God desires a growing relationship with us. He wants more of us. And I think most of us want more of God. The key to both is time together. And not just any time, but quality time. Quality time includes focused communication, free from distraction. Our culture, however, encourages the opposite. We are a busy people. Parents are involved in their children’s activities from the time they can barely stand up. Many jobs require more than forty hours per week. College students go to school full-time and work almost or more than full-time hours to pay for it. Factor in social media and we barely have any time truly alone. So many good things. As great as many of these are, this busyness can create a perfect storm that keeps us from developing quality relationships–especially with the One Who loves us more than anyone else.
When I sit down for quiet time (morning works best for me), it takes a conscious effort to ignore the pull of my iPhone. It seems that just as I settle down, I remember “important” things I need to do that day or something I need to add to my grocery list (like toilet paper)!
So I pull out my phone and “jot” these things down in my notepad app. Heaven forbid another notification comes in while I do that. And if I remove the electronic leash from the equation–my mind wanders.
What’s a girl to do in a culture that is driven to distraction?
In her book, More of God: A Distracted Woman’s Guide to More Meaningful Quiet Times, Betsy de Cruz talks about the challenge of staying focused for those who are easily distracted. For a girl like me, this is something I wanted (and needed) to investigate. Even if you aren’t easily distracted, More of God is for you, too. Betsy shares lots of great ideas for keeping our quiet times fresh. And we need that.
Betsy begins by showing us how 20 minutes can change our day. She explains that we can connect with God using “micro-learning time,” beginning with as few as five minutes. As this time grows, it becomes a springboard to experiencing more of God. She shares the basics of setting up a time and place for our time with God, and how to engage our minds so we can focus.
Then, Betsy dives in to explaining the many methods she uses to take small steps toward God in her devotional time, Bible study, and prayer life. She even shares ideas for “taking Jesus with you” every day. Each method is practical and simple to do.
I love Betsy’s ideas. She encourages us to alternate methods occasionally to “bring freshness and renewal” to our quiet time.” This is something my mom encouraged me to do years ago. I keep a “quiet time basket” near my chair that has different devotional books in it so I can mix things up a bit when necessary.
But Betsy takes this a step further. She doesn’t just encourage us to have a variety of devotional material handy, but a variety of methods.
I think my favorite section in More of God is Betsy’s approach to prayer. I’ve tried many things to help me stay focused through my seemingly endless prayer list. These methods worked for a while, but eventually ended up “on my shelf.” But Betsy makes prayer practical and fun. First of all, she doesn’t try to make you think you need to be a “super prayer warrior” in order to be effective.
A few years ago, Betsy introduced me to “verse mapping“, which brought a welcome change of pace to my Bible study and quiet time. When Betsy described “prayer mapping,” I knew I would love it and add it to my quiet time as well. I developed a prayer map for my personal needs and am now working on one for my family. She also talks about drawing out our prayers and prayer journaling. Again, Betsy encourages small steps.
Instead of awesome faith victories and one-hour prayer vigils, let’s aim for small steps in the right direction. I’d rather be a prayer wimp who actually lifts up a few brief, heart-felt prayers to God in the morning and throughout the day than a wannabe prayer warrior who never gets around to doing the mountain-moving prayer she dreams of.
Betsy even talks about “goal mapping,” another activity that can be tedious and time consuming, and turns it into something fun. These “mapping activities” are just one of many methods for experiencing more of God. I am not an artist, but I dearly love my colored pens and pencils, and love opportunities to use them.
Betsy takes us through several aspects of the faith walk and describes how small steps make a big difference in our growth. She reminds us the goal of our time with God isn’t knowledge, but life-change. She wants you to know that experiencing more of God’s presence and power starts with small steps. Five or fifteen minutes with God is so much better than wishing we could have three hours. In More of God, Betsy takes you through her own life story and how small things make a big difference in her relationship with God.
Betsy de Cruz writes and speaks to encourage women to get more of God’s Word in, so they can live their faith out. She wrote her book, More of God, to help distracted women take small steps towards God to experience more of His presence and power. You can find Betsy online at Faithspillingover.com where she shares Bible study and prayer tips for distracted women, as well as encouragement for everyday faith and family.