Around two years ago, I found a strategy that worked really well for staying in the word every single day. I would read the Bible every day. Every morning before I even got out of bed, I would read a chapter in the Bible followed by some journaling. I would do this same thing in the evening before I fell asleep. This way, I began and ended every day spending time in the word. In addition, I wrote my prayers in a journal. In this way, I noticed that I developed such a joy in the Lord, and I know that it is because I developed discipline to further my faith.

I am not saying this to brag about myself, but to share how I would spend time with God and how it has been successful. For me, I had to spend time every morning and every night, and I was so full of the Lord. As soon as I began to slack on my time with the Lord, I noticed a difference. Simply not spending time with Him every day affects me negatively. I noticed that when I do not put God first every morning and/or evening, then I basically do not put Him first at all.

Recently, life has gotten busy. College is busy and the days are long. Sometimes the day is so busy that I do not get to bed until late at night. At that point, I am "too tired" to spend time with the Lord. Since I couldn't get much sleep, I do not wake up early enough to spend time with Him the following morning. That is already a consecutive evening and morning! Unfortunately, this has happened more often than I want to admit. Before I know it, I have gone several days without reading the Bible and spending time with Him.

As a result, I just desired God a bit less. When I did have a night when I wasn't "too tired," I noticed that I did not have much of a desire to spend time with Him. When you do not have a desire to be with the Lord, you begin losing the desire for other things that are for the Lord as well. The whole time I was slipping into the dry state, I knew exactly what was going on. I know that I was not quite as faithful as I normally am. I know that my thoughts and ideas did not exactly line up with God's word. I began to get real tempted. I was feeling temptations that I do not typically feel. Thankfully, I did not act on the temptations at all, but it was in my mind. I began to think that some sinful things were okay, even though I knew that they weren't okay.

Truth is, I needed to spend more time with God. I needed quiet time every single day. I also needed to find some friends who are in the exact same mindset as me and have the same goals as me. This past weekend, I came into contact with some people at church that are near my age. In just a short time, I gained several new friends and gained connections with so many more people. Not only did I need to spend more time with Lord, I needed to find people to talk about Jesus with. Not only did I need more quiet time, but I also needed friends who love the Lord so that we can hold each other accountable. I have learned the importance of truly surrounding yourself in the Lord's presence.

So, I encourage everyone to discipline yourself into diving in the word and finding genuine friends that you can grow in the Lord with. You will be surprised by how quickly you grow.