The Bell Family

Random ponderings on God, life, and the humor all around us

Schedules–Part 4


I said earlier that I would take some time to explain parts of my schedule, so I’ll begin with the top.  Most of you were probably thinking, “4:00 in the morning?!”  Let me explain.  First, I am the most productive and joyful toward my family when I rise early.  It gives me plenty of time to spend with the Lord and get some energy before the kiddos wake up.  Second, Bill goes to work at 6, so in order to serve him by spending some time with him and helping him get out the door smoothly, I make sure I wake when he wakes.  For him, that’s 4:00 each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  The other days we don’t wake until 4:30, and sometimes if we feel we need the rest we sleep in on Saturdays; however, I will say that those sleep-in days usually feel a little yuckier because the day starts with a bang and seems more rushed and stressful. 

At 4:00, Bill runs and I prepare coffee, make his lunch, stretch to prepare for running, and read from the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan.  We are reading through For the Love of God by D.A. Carson as a family, and it uses the M’Cheyne plan which means 2-3 chapters of private reading daily.  Then it’s off to the track for me (or rather parking lot).  I just began running a couple of weeks ago using the Cool Running plan one of my friends recommended to me.  Until I began this, I had never been able to run very long without wanting to quit.  I h-a-t-e-d it.  I have loved using this interval training plan, though, and actually look forward to running each morning.  I’m up to running 9 minutes each day and have already lost weight.  Yeah! 

Then I come in for Bible study and prayer.  It may seem a little strange that I have my quiet time so broken down, but I love to study too much and tend to leave out other important aspects that strengthen my spiritual life if I don’t limit some things.  I begin with an Inductive Bible Study (I’m currently working through Matthew), then I read a devotional (right now that’s Life As a Vapor by John Piper), and then I read a commentary (Genesis by Bruce K. Waltke).  I find it helpful to do my own study (the Inductive Study) and then learn from others (the commentaries and devotions or something like that). 

Next, and this is the most important, is prayer time.  This is the part I will skip for the sake of study if I’m not careful, but this is the part that most reminds me I can do nothing apart from God’s grace.  I like to use The Valley of Vision (a cross-centered book of Puritan prayers) as a guide , not a substitute, for prayer time.  I journal after that which usually is just a couple of lines about what impacted me that morning and what I most want to meditate on that day.  I then write that meditation at the top of my planner page and take a couple of minutes to plan for the day and prioritize what needs to be done.  Most of this has already been done because Bill and I put our calendars together each Sunday and plug in activities and to-do’s for each day that week.

Finally, it’s shower time, and I’m ready to see my babies.  

6 thoughts on “Schedules–Part 4

  1. How much time do you actually spend on Bible study & prayer? Do you limit yourself? Should you limit yourself?

  2. Hey, Laura,
    I kind of have it mapped out how long I spend on everything in my schedule. It’s basically about an hour on Bible study and just a few minutes for prayer. I don’t think long prayers are required. In fact you can see Bill’s prayer study on this blog for more info about that. You definitely don’t have to limit your time. I only do because of my season in life (2 small children). I can neglect my children for the sake of Bible study, and since they are my greatest ministry, I would be neglecting God and the responsibility He has given me by neglecting them. If you have 2 teenagers and have to be at work at 6 in the morning with a 30 minute commute 😉 , you obviously are not going to be able to spend as much time in Bible study as the single guy who is on summer vacation and only works one part time job. The important thing is what’s going on in your heart, not your actions. I know of people who spend 4-5 hours in Bible study and prayer each day and have no passion for Christ. On the other hand, there are many examples throughout history of people who could only find time to read a few verses each day and had to pray while cooking a meal, but had a true joy in the Lord and in serving Him. Scripture teaches that the latter is more honored. Look at the Pharisees as versus the Canaanite woman who pleaded with Jesus to heal her demon-posessed daughter (Matt. 15).

  3. To supplement Court’s excellent answer a bit, I would say that limiting (including Bible study and prayer) is an inherent part of our lives. While Courtney is going through a specific season where free time is limited, all of us have limited time to one degree or another. As much as I would love to sit and read my Bible all day, I have to go to work by a certain time. The very facts of responsibility call for those kinds of discipline/limitations. It’s not as though God is disappointed that I go to work each day to provide for my family. In a similar strand, if I didn’t restrain Bible study, I might never discipline myself to proclaim Christ to the world, show mercy to others, or encourage other believers. I’m an introvert and a reader, so I’d rather be alone reading than with others. But all of these things are commands from Scripture. So, whether we are working around the circumstances of our lives or seeking to obey God in all the ways he commands, some kind of self-imposed limitations must be present.

  4. Hey Courtney,
    Just wanted to tell you that your posts on scheduling have been very convicting to me. I’ve been praying through all of this- priorities, etc. I’m anxious to get something on paper, but I’m still working through Carolyn Mahaney’s worksheets (it’s taking me a a while!). It’ll be so important to have a balanced schedule when we start doing more school in the fall.

  5. What are these Carolyn Mahaney worksheets you guys keep talking about?

  6. Rachel,
    If you go to “Schedules–Part 2” I have included a link to Carolyn’s worksheets. The worksheets don’t have a lot of text on them, but it does take a while to go through them.

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