I’ve been a Christian for a long time. However, I’ve always struggled with maintaining a consistent “quiet time” – i.e., a personal, daily time spent with the Lord via the Scriptures and prayer. I do reasonably well with other areas of discipleship – regularly meeting in worship with fellow believers, serving the church, encouraging others – and I’ve even arranged my kids’ schedules to help them incorporate daily quiet time as a normative practice. But, still, the habit often eludes me.
Part of my struggle is surely latent perfectionism, a weed that sprouts up randomly in my various endeavors despite my ongoing efforts to root it out. Thus, I wrestle with the demon that says, “If you can’t spend three hours a day, don’t even bother starting,” or, “You’re just reading a few verses and praying? You’re not studying whole chapters in the original Greek? Pfft.”
Of course, some of my inconsistency has stemmed from genuine busy-ness doing good things. Before my kids were born, I was a classroom teacher, and I spent most of my free time every year modifying material to try meeting my students’ varied individual needs. Then when I became a full-time mom and my Irish-Twin girls were babies, my hands were very, very full. As they grew into toddlerhood, I began doing in-home childcare to supplement our income, so I regularly juggled the needs of half a dozen under-fives all day long. And then I started homeschooling, which has understandably required a great deal of time and effort.
But if truth be told, a big component of my struggle has simply been a failure to properly prioritize what’s most important. Even in my busiest seasons, I really have had enough time to quiet myself before God a little while each day. But, instead, I’ve too often chosen mornings with a dose of Matt Lauer or Fox & Friends, my kids’ afternoon rest time with Dr. Phil, and evenings with my Facebook friends.
If you’re like me, you take advantage of annual events and seasonal transitions to attempt change. So I’ve tried again since my family’s July vacation to get this quiet time thing on track. My girls are old enough to get breakfast themselves, so I’ve consciously chosen to use that time for God. I’ve consciously chosen to leave the TV and computer off until after I’ve prioritized time with Him. And I’ve consciously chosen to shoo away the pesky buzzing of Perfectionism, who tries to convince me that my “measly” thirty minutes “isn’t enough.” It’s a work in progress, but it’s working.
Do you struggle with me in this? If so, why not use this upcoming “back to school season” which – though often hectic – is a natural transitional time you might leverage to your advantage. First, decide which time-waster needs pruning. Then push Perfectionism to the curb and just start – even if it’s “just” a few verses and a brief devotional. Meeting our kids’ needs and serving others matters deeply, but we want to be authentic models of spiritual growth for our children, and we need daily bread to keep doing good works. Making daily time for God is what we need most of all. Are you with me in trying again to become consistent?
Photo Credit: Amancay Maahs