I’m a list person. Each morning, I write out a list of things that l need to get done that day. Laundry, an art job for someone, music practice, clean the house for company, write a blog post. . . Each day there’s a list, with tasks varying from trivial to super important.
I love the feeling of checking tasks off. It makes me feel productive. It motivates me to get things done. Anyone else out there love lists?
My biggest list, probably like many of you, is made in January. The new year encourages us to create new goals and begin new projects. It’s like having a fresh, sparkling white piece of paper in front of us. It’s a list-maker’s dream come true. We want to start our year on the right foot. So we try to make things happen.
Work out more.
Read fifteen new books.
Read my Bible more.
We can’t wait to see a checkmark by everything on our list, right?
Goals are great things, but I’ve found that when I get caught up in the check-it-off mentality, my relationship with Jesus becomes a religion instead of a relationship. Clean your room. Check. Finish that school assignment. Check. Spend time with the Creator of the universe who knows how many hairs are on my head. Check. Clean out the . . . WAIT, WHAT? See what happened? Time invested in knowing my Savior can become a normal, check-it-off-the-list task. Something I do just so I can move on to the next obligation. But . . .
Jesus is not an obligation.
Duty vs. Delight
Let me paint a word picture for you. You just met someone at a coffee shop that you really like. You want to get to know them. You want to understand who they are. You want to learn about their likes, dislikes, what they love, how they live, and where they work. So you invest in the relationship.
It’s the same way with Jesus. How can I expect to fall in love with Him if I don’t invest time into my relationship with Him? He’s already invested His life (which He sacrificed for this relationship). But if reading His Word and spending time with Him is just another checkbox, it becomes a duty, not a delight.
So how? How can we make our quiet time a time of deep connection with our Savior instead of a checked-task on our to-do list? Here are three ideas.
1. Act your way into feeling.
Don’t just go through the motions. Don’t rush through a list of prayer requests and move on to the Psalm of the day to skim it for inspiration. Ask God to show you the truth, and resist the temptation to close the Bible just because you’ve got to move on to the next thing on your list.
2. Get up early and make this the first thing you do.
When we go out of our way to invest in this heavenly relationship, instead of squeezing it in sometime between making dinner and writing that blog post, He becomes the priority.
3. Remember who you’re getting to meet with.
This is not a friend from California. This. Is. Jesus. Christ. The owner of every single inch of everything. The Creator of each tiny vein in your incredibly built body. The designer of each star. The One who died for each of us and came back to life! We get to talk to Him—and not just cordial conversation but deep, inspiring, convicting, rejuvenating time with Him. This is not an obligation. This is the most incredible gift.
So what about you? Are you a list person? What are some ways you’ve learned to keep your quiet time a delight and not a duty? I’d love to hear in the comments below!