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Do you struggle to spend quality quiet time with
Does it feel like every time you get the ball rolling something happens and you can’t seem to connect with Him in the morning?
Recently I came across an old Facebook note (remember those) that I had written in the summer of 2010. I had written about a time when I was struggling to spend quality time with God and I had titled it “Starting a Fire in a Thunderstorm”.
You see at that time I had felt like every time I tried to set aside special quiet time something would happen to throw me off track. Like every time I tried to get some sort of Holy Fire started, a
I wrote about how eager I used to be as a new believer, waking up in the early hours of the morning to spend an hour or two in devotion and Bible Study and couldn’t figure out how I’d gotten to a place where I could barely spend 10 to 15 minutes with the Lord.
Strangely enough (or not, because that’s just the way my God works), at the time that I read this note I was again struggling with this problem.
One week I’d be disciplined enough to wake up early to ensure that I got in plenty of quality time and the next week I’d find myself trying to pack way too much into the day, going to bed way too late and struggling to get up to do devotion.
But I gave myself some pretty good advice in that old note. Advice that I had to take all over again.
Back then the Holy Spirit had gently reminded me that He said he would never leave me nor forsake me. That Jesus had said that he would be with me until the end of the age.
He reminded me that even though I struggled to meet with Him at my scheduled time each morning, I still connected with Him constantly during the day, in many little ways.
Like when I thanked Him first thing in the morning as I opened my eyes. Or when I gave thanks for the parking spot that opened up as soon as I pulled into the full car park.
He reminded me of the many times I stood at the kitchen sink and had a full conversation with Him about what was on my heart that day and the times in the shower when I suddenly received the answer to something I’d been asking Him about.
There were even times when in the evening, tired from work and trying to beat traffic to pick up the children from school, I’d sit in my room for a moment or lie across the bed before starting dinner. In those 15 to 30 minutes I had such an encounter with Him that when it was all over I felt relaxed and renewed like I had just spent hours in His presence.
It was then that I was reminded that when we have a relationship with Jesus that “special time” can happen at any time. There will be seasons when we will struggle to set aside a specific and dedicated time for Him but He’s not going anywhere.
He’s always right there and willing to talk to us, like our very best friend because… well… that’s who He is.
So if you’ve found yourself in a struggle for quiet time, stop beating yourself up. You’re not a bad Christian. Try one (or all) of these 4 simple ways to connect with God each day.
Know That He is Always There
Jesus loves you so much that He is always willing to meet you where you are at. Look for ways that you can stay connected to Him all day long.
Try listening to a devotional while you’re doing the school run, even if it’s a children’s devotional. My children are pretty much grown up now but I still love to listen to Adventures in Odyssey. I’ll even catch up on the episodes online if I’ve missed it on the local radio station.
Listening to the audio Bible, a recorded lesson or sermon, or worship music is a great way to stay connected when you’re on the move.
Find little ways to stick to Him like glue until you return to a season where structured quiet time is possible again.
Pray Without Ceasing
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “Pray without ceasing”. In the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) this reads as “Pray regularly”.
Since praying is just talking to God, another way to stay connected to Him is to create a habit of talking to Him constantly. Talk to Him about EVERYTHING! He doesn’t mind, He WANTS to talk to you.
Oh and ask Him questions too. When you come across anything in the Bible that you don’t understand or that you’re not sure how to apply in your life, ask Him about it.
I often find myself asking Him things like why He chose to do something one away and not another or why He chose to use a certain person rather than someone else. His answers usually blow me away.
I have so much fun with Him in these moments. Honestly, at one point it seemed like every time He answered one question it created another one. I said to Him “Lord, I feel like that child who constantly asks why, why, why”.
I wonder if that’s part of what it means to become like a little child lol.
Some of the best times I’ve spent with Him have been times like this. Times when we have a conversation as though He’s physically standing in front of me. I think that’s what true relationship with Him feels like.
Rest in Your Quiet Moments
Whenever you have a quiet moment, whether it is half an hour or 5 minutes, try to relax and forget about everything else you have going on.
If you’re just trying this for the first time it will help to deliberately focus your thoughts on God so that you’re not distracted but if you’ve been practicing ways to connect with Him all day long (see the previous tip), then you might find that from the moment you sit down you feel His presence.
It’s like He’s been waiting all day to connect with you and couldn’t wait to get your attention.
Again, don’t worry that you don’t have more time to spend with Him. He loves you and knows exactly where you are at and what you need and wants to take care of you.
He’s always ready and willing to give you the solution to that problem, the answer to that question or the strength to face your latest challenge.
Find a Short Devotion
If you still feel the need for a structured quiet time, a short devotion might do the trick. When I found myself struggling once again to connect with Him, I decided to recalibrate my quiet time and simplify it for a while.
I started very very small.
I discovered a book called Hello Mornings by Kat Lee which helps you to combine Bible study, planning
The devotion at its minimum only takes three minutes but is structured so that you can do more if you choose. One minute to focus on Psalm 143:8, one minute to plan your day and one minute to drink a glass of water.
An extended version of this might look like 30 minutes of devotion time, 30 minutes to plan your day (preferably based on what as revealed during devotion) and a 30 minute run or workout at the gym.
Since I workout in the mornings and had recently started to use a physical planner, this was exactly what I was looking for. I chose to do half an hour of devotion time, half hour to plan my day and my usual hour in the gym.
The Kindle version of Hello Mornings is available here (only $2.99 USD at the moment) and you can find the print version here.
For further information and downloadable Bible studies, you can visit hellomornings.org.
Remember that quiet time can look different in different seasons of your life. While it’s good to have a structured quiet time with God, there will some seasons when this is not possible.
Instead of struggling and failing to stick to a regimented schedule, try finding little ways to connect with God as you go about your day.
Your Heavenly Father loves you. He’s not a taskmaster who gets angry if you don’t spend an hour with Him each morning. All He wants to do is be in constant relationship with you.
It doesn’t matter how you spend quiet time with Him, the important thing is that you do it.
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