In Part 1 of this series we talked about two reasons it’s so difficult to maintain a consistent habit of spending time with God:
- The breakdown of systems, and
- The breakout of choices.
In Part 2 of this series we talked about two “time management” assumptions that are in direct conflict with what Christians believe. These two assumptions, reflected in almost every time management tool currently available, are:
- Time is mine to fill.
- It doesn’t matter what choices I make; what matters is how I manage my choices.
Often, Christians unknowingly carry these assumptions into their intentions to spend more time with God.
A “Christian” time management tool
But there is one time management tool I know of that is specifically designed to reflect a Christian understanding of time: the Connection Planner.
The Connection Planner was designed by Steve Elzinga to reflect the Christian belief that our times are in God’s hands. Rather than finding time for God, squeezing God into our busy day, this tool helps us squeeze our day into God’s plan.
I’m inserting a JPEG of a sample page here for reference purposes. Steve Elzinga’s church also has an online version of this concept at their church website.
Notice that every page, every day, has a Bible verse on it. That is the first visual clue that this planner is different.
Of course it’s not enough to simply slap a Bible verse onto your day, in an attempt to “add God” to an already busy schedule.
A conversation with God
Instead, we want to add “our” day to God’s plan. We want each day to reflect our relationship with Him. So in using this planner, you can make each day—the whole day—a conversation between you and God.
God talks to you. Through the daily verse, and through any of the Bible reading tracks you choose to read, God has something to tell you, something specifically for that day. Every day, on every page, God is waiting to say something to you.
And you talk to God: Every day has a prayer reminder, encouraging you to talk to God—about your family, your church, your world. In fact, your to-do list becomes a prayer list, reminding you to “commit to the Lord whatever you do” (Proverbs 16:3). Each meeting, each assignment, each phone call, each appointment is not just another item on your schedule. Instead, it’s another thing to talk to God about.
A relationship with God
So every day becomes a conversation between you and God. And your relationship with God develops just like any other relationship. Because all relationships are developed through talking and listening. Repeatedly. The more we talk and listen to each other, the more we learn about each other, and the better we understand each other.
Of course, talking and listening can take many forms. You can “talk” face-to-face, or through e-mail, phone calls, texting, Skype, writing on someone’s Facebook wall, cards and letters, video conferencing, Tweeting. And you can listen to people not just by hearing them, but by watching them, by reading what they write, by focusing your attention on them, by being with them.
However you choose to communicate, you have to do it repeatedly if you want your relationship to grow. Your closest friends are the ones you talk and listen to every day.
A relationship with God is no different.
When is the last time you had a real conversation with God? What did you like or not like about it? What kinds of things keep you from having those conversations more often? Do you think a tool like the Connection Planner—in print form or online—would help, or not really?