Are You Making Enough Time for Jesus in Your Busy Life?
I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not. Quite frankly, making time for the Lord has taken a backseat to my schoolwork, school responsibilities, and all of my extra-curricular obligations. I've been noticing that I have felt off, not quite myself, and I finally came to the realization one day that since my schedule has become more taxing, I haven't entirely made time for Jesus. This was oddly troubling to me. I don't think that it should be hard to make time for Jesus in our lives. There really is no cookie-cutter way to spend time with Jesus or to pray, and so this really got me thinking about how I could begin to make more time for that in my life.
I will give you a little background on who I am and what my life looks like, my name is Mikayla Hudgens, and I am a junior nursing major at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. I am a representative of the Student Senate, Director of Marketing in a club called the Student Activities Committee, and the Student Nurse Association president on my campus. Honestly, I'm involved in everything, and you can usually find me at all of the events on our campus. I'm sure that you can imagine that just with all of the things that I'm involved with on-campus, my schedule is pretty tight. The nursing major is pretty taxing with all of its demands just to be successful in it. I simply find that there are not enough hours in the day for all the things I would like to accomplish. It is difficult for me to say no to adding new tasks onto my plate because I want to be involved as much as possible. But at some point, no matter how involved I get, how much time I spend trying to be successful in my major, or how much time I spend with the people I love, I always feel like something is missing. For me, that missing piece of the puzzle is spiritual fulfillment that I get through my relationship with Christ.
I simply need to take time for my spiritual needs in order to feel well balanced and like I'm taking care of myself, and in order to do so, I needed to reframe my hierarchy of priorities in my life. At position number one, there should be Jesus, at number two is school, then probably my romantic relationship, then family, and finally friends. The next decisive action that I decided to do was take more time to invite the Lord into my life. Something as simple as this can increase your quality time spent with Jesus, and you are more likely to begin listening to God.
We all know that little voice in our head that puts ideas in there randomly. These are the thoughts that keep resonating in our lives, or that push us to pursue something. Yep, that's God if you haven't quite come to that realization yet. Because our conscience is that inner sanctuary in which we listen to the voice of God, we must remember to distinguish between our voice and the voice of God. A good conscience requires lifelong practice and dedication. Each baptized follower of Christ must form his or her conscience according to objective moral standards. That includes maintaining healthy relationships and acting justly as the Lord would have us act. Scripture is a fantastic tool for this process of forming our conscience by study, prayer, and practice.
And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and [toward] men.
I didn't realize how important this connection to God was until Jared began working at our college and made a point about it, and that's when I noticed that God is in my head all the time. Since then, I have been trying to look out for what He's saying to me.
Another way that I'm beginning to incorporate more time for the Lord in my life is simply by sitting down with someone to have a conversation about Jesus and how he is working in our lives. That being with a spiritual director or even just a friend. Something as simple as that is a form of prayer because you are reflecting on all the blessings that have been bestowed on you in your last week or however long it's been since you and that person last talked. Another tip that I have found helpful and easy to integrate into your routine no matter how busy you are is to say a prayer before you go to sleep or whenever you first wake up. Just reflect on some hopes you have for the day, some things you are thankful for, and some things you need some help with. We can't do or handle everything in our lives all the time. We simply aren't made like that. We are created to need God's help and the help of each other. The last thing that I decided to do to encourage me to have more time for Jesus is that I decided I would lead a small group. Jared approached me, asking if I would be willing, and there was really no hesitation in my response as to me wanting to do it. I was in a small group with my friends when we first went online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and into the beginning of summer, but then when that ended, I realized that I have been missing connecting with others and growing closer to others through Jesus. Sometimes, I believe that is the best way to understand myself, serve others, and connect with God. These three things are best done when we gather communally in prayer; the Holy Spirit is right in the midst of all of your interactions with those people.
"For true hearts, there is no separating ocean; or, rather, God is their ocean, in whom they meet and are united."
No matter if you are in college, some form of graduate school, or an adult with other obligations, you are undoubtedly incredibly busy with a laundry list of things. Here are some parting thoughts and reflection questions that I have for you from this reflection.
What is the hierarchy of the priorities in your life, and is Jesus number one?
What are some of the ways that you make time for Jesus in your life? Obviously, I'm not asking you to lead a small group (at this moment), but just something as simple as reflecting on your thoughts, praying in some fashion, or even grabbing coffee with someone sharing your burdens with others.
And lastly, are you making enough time for Jesus in your busy life to fill the Jesus shaped hole in your heart?