I have recently come across some personal finance articles that discuss how passive barriers prevent people from making effective choices with their money. A passive barrier is an inconvenience in our life that makes doing what we know we need to do more difficult.
For example, the other day I was going to workout during my lunch break but I forgot to bring a change of socks and since I dreaded to spend the rest of the day with sweaty dress socks, I said forget it. At our house, we never seem to have stamps when we need them and so things that need to be mailed often sit for days because we are too lazy or forgetful about picking up more stamps.
Spiritual examples in my life includes times when I didn’t feel like walking to the other side of the house to find my Bible; times I didn’t feel like taking the extra fifteen seconds to say a prayer with my kids before going to bed; or how meaningless internet activity seems to crowd out the opportunity to send an encouraging email to a friend.
Here are three easy steps to remove passive barriers from your life:
1. Track your life. For one day, pay attention to your most common routines. Is the first place you go to in the morning your coffee pot? Do you spend the majority of your day in front of a computer? Do you enjoy sitting on your back porch each evening? Track your routines and start strategically placing spiritual materials in these locations. I know of people who write scripture verses on bathroom mirrors using dry erase markers. I read of one couple who found a shower curtain with a map of the world on it so they would continually pray for the world. Place your Bible next to your computer or on your dinner table. Make it convenient to read.
2. Tell others. I am constantly trying new diets, exercise plans, and spiritual practices but I never bother to tell my wife what I am doing. Then I get annoyed with her when she messes up my plans or activities. How was she supposed to know what I was doing? By telling others that you are trying to remove passive barriers to your spiritual life, they can help you by not putting your Bible away when they are straightening up or not turning on the TV when they know you are trying to spend a few quiet moments in prayer.
3. Make a God spot. I talked about this idea last week but I think it is a great way of removing passive barriers. When you set a particular location as where you go daily for prayer or scripture reading you are developing a habit that will trigger spiritual activities and thoughts about God. Don’t be ashamed if your God spot changes; I can think of three locations in our house that I have used as a God spot.
Don’t start this week by letting the slightest things keep you from spending time with God. Make a few simple changes and let God have a more prominent place in your life.