Many Americans spend a significant amount of time commuting. One of the greatest challenges for those who have long commutes is how to redeem the time.
I have been making an hour long commute around the city of Raleigh for five years now, as I make my way toward my job as a senior nuclear operations instructor at the Harris Nuclear Plant.
Unless I establish a plan to make the most of my commute, I find that either the traffic or the problems of the day consume my thoughts and leave me more stressed than I should be. This in turn makes me less productive, and less likely to be God-honoring in my attitude at and about work.
Here are five things that I have found beneficial for my commute:
1. Listening to Audio Lectures or Sermons
There are so many free sources of audio material available online that one could not begin to exhaust the resources. Not only do many local pastors post audio of their sermons online, but many seminaries also have their chapel services available for free.
- Many world class expositors like Tim Keller and John Piper have made their content available for free or for a reasonable charge.
- Sources like Monergism have lectures and sermons sorted by topic, speaker, and more.
- Reformed Theological Seminary has made all their lectures available for download.
- Covenant Theological Seminary also provides numerous lectures online.
- The Veritas Forum has several e-resources online as well.
Also, my local library stocks multiple audio lecture series that I have listened to for personal enrichment on world history, philosophy, and other engaging topics. Yours probably does, too.
2. Memorizing Scripture
In addition to sermons and lectures, I have memorized multiple Psalms and several other passages of Scripture while driving to and from work. I have purchased my favorite translation of the Bible where I can listen to a chapter over and over, and start to say it with the reader until I have it down.
Additionally, for shorter passages, some translations, like Crossway’s English Standard Version, allow you to download a certain number of verses at a time so that you can memorize a paragraph or verse of Scripture, instead of a whole chapter. This has benefited me immensely in my spiritual growth.
3. Establishing a Prayer Routine
Every day when I get to the same exit on the way to work, I turn off my car stereo and pray for a list of missionaries that I am connected to, and I pray for an effective day at work. While this doesn’t rise to the devotional level of Brother Lawrence, it does keep me faithful to pray for my friends, and helps me focus on serving God through my vocation.
Depending on how my day has gone, I have some playlists of music that I have found help me to worship effectively. I have a list that can help sooth my frayed nerves at the end of the day, or another that is more upbeat to get me going in the morning.
I have found that having a pre-established playlist keeps me from hopping channels on the radio, or listening to things that are not beneficial. (Additionally, the playlist keeps me from focusing on my MP3 player when I should be driving, since getting someplace safely is more important than being worshipful in the hospital).
Depending on the courses I am taking, first toward my Masters of Divinity, and now toward a PhD in Christian Ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, I sometimes have vocabulary lists or other content that I need to memorize.
I have taken the time to record myself reading my notes so that I can listen to them on my way to and from work. This has helped me to redeem my lengthy commute and give more time to my wife and family when I get home.
These are the five things that I have done in the many hours of commuting. When I have done these things, I have found myself flourishing. When I have neglected these disciplines, I have found myself struggling and stressed.
What things have you done on your commute to make the most of your commute? Leave your comments here.