Tori Cole, columnist

“I’ll just pray in bed before I go to sleep.” I had kidded myself with this more times that I can count. Good intentions combined with extraordinarily poor time management. One thirty in the morning rolls around and I feel the guilt of not having spent any time in God’s word. So I ease this guilt with five minutes of Bible reading and three minutes of journaling. There you go, God. Check that off my list, feel good about myself, and finally go to sleep. This is not what God calls us to. Even in our more sincere and less caricatured expressions of obedience, it can be challenging to submit completely. It is all too easy to become busy and forget to set aside time. It is too easy to set that time aside but remain preoccupied in our thoughts as we go through the motions. I maintained the excuse for years that I “Just wasn't a morning person,” and that I simply wouldn't be able to focus if I got up earlier to read my Bible. Finally, I had to accept that mornings were the only consistent time in my day, and I knew consistency was crucial. It didn’t take long to realize that I was in fact far more awake at 7:00 a.m. than I was after midnight. This isn’t to say mornings are the solution for everyone. I simply encourage people to not be satisfied with telling themselves “I’ll find some time today." It will take some trying, but finding a portion of time and dedicating it to studying the Bible is one of the most beneficial decisions you can make. There is no easy solution I can give. No magical formula for finding time when things are crazy. All I can say is it must be an incredibly deliberate action. I firmly believe that if we make time for nothing else, if we only plan and schedule only one thing during our day, it must be time set aside to grow in our relationship with God - in whatever way works best. While I’m certain few would argue this, it is much less often put into practice. That is my challenge. I still struggle; it’s a fact of life. All we can do is seek to improve. The more we abide in God's word and listen for His voice through prayer, the easier and more natural it will become to seek His will at all times throughout the day.