This morning, Eliza crawled into bed with me. I had been scrolling through a news app or two on my phone after reading Desiring God’s daily Instagram post and You Version’s verse of the day.
After cuddling with me awhile, she asked if I was ready to get up. I asked her if she wanted me to and what she thought I ought to do once I did. As I expected, she most definitely wanted me to get up, but I didn’t expect her answer to my second question.
“You need to go have your ‘peaceful’ time.”
Slightly puzzled for a half second, I quickly realized she was acknowledging my current routine of having a “quiet” time in the morning. I smiled, thanking God that she has noticed that I am intentional to spend some time with God each day.
Somedays – some seasons – my “peaceful time” is anything but peaceful.
It is often desperate, distracted, and disingenuous. Sometimes – alright, a lot of times – it is interrupted. It is messy. It is unorganized. It has been non-existent.
The very reasons I need and crave this time alone with God can be the same excuses I find for not having it.
I know I am not alone. At my monthly gathering with my closest girlfriends, we nod in agreement with each other when we share similar prayer requests for intentionality in our pursuits of intimacy with God.
Busy schedules and full calendars lead to exhausted minds and overwhelmed spirits. Our bodies crave needed rest and the thought of setting the alarm just 10 minutes early seems to be too valuable a commodity that we just can’t bring ourselves to trade.
We long for the days where we could devote huge hunks of time to in-depth Bible study and lengthy, super-focused prayers. We remember how sweet our walks were with the Lord during those days where we attended Beth Moore studies and wrote page upon page in our prayer journals.
I have been guilty of feeling that those days were the standard, that IF I was to have a “quiet time” that was what God expected it to look like AND if it didn’t then I wasn’t living up to my share of my relationship with Him.
Can you relate?
I like predictability. I appreciate a plan. I need structure. I function by a schedule. I want to predictably set a plan with structure that fits into my schedule. And I try to do that with my quiet time only to become frustrated and feel defeated when it doesn’t work or last. Usually, with the foreknowledge that my expectations are unrealistic and won’t work, I have stopped trying . . .
As much as I want to read that book by Jen Wilken and the other one by Ruth Chou Simmons that I got for Christmas, I am VERY aware that it is now July and I haven’t cracked the cover of either one. I just haven’t found the space to squeeze either of them into my day-to-day. I asked for both with the best intentions and unwrapped them with sincere appreciation and excitement. Now, I glance at them sitting there I find myself feeling guilty.
Can you relate here too?
With my daughters at their ages now, with trials that have brought me to the place I am now, with the fact it is literally the summer season and I have “more” time now – God has shown me where His grace continues to intercept my needs.
He has striped back my expectations of a “quiet time” and of my role in my relationship with Him. He compassionately – without judgement, meets me where I am time and time and time and season upon season upon season again.
While I want to say that I will have a 30 minute Bible study every morning and blog three times every week, God appreciates my desire and my enthusiasm. However, if I were to make such commitments, He already knows how and when and where I will break them. I imagine him smiling, shaking His head and gently reminding me that He has only given me THIS day with just the right amount of manna to live it.
I am learning to trust Him to give me the daily bread from His word that I need when I need it. I don’t know what my quest for a quiet time might look like tomorrow, or when we go back-to-school next month, but I do know how and where I am going to seek Him and find Him today. If I can only devote 3 minutes to intentionally seeking Him, I trust His Spirit will meet me where I am.
It is for freedom that He has set us free – not to be shackled to feelings of guilt because Satan has told us that our time with Him is less than what it should be. If we are seeking Him with all our heart, His word tells us that He will be found. And, (This is the best part! I love the way our relationship with Christ works!) even and especially when we don’t FEEL like seeking Him, we can confess that and rest in the truth that He shows up in our weakest areas, meets us where we are AND He carries the lion’s share of the load.
Yes, today and this summer I am relishing my “quiet time” as being my “peaceful time.” I can take my time and I can process what I am studying. I can pray and I can tell I am growing.
Tomorrow, or the next season probably will not be so peaceful, but God’s grace will still be as sweet. He knows my heart and has weighed my motivations. He will be just as faithful then as He is now.
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