If you want to have an effective quiet time with God you need to understand these 3 truths.
Today, let’s talk about your quiet time, personal devotions, or whatever you call the time that you spend with God. We’d agree that spending time with God is the number one way to grow your faith. Whether you’re walking through a hard time or things are fine.
As I work with coaching clients, I have found that we often have the wrong idea about what this time should look like. Growing up I didn’t see my mom studying the Bible a lot. I’m 100% sure that she did study because she could pull a verse out for every occasion effortlessly.
I did see a lot of her praying. Actually. I heard it a lot. I remember waking up to her praying for hours every day, especially on the weekends. And I saw the same thing at church.
Naturally, I grew to think that this is what my time with God should look like. Spoiler alert: I was wrong! If you think back a little you probably have a similar story. Your view of what your time with God should look like is often shaped by the examples that you see around you. That’s fine until it isn’t.
What usually happens is that you chase whatever ideal quiet time you’ve made up in your mind without stopping to see if it works for your season. If it works for your personality, if it works for the way that God made you to connect with him, or even if it’s what God wants from you at that moment.
I want to share three truths with you about your quiet time in hopes that you can let go of some of these things that might keep you from truly experiencing a close relationship with God.
Effective Quiet Time Truth #1: Your Quiet Time Is NOT Supposed to Look Like Anyone Else’s
Truth number one is that your quiet time is not supposed to look like anyone else’s. I don’t know if you ever have this happened to you, but I have experienced this on more than one occasion as I grew up in the church, especially when I became a young mom.
People would come to me, well-meaning people I’m sure, and tell me “Here’s what you’re supposed to be doing with your quiet time. You need to spend time praying, studying, reading, journaling, meditating, etc.” because that’s what they were doing and it was working for them.
The problem is just because somebody tells you that you should get up before your kids or early in the morning to have your time with God doesn’t mean that that’s going to work for you. If you are in a season of babies and you are up nursing, changing diapers, rocking, and all the things that go along with having small people it may not be practical for you to try to get up at four o’clock in the morning to have time with God.
Likewise, if you are caring for sick family members, or have a job where you have to be up already super early that may not work for you. You want to be careful to avoid getting legalistic about the format and the structure of your time. You absolutely should be spending time in God’s word and time talking with him in prayer but you get to decide what that looks like.
If I said that I was going to study the bible for five hours a day, I would fail. Do you know why? Because I am not super strong when it comes to bible study. I do it. I know how to do it. I know that it’s important, but that is not what lights me up in my time with God.
I would be bored to tears. I would probably fall asleep, get super distracted, or just give up completely. Likewise, you know what your strengths and weaknesses are and the amount of time that you have and don’t have. When you are thinking about your quiet time, keep all of those things in mind.
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Effective Quiet Time Truth #2: The Length Doesn’t Matter
Number two might be a little controversial, but stay with me, the amount of time that you spend doesn’t matter. Many times I hear from women who come to me say that their quiet time isn’t great because they don’t have an hour to spend with God every day.
I have no idea where we got this one-hour magic rule for how long your quiet time should be. If you know could you tell me, because we need to tell that person to stop spreading that falsehood. The truth is that God is not watching the clock or keeping a timer when you’re spending time with him.
He does not care how much time you have or don’t have for him. He knows your season. He knows what’s on your plate. He’s God. He knows everything. What he wants is your heart. God is more pleased with a heartfelt five minutes focused on him than with two hours of something that you’re doing out of duty.
Instead of stressing over time, I want to encourage you to make use of the time that you have. If you have one minute when you open your eyes before the kids find out that you’re awake and chaos ensues dedicate that one minute to God. Then go to five minutes, then 10, and then 15 minutes.
Don’t feel like you need to do it all at once either, break it up throughout your day. Take the time you need to figure out what your time with God looks like. Embrace the freedom to find what works for you and don’t be afraid to change things up when they no longer work for you.
Effective Quiet Time Truth #3: It’s Not About You
If you don’t remember anything else that I said in this episode, please remember truth number 3: Your quiet time is not about you. The whole point of spending time with God is to spend time with God. If you are not getting to know God better, you’re not doing the right thing.
Typically, we have a problem and then go to God during quiet time looking for something for ourselves. Treating the bible like a self-help book. Need some advice on parenting? That’s what you look for in the Bible.
It’s so tempting to look at the Bible through that lens of searching for answers instead of getting to know God better. Same with prayer. It’s easy to talk God’s ear off about your problems and give him a long list of all the things that you want him to do and instructions on how to do it. That’s the wrong mindset.
The time that you spend with God is meant for you to get to know God. It is a time when God gets to reveal himself to you and speak to your heart. He gets to encourage you and guide you. If you go in there thinking that it’s all about you and your stuff and your agenda, you’re missing the point.
Related Spiritual Growth Articles:
- How to Have a Quiet Time with God
- 3 Ways to Stay Focused During Quiet Time
- Bible Study Tips for Understanding Scripture
Understanding these truths will help you grow closer to God with a more effective quiet time.
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