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In order to receive God’s blessing upon our dreams & goals and to use them to honor God, we must develop intimacy with Christ. If you’re alive today and not a monk or a hermit living in a mountain shack with a couple of goats, you probably spend a lot of your time being busy and may struggle with where to fit God into your schedule. The old saying says that idle hands are the devil’s playground but the opposite is also, and sometimes even more so, true: Busy hands are the devil’s playground. As promised, I’m going to help you overcome this.
But first, I have to be straight with you: Growing closer to Christ is a personal decision, and if you want it, you actually have to make it your top priority – like not missing the latest episode of Once Upon a Time priority or keeping up with covering your gray hairs priority. The things we really want, we don’t miss. Sadly, they tend to be things that really don’t matter.
I’m so sorry, Rumpel. You do matter to me! Just not as much as God.
For example, for many years, I scheduled Bible reading and prayer as the first item on my daily agenda, but each time I ran behind schedule or needed extra time, it was the first task to get kicked off my list. “See ya tomorrow, God. I’m sure you understand; after all a thousand years is like a day to you.” But now that I really have made it a priority, I find a way to get it done. The other items are the ones that get taken off my list.
So, if you want to stay close to Christ, make it a real priority and don’t make excuses for yourself.
Now, let’s break it down. How can you stay close to Christ despite being so busy?
Develop the habit of talking to Him throughout the day. If you’ve died to yourself and began a new life in Christ, then He has sent the Holy Spirit to live in you. Great news! The Holy Spirit and God are the same, so you are always intimately connected to God already. You just have to remember this & tap into it. You do not have to go to a special spot or be completely alone or sacrifice an animal (Thank God because that would sorely conflict with my dedication to saving animals!) to come into God’s presence. Just open your mouth & speak or do it mentally. I especially recommend the mental approach if you’re around a lot of people and want to avoid looking like a crazy.
Some ways to make the habit stick: set a timer on your phone to remind you to speak to God every hour, stick reminder notes at your work desk or wherever you most frequent during the day, ask a friend to practice with you & see who remembered to talk to God the most times at the end of day – hey, why not?
Start spending time with Christians who are also serious about growing close to Christ. Did you know that we tend to be an average of the 5 people we spend the most time with? For some of us, that’s a seriously scary thought!
Include God in all of your activities. Before you begin a new project at work, say, “God, help me do this.” If you’re watching TV at home, say, “Thank you, God, for this time to just relax.” Acknowledge Him in all things & you will eventually develop a constant dialogue with Him.
Speaking of TV, cut out some of the meaningless distractions in your life. A huge one … social media (Except for my blog, of course, don’t stop reading this!) Most of us have been guilty of it at some point – the slow scroll, where you mindlessly scroll down, down, down the endless feeds on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. Wow, what a waste of time! Cut some of that out and you have time right there to spend in prayer or Bible reading. If you can’t control yourself, there are programs that can help: Cold Turkey, Stay Focused, Focal Filter, Self Control (Mac)
When you are talking to God, don’t force it. You don’t have to be eloquent or in a deep state of spiritual bliss or really long-winded. God knows your heart already, so it’s totally OK to say, “God, I’m not feeling very spiritual right now, but I love you and want to grow closer to you. Please keep working on me.” Then, be done. It can actually be worse to try to be super spiritual and then realize 5 minutes later that your mind has definitely wandered off to what you’re having for dinner and something funny your friend said yesterday. If you feel your focus start to wander, say, “God, I am going to stop praying now because I can feel my attention slipping and I don’t want to disrespect you. Thank you for being patient with me.” Then, let that mind wander. It’s fun.
At the end of the week, review: Was I too busy for God this week? Where did I waste time? What are some things I can cut out of my schedule? How can I remind myself to talk to God regularly?
Your turn to talk: What did I miss? How else can we keep close to God during the day? What benefits have you seen in your life when you maintain a close relationship with Him? I’d love to share sample “schedules” for staying close to God with my readers, so please share what works for you!