Unveiling Quiet Time Myths We Believe
I grew up hearing about the importance of having a daily quiet time with Jesus. For years I added “quiet time” to my checklist of things to do while having little knowledge or understanding as to what it truly meant to have a quiet time. Does a quiet time have to be quiet? What time should I have my quiet time? Can I just open my Bible and point at something random and hear from God? How much time does a quiet time take? How am I supposed to understand the Bible? Questions like these tossed around in my curious heart and I began to dig deeper, to ask questions, and to learn that having a quiet time is not about checking off a "to-do," but about coming to the Lord, worshiping Him, and getting to know Him intimately. Because of what Jesus did for me on the cross through His death and His resurrection, I can now enter into His presence daily to spend time with Him (Hebrews 4:16). This is the essence of a "quiet time."
I knew that other women must be wrestling with these same questions, so in 2014 I created the Give Me Jesus quiet time journal to be a training ground for us to open the Word each day feeling equipped and excited. The beginning of the journal details examples of how we can “drink deeply from the Well” of God’s Word and be satisfied with the life-giving, timeless truths of Scripture. After this section, there is a simple, daily layout that can be used to open up any passage of Scripture and study. However, I believe that many women still bring with them past expectations about what a quiet time should look like, and they struggle to fill out these pages and commit to daily time with Jesus. These expectations limit the time they spend in the Word and the fullness of joy that comes from studying ALL of God's Word. Below are three quiet time myths and the truth that unveils them. I pray will this will bring joy and freedom to your daily time with the Lord.
QUIET TIME MYTHS
1. MY QUIET TIME HAS TO BE “QUIET”
The phrase "quiet time" brings with it the pressure to only spend time with Jesus in the quiet. For a mom with several children, or a college student living with roommates, or a missionary living in a noisy city, quiet is not always possible. However, it is possible to have a quiet heart that rests in God in all situations of life. A quiet heart is one that takes a long, hard, steady, purposeful gaze at the cross. This is what we do through a "quiet time." As Elisabeth Elliot once said in her book Keep A Quiet Heart, "A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough. All is grace." Sometimes physical quietness is impossible—work is busy, the kids are playing, the baby is crying, the birds are chirping, the horns are honking and true quiet is lacking—but a quiet heart is possible when it is stayed on Christ. This is the core of having a quiet time. Spending time in God’s Word is about taking our eyes off of the busyness of life and putting them back on Jesus. It is about aligning our dreams, desires, and pursuits with the Word of God and living according to His ways. This can be done both in the quiet and in the chaos, in the noise and in the stillness.
We are told in Psalm 46:10 to “be still and know” that He is God. This command is surrounded by complete chaos (read the entire Psalm). God knows that our life will not always be quiet, but we can praise Him and know Him, even in the noise. He is faithfully working for our good and His glory. Stillness and quiet are a way we can retreat from the chaos of the world just to rest in His sovereignty; however, your quiet time doesn’t always have to be “quiet.”
Before I had my son I had ample opportunity to be quiet (although I didn’t always take advantage of this gift!) When we brought Nolan home from the hospital, quiet seemed to be non-existent. As he has grown and his bedtimes and awake times have changed, my quiet time has become “not-so-quiet" and not-so-alone (Read more about "my not-so-quiet time" here). But I have learned that even in the noise, He still speaks. No noise can overshadow His voice and truth that our hearts so desperately need!
2. MY QUIET TIME HAS TO FEEL GOOD.
I can remember a conversation with one of the dear college girls I used to mentor, and she mentioned to me that she had trouble reading in the Old Testament, mainly because it doesn't always feel good or make her feel encouraged for the day. I used to live in this same place. I was afraid to touch the Old Testament and mainly stayed in the books I felt comfortable in: Psalms and the Epistles. But what I have learned (and am continuing to learn) is that in order for us to understand the fullness of the glory of God and to truly embrace the depths of the gospel, we must be women who are in awe of all of God's Word. We cannot grasp God's extravagant grace without sitting first in a deep realization that apart from Him we are dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1-6). The cross would not be necessary if it were not for man's rebellion, God's wrath and justice, and His fierce, unrelenting love for His people. Some days it is good to sit in Leviticus, mulling over the law and how Christ fulfilled it all and set us free. It is good to weep with the prophets and to anticipate what will come in Revelation. ALL of Scripture is God-breathed, as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, and ALL of it is profitable to our lives.
Knowing all of Scripture and how Jesus is central to every verse changes the way we read the Word and live our lives. A quiet time won't always leave you with warm fuzzies, but it should instill in you a deeper love for God and a heart of praise for the gospel that has saved you.
3. MY QUIET TIME HAS TO BE PERFECT.
Perfection keeps many women from following Jesus wholeheartedly. I fear there has been a precedent set on social media for women to only have a quiet time with Jesus when the ambiance is just right, or when a cup of warm coffee is in hand. We can meet with Jesus right where we are each day—the carpool line, in the kitchen, in the office. A baby may be across your lap, toddlers may be running around your feet, a bus may be bustling with morning commuters, but Jesus is the same wherever you meet with Him (Hebrews 13:8). Your quiet time doesn't have to be "perfect." Only Jesus is perfect, and He calls you to come to Him ... just as you are, right where you are.
I say this often, but I believe it with all my heart: You will never leave hungry after spending time with Jesus. He is the Satisfier of your soul, your Shepherd who guides you, and your Savior who rescues and redeems you. Don't allow anything to keep you from doing the most important thing each day: drinking deeply from the Well of God's Word, and falling more in love with Jesus Christ.