“I just don’t have time.” “I really want to read my Bible but there aren’t enough hours in my day to do everything that I want to do.” “I have tried to understand His word, but it takes too much time.” These phrases were my mantra for years upon years. I would go to church, listen to an inspiring sermon about how important the Bible is to read, how God will speak and reveal Himself to me intimately through His word, how in order to hear the Lord you must know His word first, etc. And by etc., I mean blah, blah, blah. And by blah, blah, blah I mean who has time to read their Bible? People with no kids, that’s who. People who get to leave their house and sit quietly in a coffeeshop to ponder the greater dealings of life. Not me. No, not me. My coffee is lost somewhere, getting cold while I am trying to get a bead out of my 2 year old’s nose at four in the morning. My mornings start, while others are warm and cozy in bed. God will have to reach me a different way, because I just don’t have time to read.
For years I struggled with reading my Bible because I had “no time”, which resulted in years of me not feeling close to the Lord. And the direct result of not feeling close to God is questioning and feeling inadequate in every important part of life, or an overall complacency about life. I became critical in my marriage, I became unmotivated with my children, I felt alone and couldn’t wrap my mind around how it was possible to be the wife and mom I was expected to be. I loved my family and enjoyed them, I just felt there was something other people understood that I didn’t. I also felt like I just wasn’t enough for what all of these other people needed… and I wasn’t.
One day my husband came and told me that he really wanted to start reading his Bible everyday again. That he was struggling with finding time. I looked at him and lovingly thought, “What an amazing man I have wanting to be closer to God.” Ok, I have to be honest. I wish that was what I had thought. That would have been the right thing to think, but no. I looked at him with critical eyes and thought to myself, “YOU don’t have time? YOU who got a straight 8 hours of sleep last night, yet somehow have the audacity to yawn in front of me right now? YOU who comes home and all of your tasks for the day are done? YOU don’t have time? YOU have time, you just don’t want to find time.” (I know, I know, you never think things like that about your husbands, but I have already admitted that I am weak). And in my critical thought outburst the Lord said, “You have time too, daughter. I am here, but you have to meet me. You can’t hear all I have to say when you are all the way over there. What if you just stopped saying you don’t have time, and told yourself the truth.”
The truth? The truth was I didn’t want to make the time. It was easier to say I was so busy, and life was too full. The truth was that I didn’t want to discipline myself to read instead of stare aimlessly out the window in the morning, or check e-mails or Facebook, or text friends 60 times a day, or whatever else I did have time for at any point during any given day. The truth was that when I did try to read I didn’t understand what I was reading. I didn’t hear God like I was promised I would. The truth was that I didn’t want to endure to hear the Lord or understand His word. You really want the truth Lord? “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free ” (John 8:32). I don’t want to read my Bible and think, I want to be entertained and distracted in my free time. I am a fine person and I don’t really care to be convicted daily. I just don’t care.
And the truth set me free… well, first I was convicted and wanted to take my words back, but admitting the ugly truths we carry is really the only step to freedom. I just don’t care? That didn’t sit well with me. That was really the root of all of this. I did care… about me. It was all about me and what I could get out of the situation. If I read my Bible, then I expected immediate blessings. If I read my Bible then I expected immediate uderstanding. When I read my Bible I expected my heart to feel immediately different. I didn’t care about meeting the Lord in His word, I cared about what I could have from it. Do you see the difference? Meeting the Lord is about relationship, which takes time and energy on both sides. Relationship is built by meeting regularly and listening intently to what the other has to say. Getting something out of a situation takes one person giving and the other taking. It is unbalanced and unfruitful. Relationship cannot be sustained by one person. God cannot sustain a relationship if I am unwilling to meet Him or love Him well. Love is a verb. Love takes action. Love takes time.
My victory was found in simply being honest with myself. Instead of using time as my excuse, I told myself the truth. I wasn’t loving God the way I told people I loved Him. Yes, I loved God but was I loving Him well? It would be the same as me saying that I love my children, but not investing myself into their lives. Saying that feeding and clothing them was enough. I had a, well-as-long-as-I-get-to-go-to-Heaven mindset instead of an eternal mindset. An eternal mindset wants to meet with the Lord and be used for His glory, not for earthly glory and distraction. An eternal mindset breeds a will to endure. An eternal mindset comes with a path to victory.
So, I started reading. Not in a methodical 3 chapters a day kind of routine. The Lord was gentler than that with me. The point wasn’t to read the Bible just to read the Bible so that I could feel like a good Christian. My purpose now was to meet with my Creator. My purpose became to learn about what I have been given and how to appreciate the soil I have been given to cultivate. My purpose was now to hear and listen to what part I had to play in His will. I started finding verses from my favorite worship songs to see where they were in the Bible. That’s where I started and stayed for a long time. Just one line verses. I would write them down and look at them everyday. It took 5 seconds to read, but those 5 seconds were spent on the Word of God. Those 5 seconds of looking at His written word stayed with me all day. Those 5 seconds began to transform my life in a way that I could never have imagined. Those 5 seconds over a few years now have created a habit of needing His Word and wanting to know more of what He has to say, and has given me wisdom to speak over my children. Wisdom that I do not have apart from His Word.
He knows that moms truly don’t have much extra time. He knows that you are filling your hands with His work throughout your day. He designed motherhood that way. But He wants to meet you and have a relationship with you, even if for 5 seconds because He is the multiplier of time and revelation. When we allow His word to be in us (however little it may be) we are allowing His spirit to speak to us throughout the whole day. No one can learn a new language in a week. It takes slow and steady thought. It takes time to memorize, but once you learn it you never forget. That is how the Word of God is, except we get the honor of learning through Him forever. God speaks a different language than we do. He speaks a language of righteousness and self-control. We speak selfishness and distraction. But we have been designed to speak His language, to speak His Word.
My problem wasn’t that I didn’t have time, my problem was that I wasn’t telling myself the truth. I was making excuses. An excuse is really a lie said in a different way. Excuses are what the enemy uses to deafen our ears to His will, and keep us from growth. My excuse was that I didn’t have time, but my truth was that I didn’t want to spend the time it would take to get to know Him. My truth was that I didn’t want to endure or build something brick by brick. I wanted my whole house built in a day. But God didn’t see the ugliness I was selfishly carrying, He saw the victory that His Word could bring me. He saw the freedom ahead of me. The truth set me free and the truth can set you free as well. His Word is for all of us. His freedom is for all of us. What is your truth? What if you stopped telling yourself you don’t have time to read your Bible, and told God the truth?
“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (Colossians 3:16)
May your day be filled with truth and an eternal mindset!