Monday, July 11, 2011

coming to terms

For the past year or so, I have really been struggling with the idea of "quiet time" in my ever-changing life. As life changes, my routine changes. I get thrown off quite easily when my routine begins to slip, slip, slide away. At one point in my college career, I was up daily at 6am to read and study through Isaiah. I would read a chapter, two or three commentaries on the chapter, and journal. I was spending at least an hour every morning in study, meditation, and prayer. It was awesome.

But, that isn't my life now. I'm doing well if I even squeeze in ten minutes of sit-down-and-read time. It's taken me a very long time to let go of my idea of "quiet time." I put this expectation on myself that I was supposed to spend X number of minutes in this, that, and the other in order to meet my daily requirement of time with Jesus. I've tinkered with all sorts of ratios - ten minutes prayer, ten minutes reading, five minutes scripture memory - five minutes prayer, fifteen minutes reading, five minutes journaling - read a book of the Bible and journal - pray and journal - you name it, I have tried to make it work.

There is no magic formula. There are no "Steps to a Perfect Quiet Time" or easy-to-calculate formulas of how to get everything in under thirty minutes. The truth of the matter is that Jesus wants me 1,440 minutes of the day. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Yes, I need time to sit still and listen. Yes, I need to read the Word and meditate. Yes, I need to pray constantly (not regularly... constantly). Yes, I need to have me-and-Jesus time. But it doesn't have to look a certain way for the rest of my life.

Feeling guilty about what I am not doing is only holding me back from the time I could be spending one-on-one with my Savior. What I have found that works best is to first listen to Him. Don't come with an agenda, come with an open heart. Come intentionally, but be flexible. Some days it's prayers. Some days it's reciting verses. Some days it's studying a passage. Sometimes there is structure, sometimes the Holy Spirit just takes over. And some days, it doesn't happen at all. Some days, it happens in my car or while running errands or in song or a Scripture or a conversation with a friend.

That's what it looks like for me these days. I look forward to the time when my life has a tad bit more routine. But, my "quiet time" isn't the only time I can spend with Jesus. I have His ear all day long.

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