My biggest struggle with daily devotions is not carving out the 20 to 30 minutes needed to read the word and spend time with God. The most difficult part is slowing down my heart and mind enough to get anything from it.
Here is the challenge. I usually wake up to an endless list of tasks I need to accomplish; at least three to four meetings line my calendar, 100+ emails fill my inbox, and tasks at home gnaw at the back of my mind. When I wake up, my mind and heart begin racing because that is the only way I will be able to get it all done.
Since I am already sprinting on the inside, the 20 minutes I need to spend with God turns into another task I need to complete. It becomes a transaction without heart.
It is even worse because the thought of slowing down feels like a hindrance, not a help. I fear slowing down because I know I will need to pick up the pace and begin sprinting again when I finish my devotions. I fear that if I slow down enough for my time with God, I will not be able, or even want, to pick up the pace enough when I am done to meet the demands of the day.
Nevertheless, I sit down to read scripture and pray, and occasionally, the scriptures take hold of my heart and pull my eyes away from the temporal and put them on the eternal. At that moment, my spirit breathes a sigh of relief, and it begins resting in the goodness of God. From there, it moves me to prayer. As the old song says, when we turn our eyes upon Jesus, the things of earth will grow strangely dim.
What is the point of this? Even though we can rarely slow down our spirit enough to have a meaningful time with our Lord, we should go through the motions anyway. It truly is our best chance for the Lord to speak to us and refocus our souls. To repurpose an idea from John Owen, when your heart is not in it, continue in obedience, and in due time he will draw your heart into it.
In a frantic world, our only hope of finding rest is to turn our eyes to Jesus. Without looking to the Rock of our salvation, our minds will remain carnal and anxious in an endless quest to find solid footing in the shifting sands of this world. Even if we struggle to be still and know that he is God in our devotional time, do it anyway because skipping it is akin to giving up. Make sure time set apart for the word and prayer is on your calendar, even if it feels like another task on your to-do list.