Focusing on my time with Jesus is really difficult sometimes.
Do you ever feel that way?
I get so easily distracted, and I also have an unhealthy addiction to my phone. To be completely honest, I have a bad habit of finishing a passage of Scripture and immediately picking up my phone to check Instagram. Then I get so distracted by social media that I run out of time and have to start getting ready for the day. Something needed to change!
So I started thinking of ways that help me actually focus on my time with Jesus and keep me disciplined. Maybe if I remind myself of those strategies and make a list of them, I will learn to stay more focused! These are my tried and true methods for spending time with Jesus, and I hope they can help you, too.
Side note: I have never felt the need to make my relationship with Jesus seem perfect, because just like any other relationship, it ebbs and flows and has many flaws. I truly believe everyone would say that outside of social media. For me, hearing people admit the places they fall short is so beneficial. Otherwise I assume everyone else is perfect, and I’m the only one with flaws! I have always been an open book, and I don’t want that to change just because I’m online. That being said, I can confidently admit that my time with Jesus is sometimes a struggle, and I believe he will honor that confession by using it to help other people dealing with the same issues!
Here we go. The five ways I stay focused on my time with Jesus:
Fix the phone problem.
Unless I missed something, Jesus does not have an Instagram account. Obviously, if I’m scrolling through social media, I am not actively spending time with him! If I want to devote part of my day to being with Jesus, I need to get rid of all distractions—the biggest being my phone. Here are some ways to do that:
- Keep your phone in another room. Bonus points if you have your time with Jesus first thing in the morning, and don’t even look at your phone beforehand!
- Wear a watch or keep a clock nearby. It’s okay to keep an eye on the time (don’t we do this in our meetings with friends?), but find an alternative way to check it than on your phone.
- Put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode and place it face-down on the coffee table. Put it out of sight so that you don’t see the screen light up if you get a notification. Who can focus on anything with their phone buzzing at them?
Whatever it takes for you phone addicts like me to get rid of distractions, Jesus is worth it! Find the method that works for you.
Give yourself a time limit.
Like I said, we usually put limits on our time spent with friends when we have somewhere to be afterward. I like to be with Jesus right after I eat breakfast, meaning I have to stop at some point to get ready for my day. Giving myself a clear time limit helps me stay focused, because I’m not worried the entire time about running late! If I can say, “I’m going to sit with Jesus until 7:45 and then start getting ready,” I can keep an eye on the clock (not my phone!) and know exactly how much time I have left.
This also keeps me accountable for spending enough time with Jesus. Some days are just crazy and 5 minutes is better than nothing, but most of the time I can give way more time than that. I prefer about 30-40 minutes, so carving out that space keeps me focused for that amount of time. Otherwise I can get distracted after 10 minutes and just move on with my day!
Setting a time frame is super helpful when it comes to giving all your attention to Jesus. Try it out!
Use a guided journal.
Saying that writing keeps me focused would be a huge understatement. It’s almost 100% necessary that I write something while I’m with Jesus or my mind will wander all over the place. My journaling Bible helps with that a little bit (more on that in the next one), but the big game changer is my guided journal.
I love the Give Me Jesus Journal by Well Watered Women. Not only is it beautiful and a great table decoration, but most importantly it helps my time with Jesus so much!
It has a section for gratitude, a special verse, study notes, application, and prayer. It’s really useful when you’re studying a book of the Bible and need to process. I have to write or speak things I learn to fully understand them, so having a space to do that is so important for me. In the “Drink Deep from the Well” section (the study notes), I journal as I read and basically summarize what the Scripture is saying. Then I usually still have some room to dig a little deeper into it. Then I have space to write what that passage taught me about God and how it changes the way I live. I can’t say enough good things about this journal. If you’re a writer like me, it will change the way you spend time with Jesus!
Even if it isn’t this journal, I believe that using a guided journal to process your Bible study will maintain your attention more than simply reading long passages.
Have the right resources.
You already know about my journal, but there are a few other resources I use in my time with Jesus that really help me stay focused.
This is the exact Bible I use, and it’s my all-time favorite. I love the wide margins because I have plenty of space to take notes or write my favorite words and verses. Call me crazy, but I just love the way the font looks, too! I also love knowing that one day I can pass this Bible on and leave behind all my study notes and thoughts.
This Bible is so useful in my time with Jesus, because like I said, writing helps me process and focus. I can easily write as I read with this Bible!
This is admittedly one of my most Type-A tendencies, but using the right pens is crucial for me. These pair perfectly with my journaling Bible, because they don’t bleed through the pages and they write so smoothly.
Although having the “right pens” is a total first world problem when it comes to spending time with Jesus, it’s the little things, you know? I literally get excited to study Scripture and journal because I know I get to use these pens. That’s embarrassing, but it works!
Having a good devotional is really important, because sometimes you just don’t know where to start. If you’re in the middle of a Bible study or simply reading through a book of the Bible, you may not need a devotional book. However, there may come a day when you want to switch it up!
A great routine for me is to read the daily devotional in this book, then read the Scripture listed at the bottom. To dig into that Scripture more, I study it with my Give Me Jesus Journal. I’ve already read some application in the devotional, so it all comes together in the end.
I have used so many devotionals, because I can never find one I really like. So far, this one has been my favorite. It’s a good length each day, it gives relatable and applicable truths, and it always lists one passage of Scripture at the end. I love it!
Being excited about the tools you use in your time with Jesus means your attention will more naturally stay focused. Find the ones that work for you and stick with them!
Develop a prayer strategy.
Prayer is the hardest part of my time with Jesus, which is ironic since prayer is literally talking to him! How can you spend time with someone without talking to them? That’s why I knew I needed to find a way to stay focused on prayer.
One way I have done this in the past is by timing myself. It almost sounds sacrilegious to say I set a timer for my prayer, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I would increase the time each day to practice stillness before God. Now that I mention it, I should really start doing this again!
Another way I self-disciplined my prayer life is by writing my prayers (big surprise, more writing!). This means keeping a running list of prayer points and writing out full prayers. Sometimes all I need is the list to keep me focused, but if I really need some help I’ll journal as though I’m writing to Jesus.
Praying out loud has also been really helpful for me! Sometimes this is better than journaling, because I can say more and it feels like a real conversation.
Prayer is a crucial part of our time with Jesus, so it’s important to find the strategies that help you stay focused. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed of whatever it takes to improve your prayer life (like timing yourself), because it’s your direct communication with Jesus!
I hope these strategies were helpful for you and can be implemented in your own time with Jesus! Finding your focus can be really difficult, but it’s so important to learn how to do it. Please contact me if you have other ideas or any questions about something I wrote!