Rochelle wrote in and said, “My biggest challenge is making time for devotional time as a family outside of church.”
I think this is a really common challenge for most people, to be very honest. I mean think about it…to do a devotional time as a family, you have to first shut off ALL outside “noises”. That means all cell phones off, all electronics off, all phone calls to be held.
Next, you have to gather up your whole family, which is a chore.
One kid is younger, another is older, put them together and it’s rowdy. Getting them to settle down and sit down and be respectful and have that time with them where they ARE calmed down is a challenge in of itself.
Then, getting your husband there. He’s got work; he’s got responsibilities. His mind is in 100 different places at all times and helping him settle down his mind and just getting your whole family in the right spirit in order to hold this family devotional time can be a chore.
Gosh, it’s tough! Because it’s not just ONE challenge, and it’s not just ONE person; it’s several.
I can understand the challenge.
I think that your first step to holding family devotional times is to just focus on doing one yourself.
Because we can’t add a bunch more components until we get our own life disciplined, right?
So are you spending 30 minutes to one hour a day with the Lord in private YOU time?
If you’re not, then that’s the first step.
Here’s how my day looks.
I wake up in the morning – first thing I do is read my Bible.
Whenever I wake up, I’m always walking in the flesh. Worries start to overcome me. Panics set in. Fleshly, worldly thoughts permeate my mind. Bills. Life. Responsibilities.
It’s by going to the Word of God first that I’m able to start walking in the Spirit and seeing things from His angle. It doesn’t always put me in the mindset of walking in the Spirit, but it does (about half the time), help.
Then, I get online and start my work. I wake up earlier than my kids so I can get some work time in without interruptions, and I’m able to get a LOT done. I’m up usually around 4 hours before they wake up so I have quite a lot done. It’s my “computer” time. Anything I’d need full concentration on.
After working for about an hour, I go back to the Bible and spend another 15-30 minutes in the Word.
Then I work again. I go back and forth, around about every hour or two, to spend another (at LEAST) 15 minutes.
So by the time they wake up, I’m walking in the Spirit for sure.
They wake up, they eat, and the day gets going.
I do all my working around the house when they are awake. Since I don’t need as much “brain” power to clean a counter, etc.
Usually once a day, we are all spending time together as a family (I’m a single mom, but this would be when your husband is at work type of thing).
Whatever we do as a family is usually their choice. Maybe they are into a particular video game, so every family time we spend together till the game is beat, we’ll play it. Maybe it’s watching a TV series they like. All together. So that every day, we are connecting and spending time together.
During the day (I homeschool), we are working on their homeschooling. It doesn’t have to be all math and quadratic equations either. Homeschooling is about preparing your kids to be out on their own. Teaching them everything they need to know. It’s more important, for example, my daughter learn how to cook for her future family, than it is for her to know quadratic equations. You know what I mean?
So, I’m teaching her to cook. Every day, I’m adding one new element to help her learn (she’s doing FANTASTIC by the way…the girl can COOK!) and she’s learning.
They are learning the life skills and things they need to learn for their futures.
During the day, they can have time to do what they want (free time) and usually they are playing video games, playing on the iPad, things like that.
Meanwhile, I’m working again, maybe creating printables or something that I can drop at the drop of a dime if needed. And there’s lots of breaks. I’m reading the Bible again, through that time, constantly in the Word all day, in increments of 15 minutes to an hour each sitting. Just to make sure that my day is going according to His will, His plan, His way.
When I sin, when I mess up, I’m able to catch it faster, because I’m in the Word all day.
I also pick certain days for batching things. For example, Sundays are church days, of course, and resting. I also take days off as needed through the week. Maybe it’s Wednesday and I’m just BEAT. I won’t work on the blog that day or do anything work related because I’m just tired and need a restful break. So I’m in the Word of God more, spending more time with the kids, things like that. Resting. Maybe it’s Saturday and I need a break day, so I take it. I take resting breaks on the days that I need them, as I need them.
Learn to rest. Learn to take whole days off. Let the laundry wait. Let the kitchen wait. I mean, feed your kids and do what’s necessary, OBVIOUSLY! haha! But take that day for you as much as you can.
When you rest, you’re able to really step back and see things from a bigger perspective which helps you not be so overwhelmed through the week! So it’s very, very necessary.
Sundays are also my “house” days. Our garbage comes on Monday, so it’s the day we’re putting out the garbage, we’re organizing the house, cleaning the house, we’re spending the day doing house things. If there’s nothing to reorganize or something, I skip it, no problem. But I do that sort of thing on Sunday.
Pick days in which you can batch your time. Not everything can be batched, of course. You can’t feed your kids once a week, okay. Just sayin’. 😂
But there are a lot of things you CAN batch. Laundry. Do it once a week instead of daily. Maybe daily works out for you and you stick one load in the washer every morning. That’s okay. Do what works best for YOU.
Once you have YOUR time with God a priority in your life, and you are where YOU should be, THEN, and only then, can you really shepherd your family to do the same. First, because they will look at your example. Second, because you can’t wrangle your family all together if you don’t have the time to do it.
For me, I start by “wrangling” my kids every day to play a video game or watch a TV series or something fun, right? It’s a habit. We get into a habit. Next, I start adding in some Bible time. I teach them about God. Maybe I talk to them about God or have a “family meeting” to talk about stuff.
It’s all a step-by-step process though. You can’t just expect to do it all at once. It won’t work or it will for a few weeks and you’ll stop. It’s a habit. A discipline, so chew off little bite-sized pieces as you go.
Listen, God doesn’t expect us to be perfect or have everything together so suddenly. It’s a continual turning of our hearts and our family’s and us leading them to turn their hearts toward Him.
Try little pieces at a time. Implement one new thing. You won’t wake up and spend 6 hours in the Word of God every day, okay. It’s just not possible. I built up to that. I started with mornings. Then, I started adding bits of 15 minutes during the day until it became something I just absolutely NEED to survive. I can’t go a day without spending all that time with God. I have a lot of responsibilities as a single mom, I have a blog to lead, people count on me, I NEED HIM! Every hour, every day, I need Him! Okay, I’m gonna start singing. 🙂 Such a great song and so very true. I need Him.
You’ll get to that point too, and it’ll overflow from your life and spill out onto your family, but first it starts with YOU. Remember that we cannot change other people. All we can do is to be an example to them in how they should be also (loving the Word of God) and encouraging them in their own walks with God. Not forcing mandates on them or making it legalistic for them, but showing them a heart of peace with Christ.
That’s how you get them to WANT to have devotions with you. That’s how you “wrangle” by leading, shepherding, putting God first, loving Him, and letting Him work in their hearts. ❤️
If you’re looking for some great material to have family devotions with your family, check out these family devotions.
Because after you get YOUR time with God prioritized in your life and stable, you can then do the devotions with your kids, you and them while your husband is at work, and then the last piece, would be all together with your husband, too. Remember one step at a time. 🙂
And some Bible studies for you (and your older kids/family):