12 Ways to Connect with God When Your Schedule Changes

by Corella Roberts

If you’re anything like me, keeping a consistent quiet time during a transition (like the non-schedule of summer with kids at home or, worse, home assignment travels!) is incredibly hard. I struggle with this every time, but I have wrestled with it enough to discover ways to maintain God-time no matter what’s going sideways in the world around me. Here are a few suggestions that I hope both give you encouragement and freedom in how you can meet with Jesus this summer.

1. Enjoy God in nature.
In times of transition and changing seasons, nothing helps reorient our perspective quite like a walk. Leave your phone behind, head to a park or mountain trail, and let every scene of beauty turn your heart toward your Creator. 

2. Try a devotional app and rearrange your phone screen.
Your phone will likely be with you or near you most of the time, so how can you turn it into a tool that helps you draw closer to God rather than be distracted from Him? One way is to try an app designed to do just that, then rearrange your home screen so that the most distracting apps are a swipe or two away and the most encouraging ones are what you’ll see first. The next time you’re waiting somewhere with a few minutes to spare, instead of opening a game or social media, try one of these:

3. Establish a Bible reading plan before the change of schedule.
If you know a schedule change is coming, make a goal and start a sustainable Bible reading plan before it hits. For example, you might want to hunker down in the book of Philippians for a month. Plan to read it in its entirety every week, or pick a slow reading schedule, chewing on just a few verses each day. Whatever you choose, start it well ahead of the transition so you will have a clear goal and be in an established habit when change comes.

4. Involve the kids.
Kids might feel like the great enemy of a good quiet time, but finding ways to involve them can be enriching for both of you. Obviously, you can do structured family devotions, but we’ve found that spontaneous times of worship and prayer tend to be more enjoyable for all. Put some worship music with lyrics on the TV and initiate popcorn prayers in the car. Choose a family memory verse and have the kids help create hand motions to go with it. Read inspirational stories together and have heartfelt conversations about the struggles and joys of following Jesus. It might not be “quiet,” but it can still connect you (and them!) with God.

5. Go on coffee dates with Jesus.
And then there are those times when you just really need some quiet space out of the house, away from family. That’s real! So, find a library or coffee shop, bring your Bible and journal, and just have a good chat with your friend, Jesus, away from all the distractions of home.

6. Read a book with a friend.
Sometimes a little accountability can go a long way. If your Bible study or prayer group stops for a season or your new work schedule won’t allow you to attend, find a friend who will read through a book with you. I’d suggest setting regular meeting times for discussion and making a reading plan that you can both stick to. This can foster both your relationship with God (if it’s a book with solid spiritual content) and your relationship with a friend.

A few I’d recommend are The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer, Placemaker by Christina Purifoy, Soul Keeping by John Ortberg, the Sensible Shoes series by Sharon Brown, Journey of the Soul by Bill and Kristi Gaultier, The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning, Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn, Relentless by Michele Cushatt, and Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan (or anything else by him). You could also check out Catch the Rain or Colliding with the Call by yours truly.

7. Set aside one morning a month for reflection.
Reflection is critical to growth. Take the time to answer a few key questions as you close out one month and start another, and you’ll be far more able to identify what is helping you grow the most spiritually. A few of my monthly questions are: What expectations were met/not met last month? What spiritual practices did I do the most? Is there anything I need to repent of? What is God inviting me into next? What am I most thankful for?

8. Join a service project or summer church program.
Sometimes we need to simply get our hands dirty or be stretched out of our comfort zone to find a fresh connection with God. It’s also one of the best ways to deepen relationships with others. What can you physically do to be part of serving even in the midst of a new season?

9. Write out a morning and evening prayer.
These can be as simple as short breath prayers (here’s a printable guide) or as long as you want. If you long to anchor your heart in a scriptural truth during this season, pick a verse and personalize it into a prayer. Lately, I’ve been taking the concept of abiding from John 15 and simply praying, “Make your home in me as I make my home in you.” Opening and closing your day with a rote prayer can be like having two solid bookends to keep you from toppling over.

10. Make use of travel time.
Plan for soul-enriching activities during travel, like encouraging audiobooks, podcasts, and music. Let the content that fills your mind be “true, noble, right, pure, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy” (see Phil. 4:8). 

11. Set up a new quiet-time space.
Do you gravitate toward the back porch in the summer? Set your Bible by the door. Is your house noisy with kids and company? Create a quiet nook in your bedroom. If having a consistent physical space is important for you as you meet with God, do whatever you need to do to set that up for this season.

12. Embrace the change and prepare for the reset.
When life gets stirred and tilted, we tend to more readily recognize what really matters. Use this season of change to help you sift out the old routines that have become lifeless and bravely try some new methods of connecting with God. If you can look ahead, like to the end of summer break, and see your schedule return to normal, start to anticipate now what you want your time with God to look like then. It might be different from what it was, and that’s okay. Often a reset can do us good.

I think we put the idea of an hour-long, morning quiet time on a pedestal. Sure, it can be helpful to carve out an extended time to read the Bible, pray, and journal, but checking “quiet time” off your daily to-do list (even mentally) isn’t the goal. Abiding with Jesus is. In every moment, every breath, tethering your heart to His, turning your ear toward Him, resting on His strength – this is the goal. And there is certainly more than one way to get there. Maybe this shaking up of your devotional routine is just the beginning.

Article originally published at corellaroberts.com and reprinted with permission.

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Corella Roberts is the author of Colliding with the Call: When Following God Takes You to the Wilderness. She serves at an international school in Thailand with her husband and three kids—two biological, one adopted. She loves music, mountains, and walking with people toward soul restoration. Find out more at corellaroberts.com.

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A Life Overseas is a collective blog centered around the realities, ethics, spiritual struggles, and strategies of living overseas. Elizabeth Trotter is the editor-in-chief.

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