How To Actually Schedule Time To Study The Word-- and stick with it
Written By: Caroline Sumlin
“He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. ”
Matthew 4:4 CSB
Confession: this year is the first time in my life I have been consistent with spending every single day in the Word for more than a month. You read that right. Yes, I am passionately in love with Jesus. Yes, I gave my life to Christ when I was 22 and have been chasing Him ever since. Yes, I consistently spent personal time in prayer and worship on the regular, but I never consistently spent time in the Word. Until now. Before I get into what changed for me this time, I want to share with you what was really holding me back: fear. I was afraid. And, I was embarrassed. I didn’t know where to start. I always felt like I didn’t understand the Bible when I read it and I would compare myself to my other Christian friends and feel like I would never know the Word like they did. But, the more time I spent hiding from my Bible, the more my Spirit thirsted for Jesus. Of course, I was spending time in His presence when I spent time in prayer or private worship and in church, but I felt that conviction in my spirit that it wasn’t enough. I knew that in order to go deeper in my relationship with Jesus and to truly KNOW Him, I needed to be in His Word. And, I needed to make sure that it happened and that I stuck to it.
you have to make time
I realized that I needed to treat my time that I spent in the Word just like any other event/meeting/to-do I schedule into my day. It is technically a thing that requires time and in order to make it happen, it needs to be planned for. If we can plan our meetings, our outings with friends, and everything in between, then we can (and absolutely should) be planning our time with Jesus.
Raise your hand if you have ever used the excuse, “I just don’t have time.” Yeah, me too. Its okay. We’ve all been there. I will be honest with you and say that it IS hard to find time to spend in the Word. That’s why have you make time. You have to decide that something has to give or shift or move and intentionally give that time to Jesus. This will look differently for everyone. For me, it looks like sacrificing an additional 20-30 minutes of sleep in the mornings in order to read the Word. For you, it could look like moving the time you head to the gym back 20 minutes. Or maybe you tell hubby how you need 20 minutes of uninterrupted time a day and you ask him to take the littles on a walk every evening when he gets home from work and that’s your quiet time.
When you get creative and intentionally prioritize scheduling your quiet time in the Word, it will be much easier to not only stick to it, but to also make it a routine habit.
Dive into the word
Let’s make this the year we go all in and dive into His Word, every day, like never before. Let’s make this the year that we say no to fear, busy schedules, not knowing where to start, or anything else that’s holding us back and say YES to being stewards of His Word every day.
Ready? Let’s get started.
1. try scheduling your study time a week in advance
- If you’re the kind of person who likes to schedule their week out in advance (say, on Sundays,) then try scheduling your times with God for the week at the same time you schedule everything else. This will allow you to see your week as a whole and figure out different areas of white space that you have as you lay out your schedule. If you have a schedule that varies each day, this is a great way for you to carve out that time now so that it doesn’t slip your mind later.
2. Schedule your study time first (and work in the rest of your day from there)
- When you take out your planner to schedule your day, plan your time to study the Word first before you write in any other appointments or tasks. Even if you are starting your day with an 8a meeting, don’t write that meeting down in your planner first. Instead, write down when you are committing to that time in the Word. Then, schedule the rest of your day around that time. This ensures that this time is protected. Just like you wouldn’t miss a meeting at work, make it twice as important to not miss your daily meeting with God.
3. Create an event on your smartphone’s calendar to remind you
- Once you have your planner filled out with the times you intend to spend in your Word, create an event in your smartphone’s calendar with both reminders enabled. I like to set the first reminder for 15 minutes and the second one for 5 minutes prior. This way, you give yourself extra accountability to stop what you’re doing and pick up your Bible.
4. Utilize the buddy system
- Or, the accountability system, if that’s what you prefer to call it. Ask your best friend, sister, or hubby to join you in your new challenge to study the Word every day. Choose a Bible plan or study you can do together (love the YouVersion Bible app for this!) and hold each other accountable for studying each day. What I love about the buddy system is that I am much more likely to stick to my plans when I have someone holding me accountable. What’s even more special is how God grows the relationship between you and the person you choose to dive into His Word with. Something supernatural happens when two or more are gathered in His Name (Matthew 18:20).
5. Give yourself grace
- You’re going to slip up. You’re going to forget. You’re going to oversleep. You’re going to have a bad day and purposefully choose to eat ice cream and binge watch Netflix instead of study the Word. You’re going to overbook yourself and realize that you actually just don’t have time in between the back to back meetings and the baby that decides to skip her nap. Two words: its okay. The foundation of Jesus’ love for us is grace. He gives us grace upon grace every day. Scripture tells us that we all fall short (Romans 3:23), so it will happen. Its Jesus’ grace that gets us up when we fall down, brushes off our shoulders, tells us its okay, and encourages us to try again. So, try again. Don’t allow the bad day that you had allow you to have another one tomorrow. I know that I have allowed my frustration with myself get in the way of pressing forward and going back to His arms. I allow my frustration to turn to shame, and the enemy uses that to take me further away from the Word. Before I know it, I have fallen out of habit and deeper into shame, and the cycle continues. This is where receiving God’s grace is so important. We need His grace to keep us in Him when we fall so that we don’t listen to the enemy when he tries to tell us that we messed up too much to be in The Word.
i know it can be intimidating to study the Word. And I know how it feels to wonder why it looks like it comes easy to everyone else but you. I also know how frustrating it is to feel like there’s just never any time to spend with Jesus.
Please know that studying the Word is not something to do to check off the “I was a good Christian today checklist.” Studying the Word is NOT a way to earn God’s love for you. That is something you cannot earn. His love and His grace is given to us freely and abundantly everyday just because that’s how much He loves us.
Studying the Word, along with prayer, worship, and just spending time with Him, is what we do as a response of freely receiving His love for us. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) When we fully receive His everlasting love and and His amazing grace, we fall passionately in love with Him and respond my running to His throne of grace any chance we get. We WANT to be in His presence. We DESIRE to get to know Him more. It’s just that sometimes life makes it hard to actually do that consistently. And then the guilt sets in and...you know the rest of the story.
So, give yourself some grace when things don’t go as planned, but develop a plan to schedule your time with Jesus so that it becomes easier to fill your spirit with His Word every day.
You’ve got this, friend. And little by little, you will begin to bear the fruit of spending time with Him consistently.
Caroline is the creator and founder of Designed Intentionally. She is a lover of Jesus, devoted wife, and loving mom of two. Caroline is also a lover of coffee, an aspiring minimalist, and loves watching re-runs of Gilmore Girls. In a nutshell, she is a pretty simple girl who just wants to follow Jesus in every possible way.