Anyone who's ever made a major life change knows that it happens one small step at a time.
Eating better, drinking more water, exercising regularly, handling money more responsibly, getting more sleep, spending time daily with God. All of these goals are hard to achieve, requiring big adjustments to my everyday lifestyle, but those big adjustments never seem to stick.
Small changes, baby steps, are a lot easier to implement and a lot easier to maintain.
You take one baby step, and you do it every day until it's natural. Then you take another baby step toward your goal. All forward progress is progress, no matter how small it may seem.
When I first started incorporating quiet time into my mornings, I was diligent about doing it every day.
My kids are 5 and 2, and I have to find ways to make quiet time work when they are awake (and often harassing me) because I work from 4pm to midnight, and I just can't manage to get up early enough to have quiet time before they wake up in the morning; they always wake up before me.
Recently, it hasn't been going as well as I want.
This past week, I only managed one day. The days when I didn't have quiet time were harried and frantic, and I felt pulled in a hundred directions while I accomplished absolutely nothing.
Quiet time makes such a difference. I can't overestimate the difference those twenty to thirty minutes of peaceful time make in my day.
I've had a few emails asking me just how I have this quiet time, so I thought I'd share that below.
What To Do During Your Quiet Time with God
Quiet time, for me, happens during breakfast, so I set my materials out before I grab my food. Once I'm seated at the table, here's my plan:
- Pray - This is simple, asking God to fill me with the Spirit and to open my mind and heart to the message He has for me. I don't journal this.
- Search the Word - Find any scripture that comes up for me during prayer or has been on my mind. (This doesn't always happen.)
- Open up my current Bible study - If nothing distracts me, I open up to where I've left off in Breaking Free. It is full of scripture - references literally in every paragraph. I look up every reference, reading the verses before and after and the footnotes in my Study Bible. Sometimes, I open up the YouVersion Bible app on my phone and read the passage in several different versions. I record any verses that pierce me in my journal. I go back and forth between the Bible study book and the Bible until I am satiated, until my brain and heart can hold no more. Most of the time, this is not a complete lesson. I just do what I can and pick up the next day where I left off.
- Ruminate - Then I do nothing. For as long as I can (because my kids are right there and often wanting my attention), I meditate on whatever has impacted me from my reading.
- Pray - This is the prayer I write in my journal. I record any scriptures God has impressed upon my heart. I record my gratitude, my interpretation, my requests, whatever comes. This is almost like a free write. I just write what my heart tells me to write.
I rarely get a full half hour, so sometimes I stop in the middle and have to come back later. It works. As I said in a previous post, it's the beginning of a conversation, so as long as I get to step 3, the dialogue is open. I can get a snack, squash a squabble, play Barbies, read a book, or whatever else my kids need me to do while I ruminate on His Word. It percolates and rattles around in my little brain.
What I don't get to every day is the written prayer. I wish I could, but I don't.
This is a season of my life; I think He understands.
Everyone's quiet time is different.
How other moms manage quiet time:
- Heather from GodCenteredMom.com uses a 3 question approach: "What does God's Word say? What does God's Word mean? What does God's Word mean to me?" (This site is no longer available, but the questions are still a good place to start for your quiet time.)
- Amy from MomsToolbox.com uses the SOAP method: Scripture, Observations, Application, Prayer. I also use this method in my Grateful Heart Bible study.
- Susannah at Doorposts.com illustrates the verses in her Bible, right in the pages of the Bible itself. I have done this as well and really enjoyed it.
- Katie Orr and Lara Williams wrote an ebook called Savoring Living Water: How to Have an Effective Quiet Time. I have it, and it's helpful.
- Jen Hatmaker, one of my favorite Christian writers ever wrote a mom's devotional called Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load, and she makes it easy to do a quick and easy Bible study based on the experiences of a very real and very authentic young mom.
I share all of this so that you will see that you can have a productive and fulfilling quiet time with God even if you have little children. It may look different now, but it is no less meaningful. And, you can be delighted in the fact that your kids are seeing you in the Word and in prayer daily. The power of that model can't be overstated.