My husband, Judah, and I have loved reading together since the very beginning of our marriage. We decided we would have a goal of reading one marriage book per year together, and so far we’ve been able to keep that goal all six years we’ve been married (although I must say we’ve had a couple of times when we’ve just barely made it)!
One year when we realized we were going to be really close to making our yearly goal, we knew we had to take advantage of every spare moment we had. So before every car ride, we would grab the book, and I would read aloud until we reached our destination. By the time that book was finished, driving time had become some of our favorite and most purposeful time together, and we still look forward to every drive, whether 5 minutes or 5 hours.
Driving is a regular part of almost everyone’s lives. Whether going to the store or taking a road trip, it’s a necessity in this day and age. It can be easy to see that as “empty” time because our hands are always occupied. But just because our hands are full doesn’t mean our minds can’t be put to good use, too.
Ephesians 5:15 says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” We have been given a specific amount of time on this earth by God, and none of it is worth wasting. We are called to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30).
So no matter what our hands are busy with, our minds should always be functioning in a way that is glorifying to the Lord.
And driving time is no exception.
Here are three ways we try to intentionally redeem our drive time.
Saturdays are my day to run errands while Judah watched the kids, so it is some of the only time during the week I am completely by myself. I’m a music-in-the-car person, so my first instinct is usually to turn on my favorite playlist (which I do on a regular basis). But often as I’m driving in the quiet and my mind starts going, things begin to come to mind from the week that I’ve wanted to spend intentional time praying about.
In these times, I turn off the music, and set aside that time for focused and uninterrupted prayer. Over time it has become one of my favorite times to pray. It usually consists of simply talking to the Lord about the things that are filling my mind and heart that day: relationships, a struggle with one of the kids, a situation I need wisdom to figure out, a sin issue that God has brought to the surface… Anything. So If I feel any sort of prompting to turn the playlist off and simply quiet myself before Him, I do. And it’s incredibly refreshing.
2) Listening to Books, Podcasts, or the Bible
As I told you earlier, listening to books has become one of our favorite ways to spend our time together in the car. It keeps our minds engaged and sharp, and gives us lots of great conversation topics. It’s a great time to fully absorb what we’re listening to without distraction, as well as make comments on what stands out to us when it is fresh in our minds.
For quite a few years I listened to the Bible almost as much as I read it , and I often would be on a Bible reading plan that I could listen to on an app (I love YouVersion). I began using driving time to catch up when I was behind, and I loved that my kids were being exposed to it, too, when we were all in the car together. By the time my oldest was 3, he had listened through the Bible almost 4 times!
Podcasts, too, are a great way of using the time to learn and fill your mind with helpful resources, whether spiritual or practical. Many podcasts are quite short, so they are often a perfect length for shorter distances.
3) Intentional Conversations
Judah and I have had some very significant and important conversations in the car. Sometimes they are prompted by something we’ve been listening to, and other times the drive provides a perfect and uninterrupted opportunity to talk about something that we’ve been wanting to connect on for a while.
It often takes much more mental energy than turning on music and making the occasional comment to one another about one thing or another, but we’ve found that when we make the effort to really engage with each other we are always so glad we did.
So if you are with your spouse or your kids or a friend, try to think of ways you can intentionally connect with them in a meaningful way while you drive. It has the potential to become some of the greatest relationship-building time you have!
As you seek the Lord about how best to use your time, He will certainly give you wisdom and creativity, just as He has for us. Your time matters more to Him than it does to you, and as you begin to see just how many opportunities there are for glorifying Him in the “in-between” times of life, even the mundane moments will become moments you’ll look forward to.