Quiet time is so hard to find. As a wife. As a mom. In our busy, busy world. It seems like someone always needs us. We have errands to run, meals to cook, a house to clean, and endless things to do.
But it is so important to carve out a time in our busy days where we can just sit, be still, and recharge ourselves by spending time in prayer and reading the Word. This time is SO important if we want to grow as a Christian, to learn more about the Bible, and to live each day eternally minded.
So what exactly is a “quiet time?” It might be called many things, but the gist of it is a specific time of day set aside to strengthen your relationship with the Lord. A time for prayer, reading a devotional book, or studying the Bible. It might include writing in a prayer journal or listening to worship music.
As I think back through my life, my quiet times have looked different in almost every season of life. When I was working full time and going to grad school full time, I had zero free hours in my day! When I wasn’t working or taking classes, I was either studying or catching up on housework. Thankfully, my job at the time – as a preschool teacher – had a glorious quiet time built into it. Naptime!
When the preschoolers went down for their two hour naptime, I would make sure my lessons were complete for the next day, and then pull out my Bible and my prayer journal. Those times spent in quiet with the Lord were always so refreshing in such a busy season of my life.
A few years later, after I graduated with my master’s degree, I found myself at home with a toddler and a newborn. Gone were my two-hour stretches of peace and quiet! My life consisted of diaper changes, potty training, and nursing an infant.
In those months, I found that it was best for me to have my quiet time during middle of the night feedings. They weren’t very long, or very in depth. It was usually 2:00 AM!! But they were always productive and gave me energy in my long days.
With the rest of the house sleeping, knowing I had to be awake to feed the baby anyways, it was the perfect time for me. I had all of my things ready to go when I went to bed, knowing that in a few short hours I would wake up to a hungry baby and I would waste no time diving into reading the Bible or a devotional book.
The next year as a full-time teacher, my quiet time once again changed with my season of life. It worked best in these years for me to break it up. First thing every morning I would spend 5-10 minutes reading a daily devotional. Just something to get my mind and heart ready for the day ahead. Then I would spend my lunch break reading the Bible and writing in my prayer journal.
This past year, my family went through some very tough times. I was being pulled in many different directions and some of our family members had so many needs there was not even one minute to myself. Truly!
At the same time, my husband was spending every minute he could with his father, who was in the last stages of cancer. He needed those days with his dad to help take care of him, to find comfort in his last days, and to spend every opportunity he could with him.
Gone were my hour-long stretches of uninterrupted time to read and study. I had little pockets of time. Ten minutes here, five minutes there.
When I didn’t have the time to dive in and study God’s Word for an extended amount of time, I missed that fellowship with Him so much. It was in those few months that I truly realized the importance of having a regular quiet time with God. A time for reading and studying His Word, the Bible, and giving Him an opportunity to speak to me through prayer.
I will say in thirty-something years, I have only had ONE season where I truly had no more than fifteen minutes at a time for this. It was a few months of intense personal struggle and suffering, and I had to rely on the truths I’d already stored up in my heart to get me through. Looking back, not only did I miss that quiet time so much, but I was reminded why it is so important!!
Why do we need a quiet time? Well, for starters, how can we have a relationship with God when we don’t spend anytime with Him? When we spend time in His Word, memorizing scriptures, and praying about issues in our lives, we are reminded that God is real. That He is very present.
If this seems foreign to you, I challenge you to set a quiet time and ask God to meet you there. It is mind-blowing to think that when we ask God to show Himself to us, He will. Things will just pop up everywhere to remind you that He is so present.
If you’re reading this, chances are you already know how important quiet time is in your day and you want to do a better job of making it a priority. Maybe you have a crazy busy work schedule. Maybe you just had a baby and your perfectly ordered life has been turned upside down.
Maybe you have toddlers and going to the bathroom by yourself is a treat, much less carving out thirty minutes to read the Bible. Maybe your kids are older and you feel like your new title is family chauffeur. Or maybe you don’t have kids at home and are looking for new ideas to incorporate in your day.
Here are a couple of things to think about when trying to make a quiet time that will work for you.
1 – Think about the stage of life you are in right now. What you did last year might not work this year. What are the things that demand your attention? How do these demands influence your ability to carve out a quiet time in your day? Do you need to manage your time better? Will you set a 20-30 minute appointment each day to have your quiet time all at once? Or will it work best for you to break it up each day?
2 – Think of some times that you can make work. Most times, if we are really honest with ourselves, it’s not that we don’t have the time. It’s that we don’t make the time. Or when we do make the time, we can’t stay focused long enough to get anything done. What are some times that will work for you? Your kids’ nap time? Before they get up in the morning? Do you need to get up earlier? Or do it late at night?
3 – Start small. If you are overwhelmed at how far you need to go, and how much you want to accomplish, remember to start small. The point is to find consistency. Maybe you can start with five minutes a day. Then the next week, increase your time to ten minutes a day. Work up to fifteen, then twenty, then thirty minutes a day, or however much time you feel like you need.
4 – Don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle. Someone who has had a consistent quiet time for years might be able to share with you some things that work. But please don’t compare yourself to her!. Don’t let it discourage you that you aren’t there yet. Only compare yourself with yourself. Look back at your quiet time from last week and make sure you are growing.
5 – Just start! If I’ve learned anything as a mom, it’s that there is no perfect quiet time. You will have interruptions. You will have distractions. You will have a million other things vying for your attention. Find things that will help you stay focused.
For me, it helps to write as I think/read/learn/pray. The physical act of writing pushes everything out of my brain so I’m not as distracted. I also keep a post-it note nearby. Despite my best attempts at keeping every distraction out of my brain, sometimes those little rascals get in. I have trained myself to just jot my thought down on a post it note to come back to later and then I move on.
Spend some time today really thinking about how you can make your quiet time even more cherished. Try to pick a time and just start. Think about the things that really distract you and how you can fight that. Commit to honor the Lord each day, and prepare to be encouraged.
As I was preparing this series, I went to the most reliable source out there…Facebook. Real people told me real struggles from their real lives.
Tomorrow, I hope to touch on many of the struggles these real women shared about their personal quiet times. What are the things that hold you back in your quiet time? Are there any specific things that make it a challenge for you?