Many of us began the New Year with a renewed desire to spend time growing in the Lord. The problem is … we don’t always know what that means or how to do it. So we do what we heard all the super spiritual people do and commit to reading the whole Bible in a year and taking notes about all we learn along the way. We choose a one-year reading plan and jump from Genesis to Psalms to Proverbs and finally to Matthew … and within a few a few days our enthusiasm wanes and our exhaustion wins. We start sleeping a few minutes later with promises to ourselves that we’ll catch up.
But somehow, the catching up doesn’t occur. Life keeps spinning and we feel the guilt heaping on our hearts from another failed attempt to have a good quiet time.
Can you relate?
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Is time in the Word important? Absolutely. It’s one of the best ways we have to grow in our understanding of the knowledge of God and His plans for us. But, please hear this from my heart, reading your Bible every day is NOT the same thing as spending time with God every day. The two can happen simultaneously but they don’t always.
Yes, I encourage to have a time of personal Bible study and prayer every day. Not so you can check it off on your list of “things good girls do” but so God can reveal Himself to you and you can grow more intimate with Him. Over the next few days, I’m going to give you some suggestions for how to make this happen, some resources that have proven useful to me, and some encouragement for learning to carve out that time.
But before we get into all of that, I want to lay this foundation … Just like we cannot do enough good things to earn our salvation, we cannot complete enough Bible studies to earn God’s favor. Time with the Lord isn’t about that. It’s more like this:
A few weeks ago I went to lunch with a friend. We chatted about the mundane realities of our lives and shared some funny stories about things that had annoyed us. We enjoyed our lunch and sat for two hours after our plates had been cleared. We talked about the worries we were carrying and the joy we’d been finding in the most unusual places. We laughed a lot. We cried a little bit. We encouraged each other and there were even times of silence, just enjoying being in the company of a friend.
But it can also be like this:
Last week I got a call from a friend who was exhausted. Weary from some difficult situations she’d been facing, she just needed to hear a voice tell her that she wasn’t a failure. We talked for less than five minutes but when we hung up she had a renewed heart from being reminded of her value.
God meets us where we are. Sometimes He lingers long with us relishing a slow conversation. But He is just as present when we escape to the bathroom holding tight to our Bibles and crying out, “I need you.”
What is your biggest struggle in maintaining a consistent quiet time?
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This post is part of a series. You can find all Starting Well in 2012 posts indexed here.