needed her, she would stop and take care of us and then go back to it or not.
I believe that if God Himself were sitting in that chair or standing in that bedroom praising, and we needed Him, He would stop and be there for us. She was a living example of God to me, and she was still able to give time to God no matter what that time looked like. That is what I want my children to see. I want them to see how important it is to spend time with God to me; to see me worship by myself or with them at home. I want them to see me digging into His word. God time isn’t just spent in church. They need to see that and experience it regularly as part of life, not just sometimes.
Why is managing my time important to me?
I feel like the days that I don’t spend my time with God have been big messes of life jumbled up in a day. Because I want my time with God to be priority number one, I work the rest of my day out to make that time happen. I will get my other priorities done, and things that are not a priority don’t get a chance to waste my time. It really is as simple as that, but it has to be my and your choice. No matter what season we are in or what time we spend with God each day, we can deliberately give Him our best or we can just ride through it uncaring. This may sound harsh, but it is the truth.
There have been times when I think to myself that I have been deliberately pushing my time with God to the back burner. I do other things first believing that later I will have all the time I want just focusing on Him. But the end of the day comes and I pushed my special (set aside) time with Him right into the next day.
So I prayed to Him, “Lord, I want to be right with You. I want you to be my priority.” And He responded, “well…that has to be YOUR choice.” We have to choose to set time aside for Him. Then we have to choose to use that time for Him instead of using it for something else or pushing Him off until later. God is always with us. He is always waiting to spend that time with us, but we are responsible for showing up. If we want our time with Him to be a priority, we have to prove it. No one can do it for us. No one can prove my devotion and priorities but me.
While it’s important to prioritize our time, no matter what time of day it is or what we are doing, it is all His time. Whatever we do it should be as unto the Lord. He should always be on our hearts. We can always be in conversation (prayer is also simple conversations with Him) with Him. Our experiences can always revolve around Him. So if there is a day here and there where you haven’t set aside your time for Him, don’t be hard on yourself. God is graceful and merciful. He knows the intentions of our hearts. Just keep Him as your center focus each day. If you only have time for one Bible verse in a season, then so be it. But dwell on it throughout your day and pray to Him throughout your day. A new season is always just around the corner.
Lord, I come to You today with a humble heart. I want my time to be devoted to You, proving to You that You are my priority. Not walking through my days just getting by with my time. I want each moment to count, even if it’s time to just do nothing. Please help my to quit spending time on things that have no meaning in my life. Help me to focus on the things that will have a lasting effect, first being You. I want my heart’s main desire to be You, seeking You first and knowing you more. I love you with all my heart. Amen.
This post is part of a series of post called Clean Out My Life. Click here If you would like to read the intro and other posts in this series.