So…I have attempted to write this blog 6 times, I think. Five of those attempts have ended in crumpled or ripped up papers. Why? Is it that hard to explain quiet time? Is it really so complicated that I can’t even explain it? No. It is actually really simple & is like breathing to me, which is why I can’t explain it. It is hard to break down what comes naturally to us. It is like explaining how to walk. One foot in front of the other – what else is there to explain?! Quiet time isn’t difficult at all, but it is very distinct to the person doing it & different to everyone.
It is hard to speak to what everyone’s quiet time is without speaking for everyone. I only know my quiet time & growing up what my mom’s looked like. I have never even seen my dad do a “quiet time” & he is a pastor (gasp!), so I can’t give you a list of all the things a quiet time needs to be. But I can tell you what quiet time is not. It is not a system of rules & check-off lists. It is not something that can only be done one way. If you’re a parent, it is usually not “quiet” at all (as demonstrated here in in this Instagram post). It is not something that can be done right or wrong.
When someone says “quiet time,” usually what they mean is time spent God where they are quiet. The environment around them may not be quiet, but they are. The most important thing is that they are focused on God; that can be done in a lot of ways. It can be done first thing in the morning, in the afternoon before the kids get home, or at night after the kids go to bed. Quiet time can be done in your bed, at a dining room table or in your favorite chair, on the front porch, in the woods, or at a coffee shop. It can be done by candlelight, sunlight, or lamp light. It can be reading & studying your Bible, listening to praise & worship music, in the quiet of a walk through the woods praying.
Do you see why it is hard to nail down quiet time? It is so many things to so many people & everyone’s quiet time looks different. So now you can go & do yours because you know you can do anything. Good luck!
If you’re anything like me, you are probably more confused now then when you started reading because now not only are you overwhelmed with the “how,” but are completely drowning in options. That’s how I would feel if I read the above & that was it. But that is exactly what has happened to many people when they ask this question. They are left with an endless array of options or given a list of everything they must have in order to “do quiet time right”: first light but before the sun comes up, facing east, with a 3″ candle placed in the middle of your space in complete darkness, while standing on your head with a Bible in one hand & freshly ground & brewed coffee & creamer from the quiet time republic of San Torino.
Got that? Me neither. So in an effort to dispel myths about quiet time, I asked each of the HFL women what their quiet time looks like:
Erika: “Ideally, it’s early in the morning, 6:30-7am, hopefully longer from time to time, praying and reading. Other times, it’s a late evening at a Starbucks where I read, people watch, and daydream.”
Keisha: “Currently I am doing a Lent devotional with my church. Typically late morning or early afternoon. There’s not really a set time, just a portion of the day. Silent. I’m not much of a music person. I read, but I don’t journal. Normally I pray silently even if I’m alone. Praying out loud is rare for me unless I’m with a group.”
Jessica: “It varies based on ME. I have to change things up, even if it’s a great method, just to keep myself engaged. When I switch routines – stop writing my prayers and instead walk in the woods to pray, or read through a book of the Bible on my own rather than doing a pre-written bible study – my mind can’t get lazy. I don’t fall into the trap of routine. I see it as heart engagement versus head engagement. Sometimes in the middle of hard-core study – for a sermon, for example – God will whisper something profound into my spirit and bring me to my knees. I was engaging my head but He grabbed hold of my heart. And sometimes I’ll be Bible journaling – engaging my heart– and my brain will latch on to an idea that I just HAVE to dig deeper into.”
For me [Marissa], it has changed based on my season of life, but it usually involves some pretty in-depth studying. Currently, I wake up an hour[ish] before my kids come down stairs & do what Jessica called “hard-core” Bible study – I have books & papers & multiple Bible translations spread all over the place. Sometimes I can tough through the noise of my kids coming downstairs & find a good stopping point, but sometimes I can’t & just have to stop. Other days, I wake up late & all I have time for is a quick devotional & prayer, so I’ll do the Bible study portion later in the day during nap time. I love to do my quiet time on our front porch (which is where #frontporchtruths came from) on the swing, but during the winter & our current pollen season, I don’t. Some days, especially when I can swing outside, I love just listening to music & praying. I am so moved by music & words; that is a soul-satisfying way for me to sit & be quiet with my Father.
My mom used to wake up at 5am & just sit in her favorite spot on the couch & read for a while. No commentaries, no coffee, just God’s word. That is how she was fed & got personal with her Savior.
So you see? Quiet time is your time with God. Your time to sit & be quiet & just get to know Him & listen for His voice because it is in the quiet that we hear His voice, not the noise of the world. In the end, that is what quiet time is really all about.