God was on the forefront of my mind when I was desperately hunting for a job. My favourite scripture was Psalm chapter 55, verse 7: 'evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.'
As with any job hunting season, there were days I'd feel really low, with my motivation at an all-time low.
So I would copy out verses declaring God's faithfulness, read articles on answered prayers, while pleading God for an answer.
During those long months, I had my daily quiet time with God, read my Bible like there was no tomorrow, and my daily devotionals were dog-eared, highlighted, and underlined.
And one day, after a long half a year of sending out endless CVs, preparing for countless interviews, and receiving numerous rejections, my prayer was answered. I was offered a copywriting position with one of New Zealand's largest retail businesses and the role came with better working hours and better pay.
Then the busyness of my new role soon began to take a toll on my daily prayer time with God.
It wasn't an overnight thing. I didn't neglect God the minute my prayer was answered.
No, I was resolute my quiet time would not be affected at all. I was determined that I would spend 30 minutes every night, before winding down, reading my Bible. Nothing would have changed, I said.
How very wrong was I.
Each day, I do a daily battle with Auckland's rush hour, spending two hours return on the motorway.
When I get home from work, it's a quick dinner, shower, and dash around the house helping with the household chores. My eyelids are heavy and my brains are frizzled by the time 8.30pm rolls around.
I log on my computer and click on Netflix to watch an episode or two of my favourite series. I figure an episode or two in the evening won't hurt anyone and my brains are too frizzled to do any serious reading.
On some evenings, I can be found rushing through a comment piece for Christian Today, because I had left it to the very last minute, and I'm now falling behind the deadline.
And it's soon bedtime and I've pushed my 'spend time with God' to 'I'll do it another day'.
The days pass and I'm nowhere closer to finding that extra time to spend with God.
And I'm feeling incredibly guilty about it all.
'My people have forgotten about me'
These days I feel like I'm the Israelites the Bible talks about in Jeremiah chapter 2, verse 32, 'Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet My people have forgotten Me, days without number'.
I feel a twinge of guilt whenever I read that verse. While condemnation does not come from God, I believe it can sometimes act like a gentle reminder that I really should be spending time with the One who really matters.
Yet it is so easy to relegate God to the backseat when things are going well.
I have tried taking bite-sized prayers throughout the day. A sentence when I'm in the car, during my lunch hour, whenever I need a pick-me-up when the days get long and trying.
Yet somehow I cannot shake the feeling that I'm still neglecting God, and have chosen to just snack on His presence, when I'm invited for a banquet.
Making God #1
Again, it's easier said than done, but I figure I really must find a way to make God my number one priority.
If I am able to set time aside to hang out with my friends, catch-up on my favourite Netflix programmes, surely I'll be able to do the same for God.
The Bible says we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all shall be added to us (Matthew chapter 6, verse 33). Which sounds easy enough, but finding the time is oh-so-hard.
I have taken small steps to ensure my daily God-quota is met. I make sure to watch only one episode on Netflix, to ensure I've the extra 30-minutes to read my Bible.
So far, so good.
It might be awhile before I'll reach the perfect work, life, and God balance.
But for now, baby steps will do.
Michele Ong currently works as a writer for a Christian non-profit organisation. She believes in the power of the written word, and the impact it has on lives. In her spare time, she can be found trying to put together a decent meal, or pretending to be an elite swimmer in the pools. For more of Michele’s articles look here: https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michele-ong.html