Every Christian I have ever met gives them self a guilt trip for not having a proper or frequent “quiet time”. I think we somehow think if the earth doesn’t shake and our bible doesn’t levitate while praying then we didn’t do it right.
I certainly feel a little inadequate discussing a subject of how to grow in your relationship with the God of the entire universe. So don’t take this as a “how to guide” rather than just what works for one imperfect girl.
My quiet time has taken many forms. I have learned which ways I learn best, and in which ways just put me to sleep. In this stage of life my ideal quiet time looks like this:
First let me say the holy bible app has been the best thing that ever happend to my quiet time. I will talk more about that in a second but if you don’t have that on any “Smart gadget” get it!
Get up, head to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal (yes I eat before I do anything else) I bring my cereal to the couch where the house is still quiet. I have the “holy bible” app on my phone. I read the verse of the day (provided by the app) and write it in my journal. I repeat it a few times, write anything I feel God telling me through this. Often I write a prayer for what is on my mind and mostly WHAT I AM THANKFUL FOR. I then sit in silence a few minuets just marinating on this.
After the kids have woken up, eaten breakfast and happy with a cartoon, I listen to the audio version of the “multiply reading plan” (also on the bible app) by David Platt and Francis Chan I can listen to it from my phone while I get dressed and ready. The audio feature on this is app is, my friends, AWESOMENESS.
Not only do I learn so much more LISTENING to such a good story teller, but I can also listen while driving or folding clothes, putting on makeup, or any other mundane task.
And lastly, On the way to pre-school, the kids and I sing (at the top of our lungs) YOU MAKE BEAUTIFUL THINGS by gungor.
This happens on ideal mornings. Not every morning. This is also just what works for this stage of life. It wasn’t too long ago I was up all night with a baby and waking up even 30 seconds earlier than I had to was completely out of the question.
On days where I have stayed up too late or in a crazy rush, I can still listen to the audio version of the bible in the car. Listening/reading scripture really does have a way of setting the mood of the day.
At a bare minimum, when I can do nothing else, I sing a few song lyrics (in my head less anyone runs in terror) of this song that just permeates everything I am passionate about. These are they lyrics from a part of Hillsong’s Hoseanna song:
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
If I could have theme music I would want it to be this. Repeating this as my “mantra” helps me to live up to my theme music.
In different stages of life and in different context our time with God may look differently. Sometimes it is just sitting outside and marveling at his creativity, making a list of all of our blessings, CHOOSING to be happy when circumstances are less than ideal, or journaling our prayers.
The short of the story is this: Studying God’s word is absolutely important, sharing life and being built up by other believers is absolutely important. But the intimacy that comes from just you and God, together with no one else around is incomparable.
God is not one of guilt or to-do lists. He is a God of relationships. More than a 3 hour bible study, a long and eloquent prayer, or even serving others, he just wants you.
What does your “imperfect quiet time” look like. What works best for you?