“Few things frighten me more than the beginnings of barrenness that come from frenzied activity with little spiritual food and meditation.” John Piper
Fall and the start of school means frenzied activity. So why do I forget this every year?
In those final, lazy days of summer break, when my kids get bored and restless, I start to long for the structure and schedule of school. Then I get what I wished for and wonder, “What was I thinking?!”
I’m running on cold coffee and stale brownies, struggling to keep up. The laundry is turning sour in the washing machine, we’re already a week behind our homeschool schedule, and yesterday I discovered that my son went into science class unprepared because I forgot to give him his homework. Let the mistakes begin! Mornings are the frenziest (and the time that I’m most likely to make up words). Getting a family of six prepared for takeoff and launched into the day is a challenge. Doing it without sinning against anyone and everyone? Extreme challenge.
And so my Bible reading and prayer have been pushed off to later and later in the day—so late that it isn’t happening. I’m not being lazy and I really want to spend time with the Lord. It’s just that I can’t send my son to school without a lunch, or give up teaching my kindergartner how to read, can I?
But I’m starting to feel it. The beginnings of barrenness. I need God’s Word. I need His presence. More than anything. (John 15:5)
So where do we find the time? Finding the time to spend with God each morning often begins the night before. We have to get practical in order to prioritize the spiritual.
Here are some practical ideas that are helping me right now, along with some suggestions the other girltalkers threw in as well:
- I’ve started making lunches before I go to bed at night. No matter how tired I am, or how late it is, I don’t go to sleep until my husband’s and son’s lunches are ready in the fridge.
- Mom used to empty her dishwasher before she went to bed, that way it was ready for dirty dishes each morning.
- Make your coffee the night before. Set out your Bible, reading material, and supplies (pen, blanket, tissues etc.).
- Train your children to stay in bed each morning until you come and get them.
- Set the breakfast table and prep breakfast the night before (see Change is in the Oatmeal).
- Lay out school clothes and iron work clothes the night before.
- Go to bed half an hour earlier. Have a friend call to wake you up.
Making one or two of these practical changes will easily give you an extra half an hour or more each morning to spend in God’s Word and in prayer.
Fall will still be frenzied, but our souls won’t be. As we abide in God’s Word (John 15:5), we will thrive and bear fruit, even in this busy season.
Next year, I’m gonna try to remember this.
~from the archives