Balancing Jesus and Me … A Lesson In Distracted Devotion
by Jessica Smallman//Guest Author
I used to think I was doing really good at balancing my Jesus time and me time. Self care-you know. Then one day while I was happily having some “me time” Jesus and I had a little chat. He lovingly uncovered some of my yuck and my lesson in distracted devotion unfolded like this.
Like always, I poured a steaming mug of my favorite tea and snuggled in under a fluffy blanket to watch another heartwarming and predictable Hallmark movie, while my daughter was sleeping. I even remember thinking to myself “finally a few moments to myself!” When the movie finished I found myself looking for another chick flick since my daughter was still napping. Yes, more me time. As the movie was loading, low and behold the Holy Spirit met me on my bathroom break and asked “When is there time for Me, Jessica?” Shocked I thought, “of course I give You my time, Jesus!” His gentle whisper of conviction drifted into my ear as I heard myself say “Oh, only after I get “me time” first…yuck.”
God was right. He always is. The truth? My devotion to the God of the Universe was distracted by a mere Hallmark movie. You see, I would make deals with God. “Ok well…after the dishes are done or this craft is finished, or the laundry is done (seriously?!) then I’ll spend time in the Word.” In the end, I wasn’t spending any time in the Word, and I knew it. I was distracted and my devotion to the God of my salvation was a mess. Really God, am I so preoccupied that the bathroom is the only place I have no distractions? The bathroom?! AGH! There’s no phone, no lists keeping me busy and that’s where I’m actually quiet enough to hear you speak? WOW! I’ve fallen far. How did this happen?
Is this really what had become of my First Love, my Maker, my Redeemer, my All In All, my Strength, my Song, my Salvation, my Healer? Was I really trading Him for my Hallmark hideaways? Am I spending my moments on temporary distractions instead of investing in eternity? I finished in the bathroom and quickly put the computer aside. “No more wasting my time-NO MORE DISTRACTIONS!” I spoke it aloud for myself to hear. As I sat on the couch, this time with His Word on my lap, I realized how long it had been since I sat with my Father. Just me and Him. I had forgotten how to do that and how badly I needed it. I longed for understanding and truth to fill me and awaken my soul again. I knew the love and life of Jesus was waiting to ignite inside of me, but where do I start? It has been so long…
SETTING MY TIME ASIDE.
If you are like me, sometimes I get so distracted by the little things that I don’t even realize I am missing the big things. Have you gone through your whole day, or worse a whole week and haven’t gotten any closer with Jesus? Me, too. It’s time to try something new! I am choosing Jesus and His word first and then I can make time for those other things later. If you are a morning person (like my dear husband) than spend some time with Jesus first thing in the morning. If you are like me and like to sleep until you have to get up and the first moments of quiet are when the kiddos are napping in the afternoon, than grab your Bible and dig deep before little ones call for your attention.
If you don’t have time until you get home from work, that is fine! Take a few minutes to breathe and see what God has in store for you. Maybe reading the Bible and meditating on God’s word before going to bed brings you sweet sleep and gets you settled for the next day, than do it. Just meet with Him and make Jesus your most important task each day! You will be surprised at how your perspective on your daily demands will shift.
GETTING MY PEN OUT.
The biggest challenge after planning my time is where do I start? Some people get intimidated by the size of the Bible and others get overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy. It’s ok-you are loved by God and He will faithfully meet you right where you are. Don’t get overwhelmed just ask God to show you a specific book of the Bible and start! He will make that time with Jesus into something great that is special to you! When I am reading my Bible, I like to keep a journal nearby to record my thoughts and revelations. It gives me space not only to write out my discoveries, but also a place to write out my feelings and prayers. I am in an Ephesians Bible study so I decided to start with that book. I opened my Bible and read a bit, but then I decided to take it a step further and write it out! What a great challenge! It helped use multiple senses and forced me to focus so my mind didn’t wonder so much. Over the next 3 afternoons as I had my new and improved “me time” I loved being with my Father again. Those sappy movies stopped calling to me and the Word of God quickened my heart. Yes, I ended up writing out the entire book of Ephesians. I know the Bible doesn’t make me a superhero, but it does give me access to the King of the Universe and I needed new power. So, as my wrist cramped, my heart came alive and I was refreshed and renewed in a way that made Hallmark look really impotent.
The reason I’m writing about my experience is that we’ve all been there thinking we are balancing our time with God only to find out we’ve been completely leaving Him out of the equation. I challenge you today NO MORE DISTRACTIONS and no more excuses! There are way too many things that can take our attention away from what’s most important. Can you imagine how far you would fall if you let your relationship with God go stagnant? Just imagine the heights that it will grow when you spend time together with Jesus more regularly!
Don’t wait any longer to make time for Jesus! He is so worth it!