Making Faith a Priority in a Busy Season of Life

 

By Anne Metz

For many parents fall is the beginning of a hectic season that lasts the whole school year long. The more full the calendar gets, the harder it seems to make time for God. Ideally, we know that faith life is important and should be a priority, but how can we accomplish that when the demands of life seem to take over?

Sure, we can add prayer time to our ever-growing daily to-do list, but then, might it turn into a mindless thing we need to do, another task to cross off the list, or worse, something that can be put off as more immediate demands compete for our limited time?

Instead of just encouraging you to make time for your faith life, I’d like to delve into the why. Why should we make time to nurture our faith and relationship with God?

“Every one of us needs half an hour of prayer a day, except when we are busy – then we need an hour.”

This famous quote is attributed to St. Francis de Sales. It seems counterintuitive. Why the extra time for prayer when we are busy? I wish I could explain it but it perplexed me, so I went straight to the man himself and found this beautiful explanation of the importance of prayer in his Introduction to the Devout Life: "If you contemplate Him frequently in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with Him, you will grow in His Likeness, and your actions will be molded on His."

In busy seasons of life, the pace can push us to our limits and we can become short-tempered and not the best versions of ourselves. At least, that is the case for me. But de Sales explains that taking the time to be with God will fill our souls with Him and we will become like Him in our actions. What a wonderful promise!

I am more willing to spend time with God in the morning so He can fill me up. Then I have the grace to treat everyone I encounter in my day the way He would. Since my children, unfortunately, take the brunt of my short temper in busy seasons, time spent with God each morning leads to a better relationship with them and more joy in my motherhood.

St. Paul also gives a compelling reason to make our faith life and relationship with God a priority when he writes, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

This is a great verse to keep in mind for those days you look at your schedule and feel completely overwhelmed. The stress of striving to be the best parent you can be and a good partner to your spouse, all while refereeing sibling wars, working, scheduling appointments, and taking care of household tasks can feel like a literal mountain of burdens. St. Paul encourages us to allow Christ to lighten the load for us.

Christ knows our burdens and our struggles intimately and is deeply concerned for us. Lean on Him in prayer and receive His strengthening grace. Allow Him to fortify you and rest in the knowledge that He will be with you during each day of this busy season.

So there’s the why. In short, God makes long, hard seasons easier and lighter. He refills your tank when the busyness takes its toll.

Now that you have the why, it’s time for the how. How can you make your faith life a priority?

Putting God first means getting Him on the calendar first. Keep that in mind when putting together your schedule and be sure to block out some time for Him. Be sure to focus on the why, so that prayer doesn’t turn into a mindless task to cross off. Maybe even post St. Paul’s quote on your calendar so when you see it each morning you remember the “why.”

Here are a few concrete things you can do to help you get started.

  • Schedule a prayer time just for you, first thing in the morning if you can.
  • Schedule a prayer time as a family; maybe include it as a part of your bedtime routine.
  • Find a weekly Bible Study or faith-sharing group.
  • Read to your kids from a children’s Bible or book about saints each day. Listen to worship music during lunch.
  • Commit to attending a retreat at least once a year.

Grab your calendar or planner and make it official. Schedule time for God - a half an hour each day, or an hour if you’re really busy.

When she’s not writing about faith, Anne Metz works for Growing Catholics, whose mission is to bring Scripture to all, especially tweens and teens.


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