During an Advent study a few months ago, I was so convicted. I’ve been using the busy-ness of my days, my small children, and my interrupted nights as excuses to not carve out a daily quiet time. Over the past few years, I’d make attempts to have a quiet time during the kids’ nap time, but one of them wouldn’t sleep, or I’d get too caught up in my to-do list, or my mind would be too busy to focus… There were always excuses.
But my recent Advent study wouldn’t let me off the hook with my excuses anymore. Why wasn’t I making time with God a priority? Why was I giving my to-do list preference over quiet time? Why was I denying myself a close relationship with the Lord? The excuses will never end unless I end them.
So I decided in January that I would start setting my alarm in the morning and having quiet time before the day began, before anything or anyone else started demanding my time. I wanted to get back to the root of everything and read the Bible in its entirety. I’ve done more Christian book and Bible studies than I can count, and while they’re meaningful and often stick with me (hello, Advent study!), I’ve never read the whole Bible.
Here are the five key components I identified to make it work for me:
- Choosing a time
- Choosing a spot
- Choosing a Bible format
- Choosing a reading plan
- Choosing motivation/accountability
I’ll go over the first two today, and I’ll post about the last three next week. I hope this helps someone else struggling to carve out this time and space in their day!
Choose a Time
I realized my quiet time would need to be first thing in the morning. My routine now is to wake up to my alarm, literally roll out of bed, brush my teeth, grab a cup of coffee (set to brew before I wake up), and head to my quiet spot. My 4 year old knows that if he comes downstairs before 7:00 (which is most days, unfortunately), it’s my quiet time, and he needs to play quietly by himself. It works pretty well most days. And I think it’s good for him to see me regularly studying the Bible and praying.
First thing in the morning also works well for my personality. My mind hasn’t fully engaged yet, so I’m not focused on my to-do list, laundry, email, etc. I find it’s easier to focus, even if I have only been awake for 10 minutes. I’m a morning person, so I can totally see why that wouldn’t work for night owls. Just experiment with different times of day until you find something that works for you. It’s worth it – I promise!
Choose a Spot
I think there are several characteristics that determine a good quiet time spot…
- You don’t sit there often during the day, so your mind will know to focus on God when you do sit there
- There aren’t distractions nearby (no laptop, toy-strewn room to look at, mail pile, etc. close by)
- You can leave your Bible, reading plan, and journal laid out (or nearby) so it’s ready to go when you are
- It’s comfortable but not too comfortable (I don’t want to fall back asleep!)
I decided to sit at the far end of my dining room table. It’s tucked up against the wall of the dining room, and we only use that area every few months. It’s working great!
Plus, I get to enjoy looking at my Easter decorations a little more than usual!
Next week, I’ll go over the last three components: choosing a Bible format, choosing a reading plan, and choosing motivation/accountability. Stay tuned and let me know your thoughts!