Not only do I have a distractible personality, but I also have the pleasure of three little distractions. I hesitate to say that my husband is a distraction, but it is true that on occasion, he can make my rational thoughts come to a complete standstill. As long as you don’t distract me when I have a hot iron, or when I am in the middle of measuring baking soda, I don’t mind being distracted much of the time.
However, distractions can be frustrating for a mother who wants to feast on God’s Word, including me. If a mom has had the experience of enjoying the Bible before she had children, she might despair of ever regaining the luxury of blocks of time in God’s word, on a regular basis. She knows that she needs the Bible, but she may wonder how God expects her to read and obey her Bible when she may not be able to put two rational thoughts together at once!
A woman’s personality plays a role in her approach to reading Scripture. Each personality has strengths and weaknesses, and it can be a challenge to improve our weaknesses, but not try to become someone we were not created to be. Some organized mothers may read this post, and the previous one, and be completely bewildered at my wrestling with distraction, at my difficulty reading systematically every day of the year. Nevertheless, if you have ever found yourself wrestling too, perhaps seeing what someone else has done can help you examine your own strategies for learning and obeying God’s Word.
Besides using limited time wisely (and not demanding extended time when it doesn’t exist as I’d like it), I’ve found a few other things that have been helpful.
- Remember God’s Grace and Mercy! Sometimes I’ve felt embarrassed to read my Bible for such a little time. Or I’ve been dismayed when I haven’t read profitably in awhile. In these times, it is especially helpful for me to remember that one cannot come to God without believing that he exists and that he delights to reward those who seek him! We can approach him boldly, knowing that he desires our fellowship, confident that he knows our weaknesses, our individual circumstances and how we got there, and loves us just the same. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble!
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all pointstempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“ God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
- Listening to the Bible. Especially when there doesn’t seem to be an awake time where I don’t also have children running around, I’ve found that listening to the Bible has been helpful. It adds another way for a toddler to understand that his mommy is doing something important. Listening helps me tune out happy playing noises when reading alone cannot. I’m not normally a listener, but during days when I cannot keep my thoughts straight, this has been very helpful.
- Meditating on the Bible. Meditation is one thing that any busy mom can do well. When we take a verse that is helpful for us, and remember it throughout the day, thinking about it like a new bride thinks about her sparkling wedding ring, we don’t need extended blocks of time. We don’t need a vast knowledge of the Bible. We don’t need to be spiritual giants.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:2-3
- Singing the Bible. I’ve also found it amazingly helpful to sing Scripture songs when my thoughts are unyielding to order. The Steve Green Scripture songs that my children like are good for ME. I have certain CDs I listen to because they remind me of the very Scriptures I need to be thinking on. Singing them puts them in my heart when reading alone doesn’t seem to do as well. This is a form of meditating, and it has been extremely helpful for me. The added benefit is that your children start singing those same songs at the most convicting times!
- Putting the Bible on a Child’s level. We sometimes forget that the same Scriptures we are teaching our children are important for us, too. As I repeat the same lessons, I’m often challenged to realize I’ve not been obeying like I should. I realize that the instruction I’ve been giving hasn’t always been useful or realistic (I expect my children to be more mature than I expect myself to be.) In any case, the discipline of teaching my children is a benefit that I don’t consider when I’m bemoaning the lack of time I have to study. This is study, if I use it that way to examine my own life. It keeps me humble to see how I don’t always trust God like I’m telling my children to, or obey right away with a happy heart as I expect from my children. It is a good thing to learn this way.
I recently discovered that practice really does make a difference even in learning to absorb Scripture with distractions. I never thought I was good at reading the Bible with distractions until my husband was home one morning, trying to read his Bible, and he said “How can you read your Bible while they’re playing like that?” I guess all the practice did make a difference, because even though I still like to read the Bible when it is quiet, I really can read when they’re busy and somewhat noisy.
Excellent suggestions, Michelle!
In response to an LMF challenge, I have been trying to memorize Psalm 139 in a different version. I have been using my morning hair drying time for that purpose.
I like the idea of using your hair drying time to memorize, Traci. (although I can see where memorizing in another version would be beneficial, I have found it very difficult to memorize scripture from other versions. I finally retreated to the KJV, and I’m much happier!) Did you ever read the Horton book? How do you think the ebb and flow of life affects Bible reading and memorization? I say this because memorizing seems to follow this pattern, and I’m realizing it’s not random.
And, yes, I think you can call your husband a distraction.
It’s proving difficult for me to remember the words of a version other than KJV–thus the memorizing is actual work! I have not been consistent about memorizing Scripture, but I think that’s more due to my lack of discipline in that area.
I am still working through the Horton book. It’s quite interesting, but I think I need more concentrated reading time than I currently have.