Monday, November 7, 2016

5 Tips to a Stellar Quiet Time

Do you feel like life is going one hundred miles an hour and you just want to make. it. stop? Do you ever think to yourself "I just need a moment of silence?" I think that as women we all feel like this at some point or another during each day.

I found a long time ago that when I get up early - before anyone else in my house - and am able to sit in the stillness - in quiet - I feel much more refreshed when that first bundle of noise joy comes running down the stairs. When I make time for the quiet, His voice becomes louder and my circumstances, busyness and hectic days seem smaller. It's a centering for my soul, if you will.

Do you find time for quieting your soul? 

In reality, some of y'all can't get up any earlier than you do, right? You might have a baby who isn't sleeping through the night yet, so any extra minute of sleep you can get should be taken at it's fullest. Maybe you work a job that requires getting there before the sun rises. Just because you can't find stillness in the morning, doesn't mean you can't find it at all. But you do have to make it happen. Because stillness won't just happen, right?

I put together a few tips that I've found helpful in making the most out of my "quiet time". Remember, though, don't put this time in a box, so to speak. It doesn't have to look like A + B = C. It's however you feel led, however God speaks to you, not how He speaks to me. These are just a few things that help me feel settled in the morning.

1. Be Ready //

This is maybe what I struggle with the most. As I wait for my coffee to brew from the keurig, I tend to stumble around trying to find my Bible left in some other part of the house. I wander around from room to room in the darkness - because there's no way I'm turning bright lights on before my first sip of coffee - trying to find my supplies. I have certain inky pens that my kids husband are always stealing that I mark up my Bible with. I have certain highlighters - again, that get stolen - that I often can't find in the early morning hours. And before I know it, I've wasted 10 precious minutes just trying to get my rear in gear. So this is the most important, especially if you are super short on time. BE READY.

What are you going to read? Are you reading straight scripture or do you have a devotional? I go through seasons of reading books along with scripture, although right now I just started Ann Voskamp's devotional which seems to be a little hard for me to read with my groggy morning brain. If you are just starting and have very little time, I suggest Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It's super short but PACKED with Truth. I also like looking up the scriptures in my own Bible. There's just something about flipping those pages that gives great peace.

Answer this question : what gets you distracted during your time with the Lord? Is it your to-do list? Is it your laundry buzzing? Is it checking the time? Do whatever you need to do to stop getting distracted when you sit down so that your time with the Lord is well-spent.

2. Be Consistent //

Make this Quiet Time a part of your daily rhythm, trying to do it at the same time every day.  Is it first thing in the morning? Is it during your lunch break? Is it when you get home from work? Is it at Starbucks? Get into a routine. This will make it easier for you to accomplish daily and you will come to crave it, the more you do it.

Also, try to make it happen in the same place every day. For me, it's in my hot pink chair in my studio. I write here, I read here, I think best here. And since this is where I tend to spend time with God, it triggers reflection when I walk by and remember my time with the Lord that morning.

3. Go Deeper //

This is a new thing for me this year. I've always been a book first, scripture second gal. But this year I've been reading scripture through like a book (not the easiest or most fun thing) and then if there is a book on the subject, picking that up and reading it to affirm scripture - not the other way around.

When reading scripture, if you don't understand what you're reading, keep re-reading it until you get a grasp on it... scripture tells us we have the power to interpret scripture - it's the Holy Spirit. So when you get frustrated, ask him for help. Use footnotes in your bible or an online resource. I have found the Matthew Henry commentary to be super helpful when I get stuck. You can find it several places when you google it.

4. Pray //

My favorite thing to do - the best thing I've ever done - is to keep a prayer journal. Now that I am writing here, I am not as good about this as I should be. It's like I only have a certain amount of words for the day and they get used up as an offering right here. But my spiritual life changed when I started consistently keeping a prayer journal. Sometimes it would just have things listed out. Sometimes it would be deep cries from my heart. Sometimes it would be shallow and superficial. But they have become treasures to me. Praying for my kids, for my marriage, for our circumstances at the time, etc.

If you want to change your prayer life, start journaling. 

5. Reflect on Him during the day //

I feel like this has taken my quiet time to a new level. I try to reflect on whatever I read in the morning throughout the day. So, say that I didn't understand what I read - or I didn't feel like there was any application for me in my reading one morning. Throughout the day, I try to ask God to reveal to me a Truth from the passage. Teach me something new about Himself, about my sin, about my attitude, etc. And generally - when I am intentional about doing this - He does. Sometimes it might even be at the end of the day.

For example, when I read about Samson + Delilah. I didn't see any application in the story for my own life. I read it - as I have a million times before in Sunday School - and thought, "well he's dumb." And I left my quiet times for those few days sort of frustrated and feeling unsatisfied. Until the day when I read the last bit of Samson's story. He calls upon the Lord one last time to pass judgement on all of these people who were making a mockery of Him, and God answers and prophesy is fulfilled.

Later that day, as I watched election coverage, God pressed into my heart that sometimes He chooses to use unholy people (Samson) for holy purposes. Samson believed in God, yes, but he also didn't follow God's laws. He was a sinner - and honestly, from the scripture - didn't seem to care to change that. But God used him to carry out His holy plan. Do you see how that may be applicable to the election?

The bottom line is this. God has so many lessons to teach us from His Word, and when we take the time to sit with Him, get still and listen, He will guide us. He will open up the flood gates and teach us. I hope this is encouraging, not overwhelming!! You can find a time to do this, even on the busiest of days! Do you have any tips for getting it done? I'd love to hear!!

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