Last week, I attended a webinar hosted by Michael Hyatt, the New York Times Bestselling Author, speaker, and blogger. I highly recommend his work, especially as he teaches from a Christian perspective. One of the action items from this webinar involved “making an appointment to write” and keeping it just as you would any other appointment. He placed emphasis on this phrase: “What gets scheduled gets done.”
If you are laughing hysterically, you might be a mother with young children.
I’ve had more than one schedule implode in the face of kitchen catastrophes, emergency room visits, colored walls (or floors), and other unforeseeable incidents. At one point, I had three children aged three and under—one newborn, one potty training, and one threenager. I get it.
In spite of these challenging seasons of life, we still manage to be at doctor’s appointments, baseball games, date nights, and plenty of other engagements. We also have ample time to check our phones and watch movies.
If something is important to us, we will make time for that something. If something is important to us, we will make time for that something.
Over the past 23 years of being a Christian, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard these statements:
“I need to read my Bible more often.”
“I forget to pray every day.”
“I’m so busy, I don’t have time to go to bible study.”
Here lies the crux of the issue: We need to stop trying to squeeze God into the crevices of our time and start squeezing everything else around time with Him.
Schedule time for God instead of giving Him the leftovers. Treat your time with Him as you would any other critical engagement. You wouldn’t, for instance, fail to show up for a job interview because you have a sudden impulse to grab a latte with a friend—that would be insane! Just like Hyatt suggested making an appointment to write, we need to make regular appointments with God (and keep them).
Before I launch into what these regular appointments ought to be, allow me to make a clarifying statement: Our whole life should be dedicated to God: Every decision. Every thought. Every action. God is not partof our life; He should be our all in all. However, just as our earthly relationships demand time, our relationship with God demands time as well. His word is His communication to us; our prayers are our communication to Him. If we neglect to set aside time to communicate with God through His means, how can we claim to love Him and live for Him?
Make these four regular appointments with God:
Make time for worship.
If your congregation has posted times of worship, you ought to be present. Incidents such as sickness, emergency, or work schedules may occasionally prevent attendance, but should be the exception rather than the rule. My spouse served in both the military and law enforcement. Due to the nature of those fields, there were many Sundays he grudgingly missed. In those jobs—particularly first responder careers—schedules are based on seniority and demand. Military watch assignments rotate. Car crashes are not limited to weekdays. People visit the ER on Sundays just as frequently as they do on Mondays.
So what do you do?
Pursue time for worship.
Find a way to be at the next available service. Talk to your supervisor about getting a different shift on Sundays. Respectfully communicate how much you’d like to have Sundays off as soon as they open up. Find a way to be present more than you are absent.
Make time for prayer.
Have you ever visited with one person for two or three hours? An old friend? A new friend? Your spouse? One-on-one time is the best!
In a similar way, we should engage in daily, one-on-one communion with our Father. He knows everything, but He longs for us relate it to Him directly. This solitary time with the Lord is an opportunity to confess my sins, intercede for those in need, and lay my anxieties at His feet.
Make time for group study.
We can learn much from our fellow Christians, particularly in a class environment. Sadly, many people skip out on these studies thinking them “unnecessary.” The Bible contains a wealth of challenging passages demanding proper education. Studying with fellow Christians adds to our understanding.
Don’t skip the group classes. Make time to study with other people—even if it is just one other person!
Make time for personal study.
The Bible is God’s communication with us. We need His word as much as we need food; fasting from it doesn’t do our spiritual body any favors. In the word, we learn who God is and how He expects us to live. As age and experience train us, biblical concepts gain greater clarity as we progress from knowledge to understanding.
Get YouVersion’s Bible App and listen to an audio recording on your commute to work. Listen while you do laundry, wash dishes, or scrub floors. Study on your lunch break. Read one chapter of Proverbs every day for a month. Get an accountability partner to remind you.<
With a little determination, getting your spiritual nourishment can be accomplished!
Like any long-term relationship, true intimacy demands time. In our crazy world, time demands intention. Make appointments with God each day, and keep them. If disaster strikes and upsets your appointment, reschedule immediately. God is always present, longing for us to look to Him and build a lasting relationship with Him.