day 22 + my quiet time
Only eight more days and I will have made it to day thirty of my 30 Day Challenge. What I love about this challenge is that it is developing a habit that I so desperately want and need in my life every day. This challenge is not a goal that I want to just check off my list or pat myself on the back for accomplishing thirty days of meeting with the Lord and then go on with my life. My morning devotional time is just becoming part of my day now. And it is my prayer that this habit doesn't end once I reach day thirty, but that it becomes a life long habit of making the Lord the priority of my days...every day.
How about you? For those of you who have joined me in this challenge, what have the past 22 days been like for you? Has it been a struggle to find a consistent, quiet time to meet with the Lord? What has God been teaching you?
What about my quiet time?
A few of you have asked me to share what my quiet time/devotional time looks like and some resources I use. I hesitate to share about my personal quiet time because everyone's time with the Lord will look different. I am a rule follower by nature (aka..."fun hater") and that even trickles down to my quiet time. I have struggled to find the "right" way to do my devotions all my Christian life...even though there really isn't such a thing. I don't want my devotion time to become a legalistic thing...making sure I meet with Him at a certain time, for a certain amount of time, in a certain place just to check it off my list and feel good about myself. I am meeting a Person, not a habit.
However, over the past year the Lord has used many different people and Bible studies to show me in His Word some really important things about a personal quiet time. It has been helpful for me to learn from these people and so I pray that instead of this looking like a list of rules, you would be encouraged as I share a little bit about what my own quiet time with the Lord usually looks like.
Like I told you before, I have really been challenged to start my days off with my devotions. I can't tell you how early to get up to have a meaningful time with the Lord in the mornings, but for me that has meant setting my alarm to get up before Levi wakes up. I have found that if I don't do this it is so much harder to find time during my day to quiet my heart once my little guy is running around, the phone starts ringing, and I am in the middle of my "to do" list for the day. There is definitely going to be a season in my life once Levi's little brother arrives that this might have to change or look a little different, but for now this is what is working for me.
There are two things that are crucial to my quiet time...God's Word and prayer. Someone once told me that when we are reading God's Word we are receiving from Him and when we pray we are responding back to Him. This really helped me see the correlation between reading the Bible and praying.
We become more like the people we spend time with. So that is my purpose of spending time each day with the Lord; to know Him and to become more like Him. I usually start my time with the Lord by just asking Him to speak to me and give me direction through His Word. A friend suggested that I read a Proverb a day. Proverbs is the book of wisdom and there is no doubt that as a woman and mom I need God's wisdom. And it is perfect that there are 31 chapters in Proverbs...so I just read one chapter a day. While I was doing BSF I was also reading through Isaiah, but this summer I have started reading through the Bible chronologically. This has been awesome! I am ashamed to admit that even after being a Christian for this long that I don't think I have ever read through the Bible. But it is never too late to start, right?? I am following this chronological plan. The Lord has been teaching me so many things and I love that I am getting a "bigger picture" of His Word. I have a journal that I write things that God is teaching me in, but I don't write in it everyday. I love keeping a journal though. It is so encouraging to look back and see what God has done in my life. I started writing in my journal pretty consistently after Cora died and it is amazing to look back at how He carried me through those dark, dark days.
When I pray I definitely struggle with my mind wondering, so it has been helpful to me to have somewhat of a "plan" as I pray. I take time to respond to the things God is teaching me through what I am reading in His Word (often that means confessing a lot of ugliness in my heart), lay my day and schedule before Him, and intercede for others. I really desire to be a wife who prays for her husband and a mom who prays for her kids. I have been using the book Prayers of an Excellent Wife by Andrew Case to guide me as I pray for Joel. This book has been so helpful in leading me to pray God's Word for my husband. It only takes a few minutes and I love it. I have also been using a monthly guide that I got from BSF to pray for my kids. There is a focus for each month along with verses to pray for your child. This has been really helpful to me too. I know many people divide prayer requests up by days of the week or use a prayer journal. Any of those methods would work great too!
So...that was way longer than I was planning it to be. I in no way think that I have my relationship with the Lord or my devotion time all figured out. I am constantly learning and growing. And often the Lord uses people just like you to guide me along the way. I read this in a book the other day:
I have found that it takes a firm commitment to make daily devotions consistent. However, I have often felt guilty if this time isn't as long as I think it should be or if I don't cover all the disciplines I think are important. It has taken years for me to realize that God doesn't love me because I have a quiet time--He just loves me! This knowledge alone has increased my desire to be with Him.
How important it is to come to our quiet time, not with the fear that God will punish us if we miss, but eager to meet Him--to learn, to grow and to find sweet fellowship with a Father who loves us far more than we could ever imagine.
-Sandy Smith from A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
How about you? What does your devotion time look like? Do you have any books or resources that have been helpful to you? I would love to know.
Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me.