One of my favourite past-times has been to read a few chapters of a book in bed before I go to sleep at night.
Recently, I have struggled to keep up with this habit. I would love to use our newborn baby as an excuse, but if I am honest, it has been an issue for a few months already.
I regularly find myself opening my book, reading a few paragraphs, getting distracted, re-reading the same paragraphs, giving up and then putting the book away and picking up my phone.
Whilst trying to determine the problem, I realised that before reading my book, I usually watch a YouTube video or scroll through social media. I find that my brain tends to shut down during these activities where I am mindlessly absorbing information fed to me off of a screen.
I need to be more intentional with the way that I use my time.
How often do we experience similar struggles when it comes to our spiritual disciplines? Many of us want to read our bibles more, pray more and worship more. We remember when we have done these things in the past and experienced great joy. But when we try to make time to do these things now, we find ourselves quickly getting distracted by something else that is demanding our attention.
Perhaps we have been setting time aside at the end of the day to read our bibles and find ourselves exhausted from the day's events. Perhaps we try to make time first thing in the morning to pray, but we are not fully awake yet and find ourselves dozing off to sleep. Or perhaps we listen to worship music on the way to work, but are more focused on swearing at the bad drivers all around us.
I have learnt that in order to get back into a good habit of reading a few chapters every night before going to sleep, I need to remove all distractions and make sure that I am not too tired.
What if we all challenged ourselves to live intentionally this coming year when it comes to practising our spiritual disciplines? It is a great blessing to spend time with God in prayer, study and worship. Let us take this blessing seriously in 2021.
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 3:14 (NIV)
Image Source: Austin Henckel