Recently two of my friends have shared how the Bible has encouraged or challenged them to make specific choices for every day situations. I am confident, like my friends, that we can find wisdom for daily life in the Word of God. I am hoping to inspire you or to help you if you are feeling stuck or lost on this idea of reading the Bible for life. Devotions don’t have to be lame, trust me. It’s gonna get real honest here in 3… 2… 1…
I love the Bible, but reading the Bible can be so boring, seemingly unproductive, and a waste of time. Hearing someone else’s application of scripture through a podcast, or reading someone else’s wisdom in book are great ways to engage with biblical content. They enrich our understanding of living this life as a Christian. However, they aren’t the Bible and they aren’t prayer, therefore they are not the means to an authentic conversation and relationship with the Jesus Christ, which is the goal of devotions. Before I breakdown my morning devotions, let me describe two things:
Devotions Defined: The time I set aside to have a conversation with God are my devotions. I read the Bible and pray. This is the time I spend with the Holy Spirit, just to be with him. No agenda per se. I’m not trying to get a word for someone else. I don’t meet with God as a leader, as a wife or as a mom. I meet with Him as me, as his child, a woman of God, as His creation. Just me is enough for him, I don’t need the labels or titles when I do my devotions, so I don’t have to bring an agenda. Just me is who Jesus Christ died for. Just me is what God wants. In this time my heart is set for the day. I align my thoughts with the Word. I put God in the driver seat. I imagine a “heart-posture” similar to what Jesus defines when he shares the Lords prayer in Matthew chapter six.
Bible Studies & Gatherings Defined: These are the times I spend to engage with biblical content through theology classes, books, podcasts, apps, small groups, Sunday morning service, etc. Participating in church, bible studies or accessing different materials does not mean I am a Christian or that I do devotions. There is a clear agenda for these times! That is to learn how to use the Sword of the Spirit, grow in my knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to learn how to serve and obey Him. These I engage in regularly as well, but they aren’t devotions.
Being a wife and mom with other responsibilities like work, mentoring, volunteering my time, etc. quickly fill my schedule, but here is a quick breakdown of most mornings:
6:30am Youngest kiddo wakes up calling for me and crawls into my bed.
7:30am Both kids are up and hungry.
I start making French press for me, grabbing fruit and making toast for the kids.
And any other prep for the day happens at this time.
8:30am I pour my coffee and grab my devotional book (linked below).
I’ll begin sipping my coffee, find a seat, guide my children through their chores and their devotions as I flip to the correct date in my devotional book. Each thought is dated with the day and month. There is one verse and a prayer. Yep! You read that right. ONE VERSE and a prayer.
I read the title and think about it. I’ll read the Bible verse, look at the words and think about their meaning, and the situation that verse was written for. Then I read the prayer slowly and out-loud, soaking up every meaning and every possibility these words could bring into fruition. I put God first every day with a devotional as my guide.
I know by 9am (10am on busy days) if I have missed my devotions because I am off, easily frustrated or unclear about things. To make sure I “reset” my heart and soul I have an alarm on my phone set for 10am that reminds me to pray if I haven’t done so already. The devotional book is left on my kitchen counter, by my phone. I can’t miss it if I see it all the time. So between seeing my book and the alarm on my phone I have reminders that work for me.
My devotional time is currently between 7 and 10 minutes long. When my second child was first born my devotional time was maybe a minute long. (Seriously, I read a daily prayer on instagram and that is what filled me for the day as I adjusted to being a mother of two, and recovered from pregnancy & delivery. I needed rest and God knew that.)
How I was created, my humanity, personality, etc. really affect my devotional times. Discovering more about who we are in personality (strengths, weaknesses, contributions & needs) can help us grow who we are as a Christians. Maybe that idea doesn’t work for everyone but our identity should first come from the Word of God no matter who we are. The key to getting unstuck from boring devotions is answering this question: Do you know what you need?
I am a six, wing seven on the enneagram. So basically I’m committed but spontaneous. I’m loyal but fearful and what I need the most is security and support.
Daily, I need to be reminded that God is my rock and my fortress. I can hide under His wing, rest in His arms, and call His name at any time of the day. Acknowledging my every breath comes from him is usually the thought that sets me in place. It’s a secure place. In my place as a child of God who needs to remember that I wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers of that rule this age, and that greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world. I need to be reminded that I am called and anointed. I need to be reminded to be strong and have courage.
When I remember my place as a disciple, that I can step on scorpions, cast out demons, and heal the sick, I have no problem stepping in to help someone, repenting, forgiving, extending grace, or replying to the text in faith when the facts don’t match.
Like I mentioned above, on the days I get moving so much I miss out on my devotions the 10am alarm reminds me and I’m quick to tell the Holy Spirit I’m sorry for starting the day in my own strength and my own wisdom, and I go into my devotions to align my thoughts with his. Every day but Sunday, I stick to this devotional routine, even when the resource changes. Here are four things you can do to keep your devotions fresh:
1. Pick a tool. Find a devotional that will guide you in reading the Word and lead you in prayer.
2. Pick a time. Schedule it in your calendar, then set reminders for back up.
3. Target a core need. Figure out what you need and look for that (using the devotional tool as your guide.)
4. Set that reminder!
God desires to meet with you. Just to meet with you. No agenda except to be what you need, what you uniquely need. Make a plan and put that in your calendar. Set a second reminder in your phone or on your schedule and don’t skip your devotional time for anything. Nothing is more important than spending time with the one who counts our days, knows every heart break, and seeds every dream.
If you don’t know what devotions are, or where to start, below are the two devotional resources my husband and I use. I highly recommend coupling devotions with another time of study, to learn the contents of the Bible. Just get started learning the history inside it’s pages, it will all come together and make sense over time and is very important for making decisions, but that topic is for another day.
My friends, I am praying that your devotional time with the Lord is refreshed this week!
Later this week I’ll post on social media a quick video of my kids devo’s! Make sure to follow me: Instagram (@andersonswife) or FB (@ReadTheBookByStephanieA.Anderson).