It's the middle of February and I'm still at the end of January in my Bible reading plan. This year I decided to switch things up and go through the Chronological One Year Bible. I've gone through the One Year Bible before, but I thought the chronological version would be interesting. Apparently it's not interesting enough, though, because I'm over two weeks behind.
I could make plenty of excuses for why I've missed out on that time with Jesus. More than anything I can attribute it to two weeks of really bad sleep for Clara. For the better part of three months she was sleeping through the night, perhaps waking up only once. A few weeks ago, though, she totally regressed. Instead of sleeping through the night, she was waking up three or four times a night, sometimes for up to an hour each time. When my alarm went off at 4:00 to spend time with Jesus and go running, the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed.
That's just an excuse, though. We all have them. There have also been plenty of times that Clara slept through the night and I still didn't get out of bed to spend time with Jesus. So while a crying baby might earn me some sympathy, the abundance of laziness definitely shouldn't.
This isn't just a struggle from the past few weeks; this has been a struggle for most of my life. I've always wrestled with consistency in my time with God. Ever since I was in high school and decided that I wanted to have a quiet time, my level of consistency has been up and down, mostly down. I remember reading through the One Year Bible before because, by the end of the year, I was way behind in that as well. Like a student cramming for finals, I made up about two and a half months in December, with the final push coming while sitting in a hotel room in Vegas on New Year’s Eve.
So I don't want to make excuses. I don't want to dismiss my inconsistency and say that it's OK. But I also don't want to beat myself up for missing a few quiet times, even though I've missed more than a few. I know the importance of spending time with God and I have seen the benefits of it in my life. So when I miss it, I'm trying to find the balance in how hard I should be on myself.
I shouldn't stare in the mirror and call myself names for missing that time. But I also shouldn't pat myself on the back and say, “It’s OK. You'll get ‘em next time.”
It's not OK when we miss time with God. One, because God calls us to spend time with him. And two, because it's such a great benefit to us. I've never gone through a season of consistently spending time with God and regretted it. If anything I look back on those seasons and I long for them, wishing to replicate that consistency in my current season.
I know that there's no magic formula to it; it's just simply making the time and doing it. As simple as that plan is in theory, for some reason it's really difficult in practice. Clara's starting to sleep better again, which should help. But even if she never wakes up in the middle of the night again, there will always be something to keep me from spending time with God. I need to work against those distractions, doing whatever I can to daily find myself at Jesus’ feet.
What helps you maintain consistency in your time with God?