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Fighting the Devotional Battle

Truth be told, I stuff my face far more often than my soul. There’s an urgency to mealtime, an ingrained habit of snacking that doesn’t easily translate to the spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible reading.

And I say that to my shame.

You know what? I’m taking a big risk by being honest about that, because it’s much cooler to post a Bible meme on social media or a picture of my coffee mug with my devotional journal or to use trendy translations in Facebook statuses than to admit the harsh, human truth: I didn’t have devotions today. Or worse, to honestly say, “I read through my daily Bible reading, but two hours later I had already forgotten every word of it. I raided the refrigerator twice in the same amount of time.”

The fact of the matter is that this is a struggle we don’t always win. It doesn’t matter if we schedule Quiet Time early in the morning or during baby’s naptime or late at night. It helps only moderately that we carry every translation known to mankind on our smart phones and purse-sized tablets and can listen to a devotional reading in the bathroom or in the car or in the kitchen. The gospel truth is we’re distracted. All the time. And we hunger after all the wrong things.

Two thousand years after Christ urged us to hunger and thirst after Him, we remain distracted from the most important thing, and it’s starving us spiritually — you and me, both.

I can recall times I was faithfully — almost monastically — devoted to Bible reading and prayer. Years when teenaged Lea Ann clung to the morning disciplines to obtain favor from a Heavenly God who seemed the most demanding, impossible-to-please parent of all; early adulthood’s dark months of desperate clinging to the Psalms and pleading cries to a ceiling of brass for mercy, grace, and forgiveness from a depressing shame; the frantic Bible readings, Scripture memory, and repeated prayers through months of loneliness, pain, and loss. The lean years of trials and palpable soul-hunger that literally drove me to my arthritic knees in an attempt to win grace from the Almighty Deliverer.

When you’re starving, you can think of nothing but food.

But just like our physical bodies can’t live constantly in a crisis state, neither can our souls. That’s why God brings relief from trials, provision for each day, and rest every night. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5; NJKV). When our cravings are satisfied, we are free to relax and notice our other blessings, other opportunities, other activities.

And then . . . we get distracted.

I don’t know why my stomach clock is more consistent than my soul clock. I can’t go but a few hours before my body reminds me that the refrigerator is full. But I could remain busy for days before realizing I’m behind on my Bible reading plan. There just isn’t the same urgency.


That’s my fault for allowing myself to be distracted. I spend more time scrolling social media than searching the Scriptures. I complain about the weather more than I pray for souls. I “like” funny memes more than I praise the Creator. The disgusting truth is that I’m so full of the world’s junk food that I’ve lost my appetite for healthy soul food.

Because I know in my brain and in my heart that nothing else will satisfy. I know that social media and TV and new clothes and better decorating and a heaping plate of beefy goodness will not satiate my seething desires. I know that no matter how large I grow on the scale, food and drink will not complete me — only God Himself can fill me up.

Only Scripture contains God’s breathing, His very life force. Only God’s Word gives me lasting value, knowledge, truth, protection, instructions, and purity. Only God’s Word will fill me up and complete me so that I can boldly face everything God wants me to do and to become (to paraphrase 2 Timothy 3:16–17). God intends my devotions to be just that — my heart turned devotedly back to my Creator.

Those words from Rocking Ordinary still come back to me each morning when the alarm clock rings a little too early and the battle over devotions begins. I’m too tired, my schedule too packed, my mind too distracted to give this most important relationship the attention and discipline it deserves.

My friend Angela knows the struggle, too.

As women, we wear a dozen hats, while we juggle an armload of balls. It’s easy to let the noise and mess around us become our focus until we are completely distracted and exhausted. How can we keep from running aground on all of the mess and demand of our busy, daily lives? How can we rise up and face each day with the fresh strength and joy of the Lord? How can we see ourselves as the warriors God says we are? For some of us, it’s easier to give grace than to receive it, and as a result, we find ourselves dryer than a desert in the middle of a drought. Let’s not wait until our sanity is rolling away with the tumbleweeds! Instead, let’s meet at the well of His Word. He has given us everything we need to not just survive another day, but to live victoriously as warriors in His strength. This Bible Study Journal for Busy Women will help guide you through a daily time of plugging into our true power source, suiting up for the battle, filling our canteen with living water, and rising up in the power of our Mighty God. We can live stronger and braver lives.

What Bible study journal? This one, The Warrior in the Mirror.  Each page is full of prompts to jog your memory, encourage your heart, and propel you forward in your relationship with God:

  • record the song you are meditating on
  • write out your prayer, including praises, requests, and worship
  • affirm your beliefs through “I trust you with . . .” prompts
  • copy Scripture
  • even doodle while you meditate

51hnw2oo3hl-_sx398_bo1204203200_This full-sized journal includes several different page designs. Angela’s thoughtful and creative designs compel users to slow down and think about what these fleeting moments with God mean.

Does it work? Can a Bible study journal make a difference in our devotional life? I handed the book to my teen daughter to try, asking her for an unbiased opinion a few weeks in. And guess what? She said the journal encouraged her to have a private devotional time more frequently. One afternoon, she texted me from work:

I really love how it gives room for everything and reminds me to be thankful, not just to ask. I love how it’s beautiful, and it makes me want to use it.

A peek into my daughter's Warrior in the Mirror Journal

A peek into my daughter’s Warrior in the Mirror Journal

The Warrior in the Mirror

You can buy your own paperback copy of The Warrior in the Mirror from Amazon here (what a great gift for a friend or family member!). And you can download the printable version directly from the author here.

What do you use for your devotions?

This article contains affiliate links to help support this site, but all recommendations are products I actually use and love.

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