Hard Habit to Start
Marybeth Whalen

“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:2 (NIV)

At the beginning of this year, I made myself a promise—to read the Bible every single day. In order to be faithful to this commitment, I had to make this a priority above all the other things I used to enjoy doing in the morning. This meant that I would not check emails or read blogs, or start my daily household chores, or sleep a few precious extra minutes. I had to make this the first thing I did every day—and I had to keep doing it to make it a habit.

The first few days were hard. I didn’t want to get up earlier. I didn’t want to be held accountable if I didn’t “feel” like doing it. I found myself looking back at the days when I could just get up and jump online without feeling guilty. I found myself thinking, “Why did I get myself into this?”

And then I remembered a horrifying moment when I realized that, in all the busyness of life, I had let go of my connection to my Savior. I had stopped abiding in Him. I had broken off my daily fellowship in His Word. All of the demands on me had caused me to tell God I would just have to get to Him “later.” I had allowed my lifestyle to dictate my spirituality. I decided to become more intentional about reconnecting with my Savior and His Father. This was not a moment about guilt and obligation—far from it—this was a brokenhearted time of grieving over what I was missing.

From that moment on, I began to do the things I knew from experience would help me stay connected. I purchased a Bible written in a translation I could read with ease and that was divided into easily readable increments. I read Christian books that inspired me. I turned on praise music in my house and cranked up the volume. I spent time praying every day—shutting out all the noise and demands in my life so that I could focus on God. I learned anew what it means to listen for God’s voice, and then to take that important second step by actively responding to His voice.

This was a process I submitted myself to willingly, through no provocation save the urging of the Holy Spirit. I offered all I had—including my limitations—up to God, knowing that He sees my heart as the very basis of it all. Some days I have been more committed to it than others as I have established this habit in my life. And I know that He loves me, even on the days I fall short. Especially on the days I fall short.

This morning I woke up on my own just as dawn’s light was streaking the sky. I sat up and reached for my Bible, anticipating what God would say to me, savoring the precious moments I have with Him before life unfolds. What was once so difficult for me to make happen is now a joy and a delight in my life. I no longer have to force myself to spend time with God—it has become a habit that is as much a part of my day as breathing. I hunger and thirst for His Word. I need it like I need air. I am so grateful He waited for me to figure that out, and was right there waiting patiently when I came running back to Him.

Author’s Note: I wrote this to hopefully encourage another woman out there who feels too busy and overwhelmed to have a quiet time. Quite simply, I know that if I can make this happen, anyone can! Persevere and keep on making it a priority and it will become a habit. I have been amazed at how much I now enjoy getting up a bit earlier to spend time with God—something I used to say was physically impossible!

Dear Lord, help me to seek you earnestly. Help me to live like You are a priority in my life. I love you Lord and I want to spend time in Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Women’s Devotional Bible (NIV)

God’s Purpose for Every Woman, Lysa TerKeurst and Rachel Olsen, General Editors

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Are you finding regular time with God a hard habit to start? Begin where you are with what you have. Commit to do whatever it takes to carve out time with God—you can get up fifteen minutes earlier.

What is missing from your life? Could it be that a regular time of focusing on God and His desires for you would help fill up your empty places?

Power Verses:
Psalm 92:1-2, “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.” (NIV)

Psalm 119:2, “Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.” (NIV)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh how i needed this today! I struggle daily with getting up that 15 minutes earlier, and I truly believe that Satan's plan is to make me more tired every morning! I then plan to "do it tomorrow" and fail over and over. I now feel led to pray specifically for the LORD to wake me daily, filling me with an energy and eagerness that only the Holy Spirit can give me! Thank you for your words of encouragement!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so helpful to me. I am struggling to get up each morning but I will follow the suggestions you made and pray specifically. A verse in Proverbs that has been helpful is "He who seeks me early will find me". I am holding on to that verse. The Lord knew that I needed this great encouragement. Thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have not spend any morning time with God in so long. This morning I woke up early and after I read my morning emails(just as you said) I thought, "I haven't looked at a devotional in a long time." I went to my bookmark and read your devotional. God;s timing for me to look this morning is another example of His awesome timing.

Thank you so much!

Blogger Lisa said...

This morning has been a hard one. Waking up to the news that a friend passed on, made the morning a bumpy one. I prayed right as I woke up, but my Bible time has been interrupted several times already. Thank you for this devotion.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen Sister! I have felt this exact same way and now I spend time with the Lord daily in some way. Thank you for reminding me of why I do this!

Blogger Heather@Mommymonk said...

Thanks for the encouragement to keep on persevering in making Jesus our top priority! These are thoughts that have been on my mind lately too - it's easier to say that I love Him than to prove it by my actions. I desire to spend time with Him regularly and that's the best place to start!

Blogger Michelle Maddocks said...

I needed that today too. Thanks for sharing some practical advice on it and personal example too. Encouraging!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the things that has most helped me in my "habit" of spending time with God is to realize that what He calls us to is to love Him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. He offers us a relationoship with Himself. His Word and prayer and praise are all part of growing more in love with Im each adn every day. When I realized that, the motivation for me was not because I have to, but because I want to.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for today's devotional. This is exactly what I long for and sadly I've put the Lord at the bottom of my priority list. Thank you for your encouragement that we can all do this! I covet that precious intimacy with our Savior!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This was not a moment about guilt and obligation—far from it—this was a brokenhearted time of grieving over what I was missing." That is the key - realizing the time is a blessing rather than an obligation.

I bought a nicely divided "read the Bible in a year" at the beginning of the year. I really enjoyed my morning quiet reading time, but since we've started back to school I'm missing it. We have started back with Greenleaf Press's Guide to Old Testament History, so I'm still reading, I'm just reading and studying with my kids instead of on my own. The key now is to accomplish both the individual and family studies.

Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you for these truths. I know that now that I'm finally in the habit of having my daily reading time, my days go smoother ... and I feel His presence guiding me through my day ... but it wasn't easy to develop the habit. It took commitment and lots of prayer ... and planning! One 'tool' which has helped me is a 'chronological Bible' which places all the verses / chapters together as they happened. For me, it's helped me to understand more ... but even better is the hunger to know more.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the first 30 years of my Christian life I struggled to have a regular time in the Word. When I did read it I struggled to see the positive verses as being meant for me. The negative verses seemed more personal. That all changed three years ago when I sat in my kitchen, held my Bible in my hands, and asked God to show me His heart in Scripture. That simple prayer revolutionized my time in His Word. That was the same day I began journaling my thoughts from His Word. The journaling led to sending out daily email devotionals and I am having the time of my life in the wee hours of the mornings. I am breathless and astounded at where this journey has led so far. For any women who fails to hunger for God's Word I invite them to do what I did. Simply ask to see His heart. The rest is sheer delight!

Blogger Taly said...

I must admit I had this once and let it slide lately very much. I really need to start with this habit again. I admit sleeping in (since I am preg nant) and spending time on the computer (since I have better access now) is my main hinderance. But I feel so much that I am so often defeated and out of focus exactly for this reason - no daily reading and talk with my Heavenly Father. Thank you for reminding me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much I really needed this morning very encouraging!!! keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!!

Blogger Alli Miles said...

What a wonderful way to encourage others! Thank you for all that you shared. I too decided that "this year" I would read His Word to feed the thirst and hunger in my life. I also bought the Women's Devotional Bible and love it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it's okay, I'd love to print a copy of this devotional and keep it in my Bible or hang it up in my closet as a reminder. Even today I struggled with reading the news headlines before the online devotional. I am going to ask Him to change my heart to desire time with him first and make current events less important to me. Thank you so much for the wake up call and reminding me to put him first before the busy things of the day.

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