Thursday, January 16, 2014

Devotions.


***be sure to pop in and read yesterday's post! {and give your feedback...}

Quiet time. Devotions. Bible study. Whatever you call it,  I'm forever interested in the specifics and  practicality of how others spend their time with the Lord. Like with budgets or physical boundaries in dating, I've always been amazed about how private people are with talking about how they plan out their devotional time. I get that its highly personal and intimate, but I really passionately believe that we are able to {and should do better to} learn from each other.

My devotions have ebbed and flowed over the years, for sure. Different seasons of life {high school, college, summers at camp, grad school, times of grief} have meant for changes and adjustments. Over the last year or so, though, I've mostly settled into a routine that I really love. Maybe this will be really boring and irrelevant to you. But maybe you'll find it useful? I'd love to hear how you structure your time in the Word and prayer. {Elise shared her's here and I love it! She uses a planner, how cool!}

After lots of trial and error, I've learned what works {and doesn't work} for me. So before I get into what I do now, here's what I've learned works::

mornings// My devotionals are like my workouts, in that if I don't do it in the morning, by the time evening rolls around, I will have a dozen excuses {legit or not} of why it just won't get done today. If you think about it, nothing just 'comes up' early in the morning {besides being tired}. But rolling out of bed a little early is a necessary sacrifice for me to get in the time I need with Jesus each day. And doesn't he deserve such a sacrifice?

structured study// I like Bible study plans and direction. Sometimes I just meander through the Bible, but those are the times that I get distracted and don't really put much into whatever I'm reading or praying about. I've found that having a plan or book to help guide me works best. Here are some of my favorites {and ones I keep coming back to, year after year}: SheReadsTruth, Women of the Bible, Streams in the Desert

daily// Getting in daily, structured time with Jesus is really important for me {probably for you, too?}. While it doesn't always happen, because I'm far from perfect, it is absolutely always my goal. Some days I oversleep and only get 15 minutes in. Other days I lose track of time and end up investing over an hour of prayer and study. I don't think that there is some hard and fast rule about how often you spend time set aside with Jesus. But I also don't think it can happen too often, you know? So daily is my goal.

And, in case you're curious, here's what I'm doing now. And my tools, if you will::



-thankful journal
-Bible {similar}
-journal {for notes & prayer}




I always, always start out by jotting things I'm thankful for in my thankful journal. It's so neat to look back on and a good practice to put into place. {Read more about that here}





Next, I dive in Scripture. For the longest time, I went back and forth between this and this. While I love the SheReadsTruth plans, I don't love that I wasn't really connecting with the online community and it required a decent amount of time on my iPhone or iPad {for the YouVersion app}. So, with the new year, I decided to get back to basics and I've been loving it. I have been spending my Sundays reading the weekly study that my Bible has. I've never really done these before, and figured now was as good a time as any to jump in! For the other days of the week, I am working my way through Acts, reading about one chapter a day.





  So how do I read it? I go section by section. That helps me digest it all a little better and forces me to slow down. After I read through a section, I underline any verses that stand out to me and take notes. I summarize the section, in my own words. Sometimes my Bible has notes in the sidebar, and I add those to my journal. Then I connect it to my life or highlight verses that really stick out and why. Then I move on to the next section. After all of this, I take time to reflect in my journal about what I've read and how it applies to me. I usually even write out my prayers after my study notes.

Like I said, the amount of time I put in each day can vary {hello, oversleeping}, but the rhythm stays the same. Thankfuls, reading, note taking, praying. It works for me and really, truly draws me closer to God. I like this inductive type of study a lot, because it helps me actually learn Scripture and apply it.

What about you? How do you structure your time with Jesus? What are your habits for reading the Bible? I'd love to hear!!!

4 comments:

Whitney M. @ The Married Me said...

I agree with you that I think its nice to see how other people do things so that we can learn from each other.

I notice that most people do their devotional time in the mornings. Like most people I have ever seen. I've kind of fallen off the devotional track, but when I did I always reserved time before bed. I am not a morning person. I am a night owl by nature so to me night is always the time I feel drawn too. I always feel like the odd ball out!

grantandlaura said...

I just love this. It can be so hard to know how to structure time. Shame on top of guilt can often paralyze me when it comes to time with Jesus. I've recently started reading Crazy Love (I know..waaaay behind the times) and really taking his advice to stop, pause, take time in the Word, or reflect. Normally, I skip those parts like a good Christian.

I love this challenge. I love its focus on the Word. Thanks for sharing, Katie.

Caitlin Roth said...

This is so great! I'm all about the mornings, with a chai late in hand. I like making it the first thing I focus on because I can reflect back on it throughout the day. And YAY for Jay's stove!! :)

Emily Carnes said...

I seriously struggle with this--and I'm craving that quiet time so badly! I did really well at the beginning of the year, when I wasn't back at school yet...because I could just wake up and meander in to the living room to do my study. But now, I'm waking up with just enough time, if not too little time, to get ready and walk out the door. :(

Thank you for sharing your "time"...I'm so inspired!!