5 Ways to Rekindle Joy in Our Time with God
When we reduce time with God to a checklist or never vary how we spend time with Him, it can become monotonous. Like a mouse on a wheel, we can go through the motions of Bible reading and prayer and forget why we’re doing these in the first place.
Spending time with God isn’t just limited to Bible reading and times of focused prayer. There’s a saying that goes, “We are spiritual beings having a physical experience, not physical beings having a spiritual experience”. This means, the main reason we’re on earth is not to work, study, raise a family, and then carve out some “God-time” in our schedules; instead, we are to commune with God in all that we do (Colossians 3:17, 1 Corinthians 10:31).
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 encourages us to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances . . .” (emphasis added). This reminds us that we can relate to God by rejoicing and giving thanks for how He is always with us, watching over us in all circumstances.
If you find yourself needing to break out of boredom and rekindle the joy of spending time with God, here are some ideas to try or revisit:
1. Get out in nature and have fun
Unlike how we assign boxes for our lives and separate the “spiritual” stuff from the “natural” stuff, in the Bible, God’s people made no such distinction; God was in everything they did!
When we invite God into all that we see and do, we realise just how wonderful He is and how much He wants to relate to us in the different spaces of our lives.
The Bible says that through everything God made, we can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature (Romans 1:20). Everything God created speaks of His glory (Psalm 19:1) and worships Him (Psalm 66:4).
This means we can see His might and strength in the crashing ocean waves, His provision and care as we watch a bird build its nest, and His new mercies and faithfulness at each sunrise and sunset.
When we are aware of this, we start expecting to encounter Him as we’re surrounded by what He has made.
Every morning, I wake up early to go to the gym and as I turn the corner to drive along the waterfront, I am greeted by a sunrise. It is as if God has painted it just for me, just at the right time as I turn that corner. When I see it, I can hear Him saying, “Welcome to this beautiful day I made you. I love you.” I could easily think of it as just another sunrise, but I have learned to become aware that not only does creation speak of God’s goodness—He also speaks through it.
Ecclesiastes 3:12 tells us to enjoy whatever we have as a gift from God. This means the “natural” things we do for fun can turn into places of communing with Him.
I was horse-crazy from a young age and eventually got my own horse as an adult. When I came to know the Lord as my Father, I was aware that like my earthly dad, He is proud of me, cheering me on, and wanting to spend weekends watching me do my favourite sport. As I rode my horse, I would find myself saying things like “Wow God, did you see how fast we went?” And I would feel a sense of His pleasure seeing me enjoy His creation and the life He has given me.
What do you enjoy doing? Which parts of God’s creation do you relish seeing the most? Have more of these moments and invite God to join you and speak to you!
2. Get a study buddy
God also speaks to us through people. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon people like judges and prophets to deliver God’s messages to His people but today, we all have the Holy Spirit living inside of us to prophesy, encourage, exhort, and build each other up (Ephesians 4:4-13).
I belong to a Bible study group that meets once a week, and I always leave these evenings buzzing. I share my own thoughts around a certain Bible passage, but when I listen to others, I gain new insights and perspectives that I would not have had on my own. For me, my Bible study class is a wonderful place where questions are asked, and new discoveries are made of the treasures in His Word (Proverbs 2:1-6).
So, get involved in a Bible study group at your church, or get some friends together to chat about the last sermon you heard or the Bible passage you read.
Journalling is another great way for me to experience His voice. Getting out my journal and pen is a faith decision for me because I am saying “God, I am ready to record what You say to me; I expect to hear You!” And even when I don’t think I hear God, I choose to just write about a verse I read or whatever I am feeling or thinking–my doubts, questions, thoughts, and worries.
It’s like what David said, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3). In the same way, I journal to express my confidence that God hears my prayer, as well as my expectation to hear from Him.
Going through my journal last year, I saw that on 8 February, I wrote to God about my back pain: “I do not understand why You cannot just heal me here, right now. You called me to Tonga so why don’t You just heal me here?” I was scared to go back to New Zealand to get proper treatment because I was unsure if I could return to Tonga, with the borders still closed due to Covid-19.
Then exactly two weeks later, I wrote: “I just read about Namaan in the Bible, who bathed seven times in the Jordan River to be healed. He had refused to obey God’s word from the prophet Elisha the first time and had to be persuaded to go through these steps to receive healing. Thank you, God, for showing me that going to New Zealand is the step you have ordered for my healing.” God answered my question and showed me that I had to humble myself and trust Him with His way of healing me.
Journalling reminds us that we have a God who hears and answers our prayers (Psalm 145:18, 1 John 5:14-15) and that we can hear His voice (John 10:27). Reading past entries can help us see how God has come through for us, whether through His Word, the circumstances we have, or a miracle in our lives.
Practising God’s Word allows us to see Him in action, which helps us get out of our spiritual rut.
James 1:22-27 reminds us that we are to be doers and not merely hearers of the Word. If we remember and obey God’s laws, we will be favoured and blessed because we learn to shift our focus away from ourselves, and onto Christ and how He wants to reach the world through us (vv. 25-27).
Living out the Word of God makes for a challenging yet adventurous and fulfilling life. I have many stories of how God has moved when I have stepped out in response to His Word. Here is just one:
I used to drive past the same bus stop on my way to school and I would always see the same girl sitting there. For some time, I kept feeling the need to go and talk with her about Jesus, so one day I finally did. Despite feeling nervous, I stopped the car and simply told her that God loved her. She responded with such gratitude and asked me why I had stopped. I explained that I felt God wanted her to know she was seen and known by Him.
We exchanged numbers and one day, she came to church with me and gave her life to Christ. It turns out her mum had been praying for her to find the Lord for years!
Seeing how God moved so miraculously just from one simple act reignited my faith in Him. I began to see how spending time with God translates to obeying Him, and how that can transform the lives around me.
5. Just be
Let’s face it, we are not going to be able to study with someone or even get outside for a walk every day. Sometimes, we are just too tied up at work, or we’re at home, too tired to do anything else.
When times seem boring or just plain challenging, let God know how you are feeling and then just be!
You may have noticed this beautiful word in the Psalms—selah. “Selah” means a break, silence, or pause to reflect. Many psalms were written as songs, and “selah” was intentionally inserted so there was time to reflect on the lyrics just sung.
We all need times of “selah” in our lives. Time to pause, to be silent and still before God (Psalm 46:10).
Often, I lie on the floor with instrumental worship music playing so that I don’t get distracted by words. I take some deep breaths and focus on God’s presence. With each exhale, I imagine that I am breathing out any worries, cares or burdens I have, and with each inhale, I imagine breathing in God’s peace and joy.
In these moments, when I let my heart quiet down before God, I begin to feel lighter. Then when I can muster picking up my Bible or prayer, I find that I am doing so with God, instead of just for Him. This makes my quiet times more meaningful.
God longs to be with us and has so much to show us—aspects of who He is and who we are, His plans for us, and all the hidden treasures of wisdom in His Word—all we have to do is take time to hang out with Him.
Wow thanks for that Kelly.
Had a challenging day yesterday. Lost my wallet with all my cards and important ID’s.
I woke this morning thanking God for a new day and that I was alive knowing my God is always with me.
Your words were refreshing and so encouraging.
I’m just having time out after sharing in our church coffee morning.
And thenl reading this.
Was meant to be. I see you have written other things and will read those as well.
Be blessed today and everday.
Aw thanks Veronica for taking the time to share this encouragment ❤️ wow definitely a trying day you had! Isn’t God so good, knowing what we need when we need it! Thanks again and may the rest of your week of more smoothly!