Yesterday I wrote a message about using our time and how too often God gets squeezed out of our schedules because of all the things we are doing. I’m not talking about frivolous activities, but instead the many items on our to-do lists that need to be accomplished. If you want to read the article, click HERE.
An issue in the responses from readers was having problems with following through on good practices and being consistent. I found myself nodding myself in agreement. Consistency is a big issue. And when we’re not consistent in the activities and habits that really matter, then we’re actually inviting chaos, mediocrity, or lack of achievement into our lives.
I thought this would be a good topic to tackle: Consistency. Because it really is essential for so much in what we do and how we live. Webster defines “consistent” as: always acting or behaving in the same way; of the same quality; especially good each time; continuing to happen or develop in the same way.
Our desire is to be consistent in those areas of our lives that we want to be good and strong, including our faith, our relationships, our financial matters, our households. For now, let’s focus on our faith and our time with the Lord. We want to be consistent with our time with Him, studying His ways, learning His Word, and being transformed as we grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus.
God is consistent – the same always. And not only in His character, but also in His creation. Can you imagine if gravity wasn’t consistent? Or if the planets, the sun, and the moon weren’t consistent? The results would be total chaos and ruin. Consistency is a good quality when paired with good and what is right.
To make consistency one of our character traits requires us to recognize that it’s currently an area of weakness then decide to tackle it so we can change. The next step is to find a plan or a path to follow that will lead us to the desired goal. Then step onto the path and begin our journey.
Perhaps the most important element of this process is making the decision to to tackle the problem and to go after the change. Are we really deciding . . . or is it something we will merely try (and then usually give up when it gets uncomfortable). A decision means doing “whatever it takes” to realize the goal we have set.
Here are a few things that can help on the journey to becoming consistent in the good areas of our life:
One: Choose one or two activities that you want to become consistent in fulfilling. Do you want to consistently meet with the Lord each day for quality time of prayer and study? Do you want to be consistent about getting enough sleep or eating a health breakfast? To start, choose just one or two activities to address. Set yourself up for success!
Two: Review how you’re using your time now and the possible stumbling blocks that might challenge your quest. It’s very possible that you’re trying to accomplish too much. Or that you are way too stretched with obligations and tasks. Are there some things you can do to lighten your load or get some help? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and show you ways you can manage your responsibilities so they don’t overtake or overwhelm you. You may need to stop some activities. For example, a few years ago I found myself so busy with volunteer projects that I was way too pressed. So I chose those projects where I could be most useful and stopped working on the others.
Do you have family members who can help with meals one or two days a week?Or with laundry? Or with yard work? Come up with a plan and then recruit some help. l
Three: Schedule your time and make appointments with yourself that are as “sacred” as an appointment with your pastor or your doctor or your attorney. Value your appointment. Hold true to it. And fulfill it consistently.
Four: Plan a routine within your routine. For example, if you have set a daily appointment with the Lord, develop how you will use the time (being sensitive to His leading). Will you pray, then read a chapter in your Bible, followed with some journaling? Is there a book you will read from to help you in an area of your Christian life? Is there a special “place” where you will have your time?
For me, my best time is to have my quiet time with the Lord first thing in the morning. When I’m not fasting, I make a cup of coffee then climb back into bed surrounded by all my “stuff.” I have my Bible, my journal, pens, my Kindle, and my study books. I most often start the time by reading from the New Testament and then praying. Then I have a daily devotional on my Kindle that I read, plus a book I’m using right now for study. Throughout the time I talk Jesus during little pauses. And then I complete the quiet time with prayer, thanksgiving and worship. I may change the order, but these are the components of my morning time with the Lord. The key is being consistent to have the time! To get that cup of coffee and get into my quiet time before I allow other things to interrupt me.
Occasionally, something will interrupt my time. For example, I had a radio interview last week that took place at 5:30 a.m. (I’m Pacific time and the live radio broadcast was Eastern time). So I had my quiet time immediately following the interview.
Four: After a week of being consistent in your chosen activity, assess the positive growth or benefits you are experiencing. Give thanks and acknowledge the good happening in your life. Celebrate your growth. Give yourself a pat on the back and feel good about the change that is going on inside of you!
Keep On Keeping On
I don’t want you to think that I have the “consistent” thing down. I do in some areas, but in others I’m still working on myself, my time management, and my growth. That’s part of the transformation that we experience as disciples and followers of Jesus. We learn and grow. We get mature. We get better. And all that is good.
My hope for you is that you will choose one or two areas of your life in which you want to be consistent. Then make that decision and go for it! You will be so pleased once you’ve stepped on to the path and then when you’ve completed the journey so that what was once a goal is now a consistent part of your lifestyle.
Please, share your thoughts below! I so appreciate your responses as do others who are working on their own lives to become better, stronger, and more effective for our Lord.