When You're Too Busy to Connect With God
By Ann Swindell
February 4, 2015
Busy. It’s a word many of us use most of the time—we’re too busy, so busy, very busy, or just plain busy. We’ve got work to do, children to raise, meetings to get to, appointments to keep, friends to connect with, spouses to love.
So how do we stay connected to God even when our lives swirl around us at a rapid pace? How do we keep Him central in our hearts and minds while we live our very busy lives? Here are a few ideas for staying close to Jesus even when life gets crazy:
Start with Scripture.
My goal is to read the Bible every day—early in the day—so that everything else I do is seen through the Biblical lens of reality. Reading the Bible is one thing that keeps me grounded in truth and connected to God. I have found, for me, that when I start my day in the Bible, my heart and mind are better prepared to respond to God’s presence throughout the rest of the day—and I usually find that I am kinder in my responses to other people and more gracious with myself.
And yet, even though I know how important it is for me to read the Word in order to stay close to God, it is surprising to me that something so simple can be so difficult to do on a consistent basis. So get creative if you need to. Do you commute to work? If you’re driving, listen to the Bible on audio. If you’re sitting on a train or on a subway, read the Bible on your phone or carry a pocket version of the Bible with you.
Listen to Truth.
There are a lot of voices swirling around us every day—voices that tell us we aren’t good enough, that we have to find love for ourselves, and that we need to be more attractive and make more money. If I listen to those voices too long, I get sucked into those lies. So I seek to fill my head with music and words that keep me focused on God throughout the day.
If you’re reading this, there’s a high chance that you have access to an incredible amount of Christ-centered media options. Podcasts that point me back to Jesus in the midst of a crazy world, music that focuses my attention on Him and sermons that keep my mind grounded in truth—these are the types of things I try to fill gaps of free time with. They help me remember that in Christ, I am loved and that I have all that I need—things I constantly need to hear.
Pray Throughout the Day.
It is important to have regular time set aside to pray, but as in any relationship, ongoing communication is important. I often pray in shorter bursts while I’m driving, or while I’m walking across campus to my classroom, or while I’m picking up toys in the house.
I had a professor in college who prayed for a particular person each time he turned on a light switch, and I love that idea of partnering normal, daily actions with intentional prayer. It keeps our hearts in conversation with God and invites Him into the normalness of our lives—which is right where He already is.
Pause When You Feel Overwhelmed.
In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
But it’s difficult for me to receive God’s peace if I’m so busy that I don’t make time to stop, even briefly, and ask for His help. And so this whole idea of pausing is an important one for me. There are often multiple times each day where I can start to feel overwhelmed, anxious or concerned—usually about things that are outside of my control. If I actually take time to pause and turn to God when these moments come, rather than letting fear or anxiety overtake me, I find that He is always offering me his peace, which is bigger than any fear.
I also have a couple of friends who I text if I’m feeling overwhelmed—I ask for their prayer and sometimes for their advice. What I’ve learned is that the time it takes me to pause and pray and ask for help is always shorter than the time it takes me to be worried about something for another five minutes—or five days!
Invest in Relationships That Help You Love Jesus.
In order to live any life—let alone a busy life—that still has God at the center, I need people who are close to me to help me stay focused on Him. That doesn’t mean that all of our friends need to be Christians—far from it. It does mean, however, that we should aim to have a few deep friendships that flow out of a common love for Christ.
These are the friends in my life who challenge me when I’m living in a way that doesn’t line up with what I say I believe. These are the friends who offer to pray with and for me when life feels out of control. And these are the friends who bring me food when my kid is sick and bring me coffee when I’m too tired to make it for myself.
These are the friends who show me how Jesus loves me even when I don’t feel lovable—and they point me back to who God is and the truth that living with Him at the center is worth everything.
This article is adapted from an earlier post at annswindell.com
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