Good morning ladies. Boy this past week has been interesting. I haven’t gotten to a few posts I have been wanting to do. I hurt my neck and some other areas doing a normal household task. Much better but had some rough days. I really do have to be more careful sometimes. Lesson learned, hopefully. Just one of those things I deal with. Strengthening things will be good.
I hope this finds you doing well. Spring finally appears to be springing up, yay, it is my favorite time of year. The beauty and freshness of everything coming back to life is just my favorite. The fresh air just smells and feels spectacular to me when head outdoors or open up some windows.
In this writing you will find some tips and other thoughts to keeping up your spiritual life and getting into meaningful Bible study and prayer.
For a long time reading books as well as wanting to find devotionals was something that I loved to do. A few years ago I made the decision to not focus on that like we women can tend to do. Oh, I love to read the Bible, listen to it audibly, have discussions with my husband, read blog posts, listen to podcasts among other things but I focused on the former a bit too. I don’t remember where I heard this but it made a big impact on me. This is a butchering of the actual quote so here is the gist of it: ” why do we focus so much on reading other peoples words about His word instead of just opening the Bible and reading it more instead of always looking for what others tell us it says and means”. It also was talking about how when we look for devotionals they usually have very little scripture quoted and have long explanations of what that scripture means. I got out some books that I had and noticed that that observation was true. That didn’t sit well with me. I like the ones I kept and will reference them but I do not go to them like I used to. I much prefer to dive into His word and have discussions with my husband like I always have. Now, I rely on that other stuff far less. We also have to be careful who we listen to too because there are many out there who encourage bad attitudes, behavior, selfishness and wrong thinking. By their fruits you know them. We need to always be mindful.
One of my favorite ways to study is word studies. That really opens scripture up in big ways. Bible study is so important to me and I used to get bummed out when I couldn’t devote the time I wanted to it. I had to learn smaller bursts is what I needed to do instead of longer sessions all the time. That was ok too. I have a far easier time getting in my studies and keeping up on my spiritual life now than when our kids were little. I found the time to do it while also getting creative as a young mom. This was quite important to me so I made these things a priority and raised our children to respect these things for us. Depending on ages of littles and seasons in means that you will have to adjust the implementing of things but it can be done. Some times it is pretty hard and you won’t be able to devote the time would like to however, any study is much better alternative than not doing any or rarely. Neglecting it will affect us and the alternative is not good.
Prayer should have the same approach. Any prayer in shorter sessions is better than skipping because don’t have the time for a long prayer. I used to regularly and still often do prayers as I am doing something because I really need to be doing what I am but can focus on the prayer at that time easily. Like when at table cutting up veggies and etc for a meal or when driving (safely paying attention during) or sitting in the passenger seat. If can do a more focused prayer in morning before others get up that is great. At bedtime is another good time if you can stay awake. Praying with the kids at set times is another great opportunity. If your spouse will with you that is another wonderful time. Do what works for you and staying in a prayerful mindset does wonders and you might find yourself automatically praying about something right away when it is necessary instead of skipping or waiting because you can’t sneak away to do it.
A big thing I did was use the time I was teaching them Biblical things, had them do copy work or whatever else they were doing was to do it myself, do it with them and/or use the discussions we had for me too. Think about it, if you are having discussions with your kids you are bringing Biblical things to your own mind. Don’t just look at it as just teaching them, it is review and solidifying it in your own head. If you are writing on the whiteboard like I have for them and even just because I felt like it, YOU are doing the copy work as well so don’t just write it to write it, write it FOR you too. Those two things are keeping your mind on things Above at those moments. It is for you too. I used to sometimes go through the worksheets they were in my head at the very least. That is study too!
When you are getting up for the day look at a verse or few right away. My last phone had daily scriptures and I loved looking at that first thing. I can’t find a good alternative for IPhone now like that one, drop a comment if you know of a good app that is just scripture to think on daily. I miss that app. This is a fantastic way to start your day and only takes a few moments. You can revisit it throughout the day and meditate on it as much as want.
I haven’t don’t this in years and was recently thinking of doing this again; even on just an index card write verse or set of verses that you want to regularly be brought to mind and display it. For years I had a set of verses that I wrote on a large index card and taped it to my side of headboard on our bed. I read it often and if I didn’t read it, the content was brought to mind. The bathroom is another good spot. How about by your desk or on our desk or wall? What about inside cabinets? See? The possibilities are endless. The point of these are to have them out where you can’t help but see them. Whatever make can be put in frames and made pretty as well.
When our kids were very young I would put them on a blanket at my feet when I sat in a chair or on the couch. They had toys and things to do. I even did this when I was doing dishes and put the blanket by the fridge so they could play with magnets too (I supervised closely). They learned to stay on the blanket and play. That is when I would do Bible study. They knew when that was set up what it meant. Over time they could stay longer and longer. Sometimes I had them on couch with me and they would play. Other times they would sit on my lap as I read or listened to whatever it was at that time. Sometimes it was kids things so they could learn the Bible too and we were engaged with each other. Even if they didn’t quite understand it they got used to heard those things and learned it in time.
Another thing that the kids did that helped me review things was I had the books of the Bible as well as words I wanted them to learn written on felt pieces. At first it was just on paper. I would call out words and they would find them and jump to them. It was something I could use for me too. Good for energetic little boys too LOL!
Taking time throughout the day to read the Bible, meditate on it, regularly talking about His word as well as how to be more Yeshua like is so very important. I made these things a priority in my life. Sometimes I struggled but overall this has always been a must to me. Our kids need to see us diving into it and making it a priority. If we don’t, can we realistically expect them to make it a priority?
I am a big believer in not using the Bible as a punishment to teach lessons. There are ways to teach and guide without inadvertently causing the kids to feel like it is used as a giant stick instead of something to turn to when we need it as well. I say this because we can do this to ourselves too. Don’t just stick with the tough parts that rebuke us, we need that for sure and often but seek out the wonderful things too. We can learn from all of it. When we are struggling don’t only look for what tells you don’t do this or that. Look for the parts that talk about what Yah and Yeshua do for us too and what they want for His people. Don’t only focus of the bad. That can make it harder to get out of your struggles. Look for scriptures that reference HOPE for example. These are good ways to keep up on our spiritual life. I know this works and helps because when I have had some big struggles I used to often not focus on the good at the same time to the same degree. Once I changed my approach boy did it make a big difference.
What I am about to say I know will cause many feelings to possibly get grumpy at but I am not wrong. Focus far more on yourself and not what others close to you are doing. Obviously there are things that you can’t and shouldn’t ignore, that is not what I am talking about. But one thing that will greatly affect our spiritual life is focusing too much on how others are making us feel or even how we perceive things. Our husband and kids can make us feel rotten sometimes and I don’t know very many woman who haven’t complained about not getting the attention they want and even how everyone takes them for granted. Blessings get missed and we also put ourselves in bad moods and we most definitely are not displaying the fruits of the spirit when we are mad at everyone for not treating us the way we feel we deserve to be treated or get the help we feel we deserve. When we focus on these things we often are not getting into the Bible properly, maybe even not with the right attitude or even motives. Our praying could be lacking or often focused on what others are doing that are bugging us instead of being more focused on us. Our goal should also be changing what we should. Yes, our feelings can be valid, but not always. Sometimes we are being selfish and not thinking about what the others are having to carry and deal with themselves. Maybe our behavior is making family stay away from us or not contribute as much because they don’t know how we will react to something. Sometimes we need to extend some grace and mercy and not be miserable and mean because we aren’t getting our way. Let’s face it, women can be very good at that. These things absolutely affect our spiritual life and are important. No, it doesn’t mean we are doormats or have to put up with things we shouldn’t. I try to think of how Yeshua was and how hard so much of how His character was while He was here can be for us to live out. It doesn’t change how all of us should be. We can do all things through Yeshua Who strengthens us.
Figure out what works for you for keeping up on your spiritual life. Even if it is just sitting on the porch or in yard reading the Bible for a short period of time. Sometimes the best way is to include the littles. Any time devoted to His word whether it is reading, listening or discussing is better than never or almost never. There were times I felt like I barely got anything done but there were attempts and I counted it all joy because there are endless possibilities for this and it builds character. If you have to put a little one in a stroller, high chair, swing or any other thing to help, there is nothing wrong with it. They can play or have snacks when safe and you can sit right near them and still interact. I have done similar and it helped tremendously. If you are going for a walk you could play a podcast, audio Bible or whatever else not very loud but from a device you could listen to and without earbuds if wanted.
There are so many things can do. Get creative. Make it a priority. I used to get told by many other moms they could never find the time like I seemed to. Honestly some of what they would say was rude, insulting and condescending. At times it annoyed me but I knew I was trying to be more like Mary than a Martha as well. I chose to make important things to me a priority. I got better with things as time went on. Even if it was only little blips here and there at least there was effort being put it. I believe choosing to make certain things a priority is such a good thing and the fruit that comes from it is wonderful. Sometimes I take steps backwards, boy can I but the effort is there.
Don’t feel like you have to be doing certain types or amounts of study or you are failing. Simply reading the Bible is fantastic. We tend to put so much pressure on ourselves. We do not have to do the exact same things. There are more things that I have to done to keep up on my spiritual life. Over time as I think of them I will share.
I highly highly recommend the Torah Family Living planner found at torahfamilyliving.com . I use it and it has been a game changer for me. Heidi has some other amazing tools that are so helpful.
I also like the Torah Portions Coloring Book by http://torahsisters.com I chose to print and cut down to fit in a picture frame. My frame broke so I have to get another. I have gotten away from doing that but coloring them and displaying them in our living room each week always brought it to mind when I glanced at them. I changed it every Sabbath to that weeks Torah Portion. That was really nice when I have done and so pretty!
Our attitude and how we approach things makes a big difference. Yeshua praised Mary sitting and listening to him, let’s make sure we are making that the same priority. It won’t always look the same but you will be glad you did. What do you do to help keep up on your spiritual life?
Until next time.