How do you maintain a sturdy relationship with Jesus with long working days? Especially if you’re routine has now changed. It’s a thought that floats through our minds if we’re trying to still maintain our walk with Christ and work 40 hours plus a week. You could have been praying for a job or a place in uni, internship etc., and when you get it, it’s the one thing that’s drawing you “away” from Him.
My friends and I have had this same dilemma. Here’s a combination of our experiences.
Our experiences went a little like this:
I’d wake up earlier than needed and tried to have a little devotion. 5am wasn’t an ideal time for me because I was barely taking anything in. I’d stare at the pages or skim read them and then go about my day… I know how my body works and the times I work well…early early starts like the ones I once did was counterproductive!
I’d find myself on social media at dumb hours of the morning or for the majority of the evening, complain that I’m tried, flick open my bible, rest my head for “two minutes” only to then resign and just go to bed. I made a pact to myself – no social media or T.V. until I’ve spent time with Jesus. How can I put them first before the Person who woke me up?
I’d come home and conk straight out. Zzzz….
I’d just not read my bible at all. It was a little too daunting and sometimes I didn’t know which page or chapter or book to turn to and open.
Sometimes, I weren’t willing. After the day I had, I was definitely swayed by my moods; if I didn’t “feel” like reading or praying, I’d either do them half-heartedly or not at all. Let’s just be honest here – no need to be a “pretty Christian.” The reality of our walk is based on how WILLING we are to make the effort to spend time with Jesus. No motivation, we’re just not gonna do it.
The times I did spend time with Jesus was by selecting a topic in a book called Jesus Lives by Sarah Young. I’d had to stick with that topic for the whole week and read (and try) meditate on its message throughout the day. This was very effective. I was engaged in what I was reading many times. I just had to work on the meditating part.
After some reflecting, I got a little upset that I’d prioritised my full time life over Jesus. I can’t remember exactly what the main cause was, but I took action. I went to ASDA and bought some index cards (cue cards) and whenever I came across a scripture I wrote it out in big handwriting and different colours and stuck them on my wall, so when I sit down in my room (I have a bunk bed with a table underneath) I could see all the scriptures behind my laptop. VERY EFFECTIVE! I’m a visual learner, so I’d remember the colour, where it is on my wall and memorise it that way.
My experiences taught me a lot. They taught me that just because I’m busy all day, don’t mean that Jesus has to be side-lined. Clearly, my priorities were completely wrong. When I realised that I wasn’t spending enough quality time with Jesus, I made sure I pulled my finger out. Firstly, I prayed! Nothing long drawn out – just what was really on my heart. After that, I made sure I thought ahead like going to bed earlier so I could read my bible at 5am, for a start. I researched on tones of devotionals – lots sounded good but didn’t give me what I wanted. I like devotionals with lots of scriptures like the Sarah Young devotionals which helped me. Find one that’s helpful for you if you don’t already have one. And read it when you’re alert!
How do you function? What kind of ways help you meditate/remember or learn? Are you a visual, kinaesthetic or an auditory learner? Perhaps find ways of putting scriptures on your phone as a screensaver or listen to the word – through song or through music or writing it down somewhere. Depending on your full time life, find what works for you.
Also what’s the purpose of you reading the bible? I think that’s an important question. Are you trying to read it cover to cover? If you are, you’ll end up losing focus. Break it down. I use topics in the New Living Translation at the back of the bible. Some days I felt like I had no purpose in picking up my bible so I’d just read over the “popular” scriptures like
- Isaiah 40:31 “but those who trust in the Lord will find new strength, they will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not get weary; they will walk and not faint.”
- Proverbs 3:5 “trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding.”
- Deuteronomy 31:8 “do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail your nor abandon you.”
Other things I did, I listened to gospel music when I could. I also used the toilet as my ‘secret closet.’ Doesn’t sound pleasing but boy, it was a GREAT getaway! Usually kept me sane too haha. I tried to remember the texts that I had read previously.
The effects of not reading my bible
I was an angry woman. My, my, my, if you got on my nerves, YOU’D KNOW ABOUT IT. My tolerance was at an all-time low – even I was a bit shocked at how I can react when I went without spending a consistent amount of time with Jesus.
My memory of how I can react when I spent a good amount of time with Jesus always flashed back in my mind. Huh? Give me a moment, I’ll explain. There were times when I would pick up my bible and read a topic that was close or relevant to my day or situation and spent (not hours) but a good amount of time in the word. Those days I felt a sense of peace afterwards and strength to do whatever it was I needed to get through. Those times, people that’d annoy me wouldn’t bother me…as much and sometimes it wouldn’t bother me at all. So those times would come back to me and how I know I can be but ONLY when I SPEND TIME with Jesus.
Jesus isn’t some Man over there – far away someplace else – He’s close by. When we’ve accepted Him, he seriously changes us from the inside out. Like Galatians 2:20 says
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
When Jesus “moves in” He isn’t ‘a short-term tenant, indwelling you only as long as your behaviour pleases [Him]. [He’s] come to stay – permanently.’ Sarah Young, Jesus Lives. We don’t always see the changes but when we look back over the last year or so we’ve definitely grown/changed/developed.
Please note: going to church isn’t mentioned much here because spending time with God is a part of your daily lifestyle. Church fills you for the week but it’s what you do with that “bread” throughout the week. Do you hide it away or do you make sure it’s useful. Yes, going to church is cool – but what about our personal relationship with Jesus?
Special thanks to my dear friends, Mesha & Rio: We spoke on this topic and from this conversation I got the idea to post it on my blog.