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But, I’m just too busy to read the Bible (From a Mom of 4)

on September 14, 2015 by Jami Balmet 9 comments

I have a confession: I’m terrible about consistently reading my Bible. I know I should…I’m just not good at making it happen.

Call it devotions. Quiet time. Bible Study. Whatever you want to call it. I go in and out of seasons of regularly and consistently reading God’s Word.

But, I'm just too busy to read God's Word

And it’s not just about the routine of reading His Word. But ingesting it. Studying it with the intent of really wrestling with the text and understanding it. Taking that knowledge and soaking it up into my heart and soul and letting it transform my heart, attitude, and character. I yearn to have this sort of devotion life, but honestly, as a busy mom of 4, it doesn’t happen like I envision. 

Thankfully right now, God has been sustaining me in a season of more consistent Bible reading. But for a while I felt like I had an excuse: I am an exhausted mom of babies, and now toddlers and babies.

For a while I felt like everything I read on the subject of daily devotions shared the opinion that young motherhood is just not a season for much Bible reading. Most of the advice implied that since babies and toddlers are so tiring and require constant care and attention, then simply finding the time to read a Bible verse (or maybe two) in between dishes and dirty diapers was hard enough. And that this season won’t look like other seasons in my life.

Theology

Well that last part is certainly true. As a mom of four kids under three years old, life is busy, exhausting, and full. I don’t have the time to shower most days, let alone do hours of Bible study. And so, without consciously deciding to, I’ve been using this season as an excuse to not study God’s Word more.

It’s Not About a Lack of Time

…It’s a lack of priorities. 

Ouch! I’ve been increasingly convicted that I don’t have a time problem on my hands. I have a priority problem. Spending time in God’s Word takes intentional time, planning, and attention. Because it’s not enough to simply read Scripture out of routine. We must wrestle with the text, absorb it, and let it transform our lives. <— and that takes a lot of energy for this exhausted mama!

“This is why we should take caution lest we think that a mother’s greatest problem is a lack of time. How tempted I am to consider a busy season as an obstacle to rejoining in the Lord! The greatest obstruction to our joy in God is not a lack of time. When we have lost sight of an eternal perspective in our daily lives, the atonement becomes neither vital nor precious to us. A greater gift than time is the gift of forgiveness for our sins through Christ Jesus so that we can behold our holy God.”- Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, page 57

[Tweet “How tempted I am to consider a busy season as an obstacle to rejoicing in the Lord! – Gloria Furman”]

Re-setting My Priorities

For me, it’s not about a lack of time, but rather a lack of diligence. I put other things in front of spending time with God. Yes, I am a busy wife and mom but that is not where I find my true identity. My true identity is in Christ.

Most of us know that when we list the priorities in our lives it should go “God, husband, children…” and the list goes on. But when push comes to shove, in the daily busyness of life, does this list of priorities stay in order?

Yes – there are certain seasons where this balance shifts a little (i.e. when you have a newborn (or two), when your kids are sick, etc). Some days, you literally don’t have 15 minutes to formally open God’s Word – but the trouble is when this becomes the norm. And sadly, this is often the day in my own life.

Striving for Diligence

If I had one word to describe my “theme” for this Fall, it would be: Diligence. After a year of a rough pregnancy, deliver, and recovery, I am starting to get a little of my old energy back and I’m craving some sort of routine in our day.

With 4 kids under 3, this routine is held very loosely and not many of my “to-do” list items get checked off during the day, but I’m striving this Fall to live with intentionality. I so badly want to use the time I have with intention and diligence.

Crystal

Because my time is so very limited, I want to make sure that those pockets of time in my day are used extremely well so that as a busy homemaker, wife, and mom I can actually thrive! And sometimes this means taking a nap while all four boys take a nap. Sometimes this means playing outside with them instead of doing the dishes. And sometimes this means turning the TV off and going to bed earlier than I would like so I can sneak in a few minutes with a cup of coffee and my Bible before the chaos descends. 

The days are sometimes long, I don’t always desire to open my Bible, and yet I’ve come to realize that I need to be intentional in scheduling in the times to read God’s Word. Does it happen everday? No. Is it always as long as I want it to be? No. Is it always fun and exciting to open God’s Word early in the morning when I would much rather sleep? Nope.

But I’m committing in this season, as busy as it is, to make this one thing a priority. Here’s what I’m doing:

Committing to God’s Word BEFORE I Look at My Phone

I read an article from Desiring God a few months ago and it convicted me so much that it’s been with me ever since. The article is called Six Wrong Reasons to Check Your Phone in the Morning and is based off of a survey they did of more than 8,000 readers:

“Our phones now go wherever we go — which is everywhere. And that means most of us sleep with our phones. In the bedroom, our phone wakes us up, tracks our sleep patterns, and makes us available in the event of an emergency.

All these benefits are wonderful. The problem comes when our phone is within arm’s reach and we grab it out of habit to check email and social media in our half-conscious state of sleep inertia — before our groggy eyes can even fully open.

Then we asked, whether you are more likely to check email and social media before or after your spiritual disciplines on a typical morning, 73% of you said before. Here’s the breakdown by age and gender.”

You can see the full study here and the really interesting thing to me is that out of all ages and between men and women, women ages 18-39 were the most likely to check their email and social media before their spiritual disciplines. The next most likely? Women ages 40-49! <—- Yup. I fit into these statistics. Do you?

I am not a morning person. For all of my life, through high school, college, and before having kids, I did my best work at night. My brain is more awake at night and I’m just more awake at night. But having kids and being so busy through the day has changed this. When I wait until the evening now to do my Bible reading, 90% of the time it doesn’t happen. Plus, this rang so true for me:

“Put another way, whatever we focus our hearts on first in the morning will shape our entire day.

So why are we so quick to check email and social media in the morning, and so slow to spend intentional time with God in his word and prayer? And can we find a better way forward in the pages of Scripture?”

I encourage you to stop, and go read that article. I think it will give you a lot to think about. I know it’s been stewing in my brain for a few months now. I want to be intentional with my time and plan out where and how I will spend my time. I’m working on these main areas right now:

  1. Exercising and getting healthy (losing the baby weight would be a good benefit too)
  2. Consistent Bible Reading
  3. More consistent and deeper Prayer

In the coming weeks I’m planning on sharing the new Bible reading plan Jason and I have been doing since July and I’m working on making prayer more of a priority throughout my day.

You can also read what books I’m reading this Fall.

Do you struggle with consistent Bible reading? When do you try and do your Bible reading? In the morning, over breakfast, before bed? Share in the comments!

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Sign up and you can start going through it right away! Join me to chat about how, with a few simple tips, we can start living with more intention. It might seem overwhelming to work on being more intentional and purposeful in your schedules and to-do list. But in reality, it takes just a few minutes to begin transforming your routines with 5 simple steps…

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  1. I’ve often felt the same way. I’m now a mom to a 21 year old who moved out, and am homeschooling a 13 and 15 year old.
    Last spring I read a book by Teri Maxwell. I’ve read several of her books, so I can’t be sure which one it was in, but she talks about the discipline of reading the word daily. She said she often hears the excuse that it’s too hard with little ones and homeschooling, but that actually it’s too busy of a time of life NOT to be in the word daily. He will give us the strength and encouragement and the peace and the patience to teach our children, to love them and encourage them. He is the one we need to run to each morning so we start our day off with the right priorities and right thoughts. I’m still not perfect about reading my Bible every morning, but I’m getting better and better. I’m really enjoying my time with Him each morning before the chaos of the day descends upon me.
    Ladies, you NEED daily time in the word to get through the crazy life season you’re in right now. Run to Jesus each morning.

    • “but that actually it’s too busy of a time of life NOT to be in the word daily. He will give us the strength and encouragement and the peace and the patience to teach our children, to love them and encourage them” <----YES!! Thank you so much for your comment, it's such an encouragement! I totally agree, it's too important not to do!! Thanks Lisa 😀

  2. I read that same article on Desiring God a few months ago and it convicted me the same way! Since I read it, by the grace of God, there have been very few mornings when my Bible reading app isn’t the first one I “check”! I’m a mom of two toddlers and I always read early in the morning. Like you said, if I wait, I don’t fit it in. Thank you for writing this in such an uplifting, yet straightforward and challenging manner. We need more moms like you speaking truth and encouraging moms to THRIVE, not just survive this season with little ones! I look forward to reading more of your writing!

    • Thank you Brittany!! I’m glad someone else is in the same boat as I am!! I want to make this such a habit in my life that I don’t even think about it – I just do it first thing in the morning! Thanks for the encouragement!!

  3. Have you heard of the First 5 app by Proverbs 31 Ministries? It has a short 5 minute devotional and then has the option to dive in deeper. You can set an alarm (several pleasant choices to choose from) to go off each morning. I don’t have to feel guilty that I’m not a morning person and my alarm doesn’t go off till 9:30a. This has been great for me as I can still grab my I-Pad, but am not tempted to look at other things first. The diving deeper section usually goes off at 3p to remind you to do it. They also make a supplemental guide you can purchase. Right not they are doing a chapter/day in Genesis. As a busy mom of a one year old and pregnant again it has been a life saver. At times I have felt guilt about not spending more time in the Word, but when I try to commit to more I end up failing and not doing it all. This is something I can commit to and follow through with. On the weekends there is a 10-15 minute video recapping what you read the previous week.

    • Katyee, that sounds fantastic!! How wonderful that you’ve found a routine that works for you!! I love it 😀 I’m going to have to check this out!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  4. Great post!! For me, the distraction is not my phone, but computer. Now I set a short time aside once a day for computer use. I have also been striving to wake up one hour earlier than my family for bible study and prayer (and a cup of coffee!). Then when my five-year-old wakes up (my husband and I only have one child by God’s design) we do devotions with her. It is amazing how much better our days go when we begin with Bible reading and prayer! I have days too where it’s hard to get motivated to read, but then I literally pray for God to deepen my desire for Him and His word and He always sees me through. I am so glad that I found your blog! I love how you keep th center focus on God. And if you can carve out time in your busy schedule to do Bible study and prayer with four kids under three (wow!!), then I can certainly do it with one, so thank you for the encouragement! 🙂

    • Hi Katie,

      That’s so good that you can recognize what the distraction is in your own life!! I’m really working on trying to get up earlier too. Some days are more successful than others at this point with newborns lol.

      That is SO true – God will help give us that desire if we are diligent to pray and ask him for it. Thanks for your encouragement today!! 😀

  5. Thanks Jami for sharing this article. I realised with my one child and numerous other family responsibilities that if I let my morning bible reading, prayer/praise time go by, then my entire day is drowned in busyness with not much fruitfulness! I was also about to move home from Asia to Europe and wanted to make sure I have a routine I can stick to in unfamiliar places and situations. So now my system is pretty basic- I get my morning tea with a snack, my phone with devotionals on YouVersion, devotionals in my email or even an ebook form devotionals…sometimes have had no place to sit on other than the foot of my bed (during a tight time when three of us lived in a room meant for a single person!!). I am not a morning person but I let myself off the hook if I can just do this much before noon and I try to re-read and think on my devotional one more time during the day. Am happy to report that it is as you say- a step closer to intentional days!

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