The average adult female supposedly drives about 12,000 miles a year. While this number may vary widely from one woman to the next, let’s just go with it for a minute.
If you were to travel this distance at 60mph, you would be driving for 200 hours each year. That is over 8 straight (24 hour) days of driving!
In case you think 12,000 miles is an excessive number, it breaks down to average only 32 miles a day. Do you spend about 30 minutes in the car each day? If you do, you might just line up with this stat. Or perhaps you are in the car for 30 minutes, but a good chunk of that time is sitting in traffic or waiting in the school “pick up line.” Either way, most of us spend a considerable amount of time in the car!
So why does this matter? …Maybe it doesn’t. There are a lot of things we do every day that suck up our time. Most we chalk up to being a “part of life.” However, what if we thoughtfully used this time? What if, instead of these 200 or so hours just slipping by, we used them in extremely productive ways? Well, that would be 200 or so hours in which we were really productive! (Just to state the obvious.)
Psalm 90:12 says:
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
When we remember our lives are fleeting we are more thoughtful and wise about how we spend our time. Therefore, consider the fact that you have potentially 200 hours floating around this year that you can choose to maximize! Even if you were thoughtful about one-fifth of your drive time, that would be 40 hours well spent!
So if you are ready to try it, here are 10 ideas to get you started:
1). Intentionally connect.
If you have any other human in the car with you, you have a key opportunity to connect! In the fast-paced culture we live in, it’s not very often that we just sit down and talk. So use car time to engage, ask thoughtful questions, encourage, show love, connect!
2). Talk to God.
If you are not engaging (or distracted by) people in your car, drive time is excellent prayer time! Again, we so rarely sit long enough to focus, especially on God. But there you are, stuck in a seat. Use this time to talk to your Creator. This could be a consistent time in which you know you are “constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
3). Pray about where you are headed.
While this idea could fit under the category of “talking to God,” it’s a more specific suggestion worth your consideration. You are headed somewhere — driving to your destination is a great time to pray for whatever will be happening at your destination. Ask God to help you represent him well wherever you are going. Ask him to help you be loving, or wise, or thoughtful, in your upcoming interactions. How much more intentional we would be in life if we had moments of prayer before we went anywhere!
4). Make goals.
Whether it be related to where you are headed, or just in general — make reflection and goal-making a regular part of your drive. How does God want you to obey him today? What can you resolve to do? If you have children in your car, include them in the process. Ask them to make a goal each time they head to school or church. [What a great topic to “connect” about too when you get back in the car together!]
5). Turn up the music and praise God!
Turning up the music is normal and not all that purposeful. However, if you can find yourself some good worship music, get your heart engaged and spend some time praising God!
6). Use a verse memorization method.
Most of us desire to memorize God’s word, but executing a plan is often the hardest part. So make it a part of drive time! I have recently been utilizing the “fighter verse app” …you can listen to a passage read to you again and again and again (it just keeps repeating). But a much more fun and interesting way to memorize is by listening to the app sing the song again and again! I’ll be honest, I find the songs a tad cheesy, but that does not keep me away. These songs are great ways to remember God’s word!
7). Call a friend.
Of course, there are phone calls you need to make — but what phone calls can you intentionally make? What friend or family member could you reach out to, just to show them love? In a day of texting, emails and social media, a phone call can mean a lot to someone (especially an older someone who doesn’t massively use technology). So call them up and make their day.
8). Listen to the Bible.
Hopefully, you have a daily time you read God’s word, but you can get through a whole lot more Bible if you add some audio Bible while you drive! You can seek to get in a broader overview of the Bible by just listening to it from beginning to end. Or you could listen to a book again and again until the concepts are etched in your mind and heart. It’s simple, just pick an app with a trusted translation, and press play!
9). Plan to give thanks.
Drive time could easily be a time when you reflect on how hard the day has been. But what if, instead, you purpose to notice the good in your life (or in the scenery) and thank God. Pay attention to the beautiful trees, or big blue skies. Notice the blooming flowers. Don’t get too distracted (since this is in the context of driving!) — nevertheless, seek to find extra reasons to be grateful.
10). Utilize technology that exercises your mind.
There are so many easily-accessible biblical resources these days. You might as well use them! A personal favorite would be finding a sermon on Focal Point. There are thousands of great sermons that will challenge and encourage you. Or find a helpful podcast like The Briefing that updates you on current events from a Biblical perspective. Recently, I’ve greatly enjoyed listening to the audio versions of missionary biographies. Few things bring perspective and motivation to live for Christ like hearing about those who have done it well in generations past.
Just Add One Thing!
Don’t try to do all these ideas (you overachievers), but maybe you can maximize one drive a week to start with. My guess is, you will find it so worthwhile and enjoyable that you will want to add more!
Of course, there is no harm in just being quiet and doing nothing on a drive. That may be exactly what you need before arriving somewhere. But perhaps there are still a few lingering hours throughout your week that can be captured and maximized! One hour a week well spent is…well, one hour a week well spent! That sounds worth giving it a shot!