Blogging A to Z Challenge
Yesterday I encouraged you to care for your spirit, and today I’m going to give some hints for dealing with the distractions that will try to keep you away from doing just that.
I remember one day a year or so ago when I was excited about reading the Bible, starting with Genesis. I was so eager to read the Creation story, take notes, journal, and really get “into” what I was reading.
My plan was to get a few things done around the house—start a load of laundry, put supper in the crockpot, and return an urgent e-mail—and then start.
I did those things and eagerly sat down to begin reading.
Within two minutes, the dog wanted to go outside. I let her out, then in, gave her a treat, and sat back down. The cat wanted out. I remembered something I’d forgotten in my e-mail, and sent another before I forgot—again!—what I’d forgotten the first time. The buzzer on the dryer went off and I got the clothes out before they wrinkled (I hate to iron).
I read a few more verses…and the cat wanted back in. The dog wanted out again. Supper in the crock pot needed to be stirred. The dog wanted to come in. The other cat wanted to go out.
Finally I decided to sit outside and read to get away from the distractions in the house. I got all settled with my Bible and journal…and realized I’d forgotten a pen. Got settled again…and the dog, lonely inside, wanted to come out and sit by me. Read a few verses and realized the sun was a little hot and I needed something to drink.
And so it went. Distractions prevented me from reading more than a few verses of Genesis on that day. I am convinced that the devil uses distractions to keep us from nurturing our spiritual life. And he is sneaky about it! After all, all of my “distractions” were things I “had” to do, and it was easy to convince myself that I “had” to take care of the distractions in the midst of—or before I began—my Bible study.
After a few days of Bible study times like this, I decided I had to be proactive in getting rid of or minimizing these distractions. If you get distracted during Bible study, try some of these tips:
- Time of Day: Through trial and error I found that early morning—before anyone is up (besides the dog and cats…more about them later)—is the best time for me to do Bible study. I pray every day for the desire to get up early—and I go to bed early as well. Find the time of day that is best for you!
- Place: Designate a place for devotions; a desk or comfy chair in the corner of your bedroom. I use an old computer desk that didn’t fit in my husband’s office, and a low coffee table acts as a bookshelf.
- Supplies: Gather everything you’ll need; Bible, Bible study books, journal, pens and/or pencils, etc., and arrange them on your Bible study desk or on a coffee table or in a basket where you’ll be doing your study.
- I have sticky notes on my desk (or in my basket) so when I remember a task or “to-do” I can jot it down right then and there and get my mind back on the Bible. I also have notecards on which to write verses that touch my heart, Kleenexes, and a bottle of Tums for those days my acid reflux acts up. I leave a fuzzy robe or blanket in my office for chilly winter mornings. Anticipate things that will make your time special; I often mix up hot chocolate or chai for a treat during that time.
- Prepare: I’ve realized that our dog inevitably hears me and gets up when I do, no matter how early it is! Before I sit down to do Bible study I let her out, let her in, and give her her breakfast. If you do your study during the day, consider turning the phone off (or bringing it with you so you don’t have to run for it; use caller ID to see if you truly need to answer). Check supper, put another load of laundry in—and if you forget to do these things before you start, don’t interrupt your study, jot the task on a sticky note and do it later.
- Priority: Make Bible study a priority. If you choose to do your study when your kids are napping, after your husband goes to work, or before bed, DO your study right after the kids go to bed (trying to start supper first guarantees a “no nap” day), immediately after your husband leaves (no “quick” phone call first) or right when you crawl into bed (before you turn the TV on.) I don’t turn my computer on until after I’ve done my study; if I do, I’m sure to be distracted by e-mails I “have” to return right away. Determine to not let anything that is not of critical importance (a crying baby or the smell of smoke) interrupt your time.
- Pray for God to help you keep your mind focused, and guard you from distractions. Here are several verses that I use:
- “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and My Redeemer.” Psalm
- “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.” Psalm 119:18
- “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
These are suggestions, not rules! Depending on the age of your children, out of home commitments, and your own personal schedule, you might have to modify these suggestions. Remember that it’s ok to change your schedule according to events in your home or the rhythm of your life; for example, I can’t sit outside to do Bible study during the
(I’m also doing the A to Z Challenge at my other blog at the Nebraska Family Times , where I’m blogging about “Spiritual Discernment” today.)