I'm boycotting "quiet times." You know, that thing that Christians are supposed to do. When you sit down with a Bible and read and pray. This is supposed to be about developing my personal relationship with the Lord, but that's not what it has become. It's become a test. Have you done it? What did you read? Check and check, let's move on to the other things on my list.
I have my idea of a perfect quiet time. I would spend some time praying and worshipping, then moving on to reading the Word. Of course, I would devote several pages in my journal for meditations, and I might even pick a verse to start memorizing. It takes time! At least an hour....and I don't have an hour.
What?!? Everybody has an hour! No, really, I don't. You see, I have five kids. Two of which don't take naps, and the other three don't always sleep at the same time as each other. When am I supposed to find this hour of "quiet." Well, it doesn't have to be quiet, you suggest. Ahem. Have you ever been in the same house as my kids? I love them, but they're loud, they make messes, and they fight a lot. Intentionally leaving them alone for an hour so I can focus on something else is not usually a good idea. They're awfully close to twenty minutes of quietly reading their own Bibles, but pretty soon I'll have to start training Roselyn to do that, and then it won't be about me and God, any more.
And if I can't have my quiet time the way that I want it. The way that I did it back in college when I was single and had lots of blocks of free time. Well, then, I just don't see the point in doing it at all. And I tend to believe that this is where most people who struggle with consistency tend to fall. If I can't do it "right" I just won't do anything. (great plan)
So, what's it all about, anyways? It's not about checking something off of my list. It's not about how much time I do it. It's not even about reading the Bible. What is it all about? It's about connecting with the Lord. 2 Peter 3:18 encourages us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Get to know Christ. Now we do that through prayer and the Word, but prayer and Bible reading is not the end goal. The idea is getting to know Christ so I can become more like Him (Phil 3:10) And that just brings it up to a whole other level.
I was thinking about what people did before they had Bibles. The printing press was inventing in like the 1500's and even after that not everyone could read. Surely people were still growing in their knowledge of Christ without a Bible in their homes. And what about countries where there isn't a Bible in their language, or it's illegal to own one. What do those people do? What would I do to connect with the Lord if my right to a Bible was taken away from me?
And I was thinking about what my other relationships look like. Good girlfriends, former roommates, current mom friends, my husband. How do I connect with them? I don't spend an hour a day on any of those relationships. What sorts of hints could I glean from them to apply to my relationship with Christ? I thought primarily of the concept of "couch time" that time of day after Daddy comes home, the fifteen minutes that are spent catching up and chatting before continuing on. I thought about our dates where we go out together- sometimes for serious discussions, and other times just for the fun of being together. It could look like that would God!
Living life with God is first about recognizing Him and acknowledging Him. This could be a five minute prayer as I get dressed (because we all know moms don't get in the shower every day!) or even spending a couple of minutes looking over a verse as the coffee percolates. I can have Christian radio playing in my home. I can talk about Him with my kids (Deut 6:4-9). Couch time is ten or fifteen minutes reconnecting with Him. It could be something as simple as taking a walk down to the mail box and purposing to lift up a prayer while I do it. I could brew a cup of tea after the kids are in bed and just meditate while I sip it in the semi-quiet. And date nights- getting away for a couple of hours to restore a connection getting lost in daily life. I could spend my time on deeper thoughts or Bible study. I could go to the bookstore and listen to the latest worship cd. I could go take a nap in the park :)
It's also about avoiding distractions. The lure of facebook, the mindless novel, even cleaning can become a distraction. It's also important to remember that other people's relationship's look different. It's the same God, yet He relates to me differently than He does to my friends.
So, I'm giving up quiet times. Instead, I choose to have a vibrant relationship with my Lord that lives outside of a one hour box. I purpose to live my life so that each and every day is about true intimacy with Jesus. I want to be friends with Him. And the next step is to teach that to my children.