It felt like the whole world was just on pause. Somedays it still feels like we’re paused, or that things are just creeping by slowly trying to catch back up to its regular pace.
In some ways, that slow time was really helpful. I was able to visit my family for a really long time because I didn’t have to go into the office. I started walking regularly since the gyms were closed — and it was a nice time each evening with my family, just walking and chatting. I saved more money than I’d care to admit because I wasn’t eating out at all. And I do eat healthier when I cook or when my mom cooks. I think even our dogs enjoyed the time — they’ve never had so many people home all day long to let them in and out as they please. Another major plus was that I was able to spend so much more time reading the Bible and studying for small group time because I wasn’t away from home or in a rush to get somewhere.
It did take a little while to build up to prayer, because I actually really enjoy praying in the car, usually because I’m by myself. At home, with brothers, dogs, parents, Zoom meetings and the TV playing in another room, I had a harder time focusing on prayer than I typically do while driving.
But now that things are picking back up, it’s getting harder to keep the same habit of saving time for reading the Bible. And if I’m not studying for small group a bit each day, the days really come up fast and before I know it, I’m trying to cram reading several chapters and listening to the corresponding podcast in the 20 minutes before the group starts. And we’re back to where I was before the pandemic – always thinking “I should make time for that” and then never finding the time to do it.
But there’s the issue. I’m not going to “find” the time to do it if I don’t intentionally set it aside to begin with.
I try to stick to a budget. Oftentimes, I get to the end of the month and it didn’t really pan out how I planned it initially. But there are some things that have to get done first. Tithe is the first thing I take out. Otherwise, I’ll get to the end of the month and I can’t seem to find that money that I should have kept aside in the first place. Time is the same. If I don’t purposefully set aside a time each day and plan it before the day comes, I’ll be in bed that night wondering how I didn’t find any time that day to do my quiet time/devotional.
One of the best ways to set aside time each day is to set aside the same time each day. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing your quiet time at night, but I do prefer to do mine in the morning. So I plan that morning time and then set an alarm to give myself enough time so I don’t feel rushed trying to finish up because I have to get to work or get ready for church or meet a friend for breakfast. And my quiet time isn’t scheduled for the same time on Saturday as it is on Tuesday, but each Saturday is at the same time and each Tuesday is at the same time. Even when I travel or am on vacation. Because it doesn’t take much to knock me off the routine I had. Thankfully there is grace, but I enjoy the time I spend in the Word, both reading and studying, and in prayer so I try to do it each day.
So as things are getting back to normal, or the “new normal,” this is my goal — to continue the quiet time I had when things were slow. I hope you found something good during this time that you can continue to do too.