Life in the university promises a chance to think about the big questions in life, to reflect on who we are and what we’re learning. But all too often, life as an academic seems so busy as to overwhelm any chance at contemplation; it can be a struggle to figure out even how to have daily time with God. For our fall tips series, we’re asking writers to share a brief tip or idea on building your spiritual life in your role as an academic. Last week we kicked off the series with a post by Mary Poplin. This time we share a few short tips from ESN author Tim Gilmour.
I have a few tips that have been helpful for me as a busy academic.
- Try to read a little bit of Scripture every day, even a very little bit such as one verse (especially if in the New Testament). Try to think about that small piece of Scripture throughout the day. Read it for several days in a row if necessary, until it sinks in.
- Try to take at least some time once a week (such as Sunday afternoon, for me) to spend a little more time with God, in prayer, evaluation of the past week, committing of all my cares over to Him, etc. A “full Sabbath rest” would be even better, but even a “partial Sabbath rest” is helpful. Also, asking God if there is anything new/different that God is calling me to in the future. It often works well for me to take a solitary walk in nature during this time.
- Post important scripture verses around where I will see them, such as on the bathroom mirror, in my office as I walk in the door and around my computer screen, on my desk, etc.: Romans 8:28, Philippians 4:6, and whatever other promises from God’s word that I want to be permanently mounted in my mind, as anchors throughout the storms of life.
- The Bible says in Hebrews 13:3 to remember those [Christian brothers&sisters] in prison as though I were in prison. This year, I have found the daily prayer guide from Open Doors USA to be helpful in remembering the persecuted Christians around the world. It has one short prayer or praise for the persecuted, each day. This helps force me to constantly raise my eyes above my own (first-world) problems and remember that I have a lot to be thankful for. It also helps me to support the brothers and sisters in prayer, and strengthens me to be ready to face persecution myself some day.
Tim Gilmour is Assistant Professor of Engineering at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, AR. He has published scientific papers in the areas of biomedical signal processing and neuroscience, and currently teaches electrical engineering, computer science, and embedded systems. In his free time he enjoys spending time with friends, reading, hiking, music, playing Frisbee and Ping-Pong, learning about other cultures, and spreading the good news about Jesus Christ.