Stuck in the Routine of Daily Quiet Times?
Following Jesus requires discipline.
We all know this and we all have more victorious seasons than others. However, when we decide to follow Jesus with everything in our being we also often lean towards the legalistic bent of that calling upon our lives. This especially takes place in the personal pursuit of deepening our relationship with Jesus – specifically in the famous area we term as “quiet time.”
For many of us, “quiet times” were a normal part of (and hopefully still are) our Christian lives. But we may never have asked: Where does that even come from? You can easily see that Jesus exhibits a life of spending “quiet time” with the Father (Mk 1:35; Lk 5:16), but that was not the sole way of growing closer to the Father. You will not find one Scripture reference that states, “In order to draw closer to God, you must spend 30 minutes every day in the Word, prayer, and journaling!” Now, that does not mean personal time with the Lord does not need to be 30 minutes in the Word, prayer, and journaling, but oftentimes we walk through dry times with the Lord because we don’t know what else to do!
Unfortunately, for many of us, the “quiet time” has become our god rather than fixing our eyes on the true Savior.
In other words, we feel guilty when we don’t measure up to the so-called perfect “quiet time” or meet the expectations of what we define as a great “quiet time.” One of the best ways to grow closer to anyone is to spend one-on-one time with them without any distractions. The same is true with our Lord. However, I would like to suggest that the Father has a deep desire for us to see Him in different ways and to draw us closer to Himself apart from only having the same 30-minute Word and prayer time every day.
I have come across many women who get disillusioned with their time with the Father – it is dry, lifeless, or even like a chore. What if you were to do the same activity with your best friend, boyfriend, husband, or children every day for many weeks, months, or years the same way, same time, and same routine? Would you not get bored? Would they not get bored? How are you to know them in a deeper way if all you do is sit and listen, but never get to see them move, do life, or witness their strengths?
It is not all that different with the relationship we have with the Lord. It is wonderful if you can have a 30-minute quiet time every day and that is the best way the Lord can speak to you and draw you to Himself. However, it is also okay that you do not have a set routine every single day. Why? We serve a God who created the entire planet in less than a week. We serve a God who brings vivid colors to our eyes, heavenly (or not so heavenly) smells to our nostrils, fashions our bodies all in unique ways (billions of different bodies!), molds us to have certain likes and dislikes so that we are not the same, and I could go on!
What makes us think then that we are limited in growing closer to Him only by the same 15-30-minute quiet times?
Hear me for what I am saying: a “quiet time” is necessary to grow close to Jesus, but it does not have to be done in a legalistic way! A “quiet time” is a great foundation, but other ways of spending time with Jesus can provide such joy in our walks that there is hardly any room to excuse for boredom! No, our relationship with Jesus is not about us, but He has told us in John 15:11, the conclusion of commanding His disciples to abide in Him, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” Jesus wants us to be close to Him, abide in Him for what purpose? So that His joy may be in us, and that our joy may be full!
Sometimes our joy is made full by talking, walking, and living with Jesus apart from the normal routine. There can be a departure from the normal routine without being spiritually undisciplined. Your relationship with Jesus is vital to life and godliness, and it is not about you. However, learning to enjoy your relationship with Jesus means praying and seeking ways in which you can meaningfully spend time with your Savior. Remain in the discipline of reading the Word, meditating on it, and developing your prayer life. But what are some ways in which you know that time with Jesus is refreshing to your spirit and heart?
Perhaps you grow closer to the Lord after spending quiet time in nature. Perhaps you grow closer after singing some worship songs with your guitar in your room for a while. Perhaps you grow closer to the Lord after listening to a podcast. Perhaps you grow closer to the Lord simply by being quiet and meditating on Scripture. Perhaps you grow closer to the Lord by spending time in prayer. Even better – our relationship with the Lord is enriched by a combination of all of these things! We often get stuck on the checklist and forget the joy in walking with Jesus on a daily basis.
My challenge to you is to find a way in which you can deepen your relationship with the Lord that does not include a “typical” quiet time every single day. How can you avoid disillusionment in your time with Jesus? How do you best draw closer to the Lord? What can change in your routine right now that will help refresh your personal time with the Lord?
There will always be dry times, but that is when we persevere and remember His faithfulness. If you are disillusioned with your time with Jesus, start afresh, get creative, and pray for God to reveal Himself in ways you weren’t expecting. Then, sit back and enjoy Him. Rejoice in the Lord…always!