A steaming cup of coffee.
My bible, a pen, and a notebook.
And not a sound to be heard in the house.
That’s my idea of the perfect time with God.
But you know what happened? I had a baby. And my quiet times stayed the same. And then I had another baby. And another one. And perfect anything went right out the window.
Waking up before the kids is hard to do when a nursing baby wakes you up every 2-3 hours. Spending time with God before going to bed seems nearly impossible–I’m often brain dead by the time the kids are in bed.
And so my quiet times have changed.
Before I had kids, I read a book by Elizabeth George. In it, she gave this advice about quiet times:
Something is better than nothing.
She said that sometimes, a verse or two is all you can fit in. And that’s OK.
At the time, I scoffed at this as absurd and hardly sufficient for a Christ-centered believer. But now I really do believe this is true. Do you know why? Because the goal of a quiet time is to spend time with God.
My goal is to learn more about Him, be convicted of my sin, and grow in Christlikeness. The goal is intimacy with Christ. And in different seasons of life, that can look more like singing hymns while doing the dishes instead of an hour of uninterrupted time with God.
Here’s what my (im)perfect time with God might look like:
1. It might be pretty short. A verse or two might have to work, or maybe I can only read 1-2 chapters in my “Bible in a Year” reading plan…which means it could take a few years to finish that reading plan!
2. It might not happen in the morning. It may happen during nap time or any other time in the day.
3. It might not be quiet. Sometimes, I’m reading a chapter or two in bed while the kids watch Mickey Mouse. Other times, the kids and I work on memorizing scripture together and the extent of my theology involves Leading Little Ones to God, a book I’m reading through with my kids during our school day.
4. It might happen in a weird place. I may take my Bible in the bathroom for a few minutes or read a chapter on my Bible app while I wait in line at the bank.
Is this ideal? No way. Is it sufficient? Absolutely.
If we want to be legalistic, then no, it’s definitely not good enough. But if the goal is growing in Christlikeness, then that can happen just as easily by only reading a verse or two.
Do we want to stay here? Honestly, no, I don’t think I do. I want to spend more time with Him, but some seasons make that challenging. Fortunately, I’m coming out of the hectic, survival mode season and I can finally get more out of my time with God.
If you’re wanting to improve your time with God, then here are a few suggestions.
1. Always have a plan. I always know what book of the Bible I’m going to read next. So when I finish Proverbs and Romans, I’ll move on to Numbers. Having a plan keeps me moving forward in the Bible. And it means that sometimes, I may only have time to read a few verses, but tomorrow, I might read a few chapters.
2. Aim for the first chance you get. So no, morning quiet times may not happen…but if the kids are magically playing well together at 10 am, then go for it. Sneak in a few minutes of Job.
3. Get Creative. Pray in the shower. This is also when I like to practice my memory verses. I also review them while I run or I listen to sermons. The longer the sermon, the less bored I get during a run, so Mark Dever’s hour long sermons are perfect for me. You can also pray for each member of your house as you’re folding their laundry. We listen to scripture-centered music during the day so that my thoughts are naturally gravitating towards Christ.
4. Don’t let failure discourage you. Not spending time with God today doesn’t mean you can’t tomorrow. His love for us has nothing to do with how much or how little of the Bible we read today. But you know what? I love Him too much not to spend time with Him.
But what if I don’t even want to?
Pray that you will. Do it anyway so that the desire will return. And read Psalm 119 over and over again until those verses are true of your heart.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Looking for a great reading plan? This is what I’m (sort of) working through right now. It gives me a few catch up days here and there which makes it easier to keep up with.
How do you work in time with God?
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