No matter how good our intentions are, we often find ourselves putting God second when other things take our immediate attention. Prayer gets replaced with 20 extra minutes of sleep, we watch Netflix instead of reading the Bible, and so much more. And as parents, it’s not just our own busy schedules that occupy our time, but our kids’ schedules as well. We know how busy life can get and we want to help.
“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!” —1 Chronicles 16:11
Like it says in 1 Chronicles 16:11, we should be continually seeking God. But how often do we really connect with Him? Is it every week? Once a year on Christmas? Whatever your answer is, we want to help you to connect with God. Use the tips below to evaluate your schedule and find ways to keep God the #1 priority in your life. Once you start working toward a deeper relationship with God, we invite you to guide your kid to do the same!
Personal time with God
“Spending time with God is the key to our strength and success in all areas of life. Be sure that you never try to work God into your schedule, but always work your schedule around Him.” —Joyce Meyer
Working, parenting, personal time, and everything else in between have a habit of getting in the way of time with God. But as Joyce Meyer reminds us, connecting with God should get in the way of everything else. So, here are some tips on how we can prioritize our relationships with God despite our overwhelming schedules.
- Review your schedule. Taking time to review your schedule can help you find ways to integrate quality time with God on a regular basis. Do things quiet down after 8:00 pm? Have 10 minutes between meetings? Use that time to pray or meditate on a Bible verse. You can also reflect on what you do every day that could be made less of a priority. Often we don’t have time because we allow meaningless habits to distract us. When was the last time you scrolled through social media for two hours too long? (Guilty here!) Make an effort to limit these types of distractions and spend that time intentionally with God.
- Start small and simple. Habits aren’t just hard to break, they’re hard to create, too. Start by finding how you personally connect with God best. Then make small, simple steps to make these an integral part of your routine. For example, if you find that worship is one of the best ways you connect with God, commit to a one-song worship session once a day. If you do this habitually for a while, your day will soon feel incomplete without this time with God.
- Stay away from the checklist mentality. Finding loads of time for God is a good thing! But the number of hours spent is no match for how you’ve spent time with Him. Be wary of adopting a checklist mentality, and making time with God just another task to be done. Practice having a heart of gratitude, expressing your true emotions, and seeking God in meaningful ways. Yes, spending hours upon hours each day may look impressive, but it’s how you’ve spent those hours that truly matters.
- Memorize verses. Committing God’s Word to memory can make sure you’re never without encouragement and connection to God. Stuck somewhere without a Bible or internet? Consult your memory banks and meditate on His truth. Don’t have enough time to stop working? Take two seconds to breathe, refocus, and remember a verse without compromising your workflow.
- Pray often. Relationships are often created through quality time and conversation. Keeping a consistent prayer life allows us to connect directly with God and strengthen that connection on a regular basis. And it doesn’t have to be a huge, elaborate gesture. The simple act of taking a few minutes to touch base builds our relationship with God.
- Set an alarm. Sometimes there’s no comfortable way to make time in your day. We’re always too busy, too tired, or just not feeling it. If this sounds like you, try setting a non-negotiable time in your schedule to connect with God. No matter what you’re doing or how you’re feeling, take some time to pray, read a verse, or do something for Him. And no, this doesn’t have to be a 6:00 am alarm! Make it during your lunch break, or after the kids go to bed, or any time that you feel might be a natural break in the day, and stay faithful to that time.
Supporting your teen’s spiritual life
“The thing is to rely on God. The time will come when you will regard all this misery as a small price to pay for having been brought to that dependence. Meanwhile, the trouble is that relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” —C.S. Lewis
Being a spiritual guide for your kids is a daunting task, especially when what we’re encouraging starts over and over again as C.S. Lewis suggests. The truth is, relying on God is an ongoing process that we have to intentionally initiate everyday. When it comes to your teen, ask them if they’re willing to be open about this process with you. If they’re willing to explore their relationship with God, use the tips below as a starting point!
If your teen is having doubts or doesn’t believe in God, let them know you’ll be there if they change their mind. It’s important to never force your faith on them, and to respect their decisions. When was the last time your teen truly enjoyed something you forced them to do? It’s pretty rare. The only way to genuinely connect with God is to desire that connection. So if your teen isn’t in a place to do that, try not to force it on them. In the meantime, nourish your own connection with God and strive to love your teen as unconditionally as God does. If your teen is ready to deepen their relationship with God, here are some ways you can help them value God above all else.
- Go to the source. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how we can help our kids. But you don’t have to be in the dark, all you have to do is ask! Ask your teen how they would like to be supported in their faith journey. And, most importantly, follow through and respond to those requests.
- Take a shopping trip. Go to the store with your teen and look for devotional books, encouraging notes/signs, planners, study Bibles, and anything that interests your teen that can help guide them spiritually. Need suggestions? Click here to read a list of books that helped the Axis team with their faith!
- Create a family small group. Gather the family to explore different faith topics, share testimonies, or simply pray together. Use this time to support each other, be honest about where you are spiritually, and connect with God as a family. And remember, especially if this is something new to your family, your teen might feel uncomfortable sharing at first. Let that be ok for the time being. Model your own vulnerability first, and allow them the space to share and pray aloud when they feel ready.
- Encourage them to find an accountability partner. Whether it’s you or one of their friends, encourage your teen to find an accountability partner to help them stay consistent with their walk with God.
- Have spiritual check-ins. It’s easy to ignore problems in our spiritual lives, especially if things are “good enough” for the moment. Take some time to check in with your teen about their connection with God and their faith. Help them to deal with any problems or struggles they may be ignoring or overlooking. Or simply rejoice in the fact that they’re doing well! (Click here to find a list of helpful faith-centered questions to ask your teen if you’re having trouble getting the conversation started!)
First, reflect on your own connection with God with these questions. Then ask your teen these questions to start the conversation!
- Are you satisfied with your spiritual life? Why or why not?
- Do you feel connected to God? Are you confident in your relationship with Him? Why or why not?
- How can you build your relationship with God? What practical steps can you take?
- Who can you use as an accountability partner?
- Look at your schedule. When is the best time for you to dive into a deeper connection with God?
- How can you start making time with God part of your daily routine?
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