Emilie is challenged to spend daily time with God during her summer mission internship.
I crouch down to lace up my white tennis shoes, feeling a combination of nervousness and excitement for what is about to happen.
I have just agreed to go with my housemate, Tonya Myers, for my first run in 2 years.
Together, we work through a few stretches and then head out toward the bike path near our condo.
Our goal is to run about 2 miles.
We begin. I try to focus on reaching landmarks further down the path, rather than on the rhythmic pounding of our feet on the pavement and the fact that my legs are starting to feel like lead. After running about a quarter of our total distance, I have to stop and walk.
I’ve always wanted to be a runner, but I’ve never put in the time and effort it takes to build up enough endurance to run consistently. Though there have been times where I tried to start, the effort always ended before it became a habit.
The time I spend with God on a daily basis is like this.
Like running, sometimes regularly carving out that time can be a difficult habit to create.
One of the goals of summer project is to help students create the habit of consistently spending time with God.
Admittedly, we are kept very busy with a combination of work, play, personal development, and outreach. But we are also constantly reminded how important it is for us to spend daily time with God.
Our staff reminds us. Almost as soon as we arrived, they were encouraging us to set aside time each day to spend time in prayer and reading God’s Word. They prompted us to figure out what part of the day we were at our best and do our daily devotions during that time.
Our speakers remind us. Just this past week, another one of our many speakers reminded us of the importance of consistently spending time in God’s Word, especially when we are trying to discern God’s will. Only when we are familiar with God’s Word will we begin to understand God’s voice in our lives.
Once a week, time is scheduled specifically for us to read Scripture and consider what God has been teaching us. This reflection time often helps solidify what we’ve been learning, and it gives space to refocus on a huge reason we’re here: to grow closer to God.
When you put these several areas together, they can go a long way in helping us create a lifelong habit of spending consistent time with God.
Just like the exercise of running becomes easier after endurance is built up, the exercise of daily devotions can become easier with consistency as well.
Tonya and I walk for a bit so I can catch my breath. Hearing me attempt to gulp in bigger breaths of air, Tonya instructs, “Put your hands on your head. It will help restore oxygen.”
After I can breathe again, we continue on. Tonya keeps encouraging me, breaking down the distance with landmarks I can focus on, such as palm trees and road signs.
She assures me if I keep it up, running will become easier, and together, we press on.