Let me be the first to admit that having a daily quiet time in this season of life feels nearly impossible some days. Let me also be the first to say it's never been more essential.
A "quiet time" is a Christian colloquialism that may not make much sense to people who haven't grown up in the church. Essentially, it's a time set aside each day to be still before the Lord, to read the Bible, to pray, and to ask God to quiet your heart enough to hear Him speak. I guess I'd prefer to call them "devotions" as "quiet times" with a toddler around are not always quiet.
These times aren't always life changing in big ways. Reading my Bible doesn't always bring me to tears or reveal huge and enlightening truths that I've never pondered before. Some days, opening my Bible is simply an act of obedience, as my affections for God feel weak.
But when I miss them, I miss what God has chosen to teach me that day. I miss the encouragement and the joy that comes from being close to my Creator. And I feel it. I feel it deep down in my bones. My patience with Liam runs thin, and my patience with myself runs thinner. I get so overwhelmed by another email, another spill, another load of laundry, another purse to sew. There's little room for gratitude and plenty of room for comparison and exhaustion. Just as eating gives life to my body, reading God's Word gives life to my soul.
Recently, it's felt most practical to open my Bible as soon as I open my eyes, and to focus on a short passage that I dwell on throughout the day. A few weeks ago, this one jumped off the page (from Psalm 119):
Don't you need this, too? For Him to turn your eyes from what is worthless (vain, empty, void) and give you life walking in His Ways? I do. Every day, I do.
B&H Publishing recently gave me a copy of their new study Bible for women, and I am so thankful for it. (If you're a blogger, you can even request a review copy for yourself.) The study notes are so helpful for new believers and seasoned believers alike, and they don't shy away from delving into controversial topics or mining the depths of theologically rich passages. It's not a women's study Bible that adds a lot of fluff between the pages.
So maybe you've never done devotions on your own and you're wondering where to begin? Here are a few thoughts...
Do it daily. I read somewhere that it takes two weeks to form a habit (and perhaps two weeks to break one, if I remember correctly). Purpose to sit down at the same time, in the same place for two weeks and open God's Word. Pray He reveals truth to you as you read. It will change your life.
Set the tone. Have everything set up and ready to go. For me, it's a Bible, sometimes a journal, a devotional book (I actually love reading Liam's devotional book ), and a pen. If I'm alone in the house or Liam is asleep, it also includes something hot to drink, a candle, and some worship music. Right now, I'm loving Sovereign Grace Music, Phil Wickham, Rend Collective Experiment, or All Sons & Daughters. And if I'm really dreaming in color, my living room is clean. I'm not distracted by books scattered on the floor or a half empty bottle between the couch cushions.
Become part of a Bible study, or start one of your own. This past year, I was involved in a weekly women's Bible study at my church and it helped keep me accountable to studying the Bible each day, keep me close to other Christian women my age, and it was just encouraging to talk about the Lord with others who love Him, too. Highly recommend.