Thursday, April 15, 2010

Quiet Time

I'm somewhere between hopes and reality, knowing I need to stop at the nearby gym to cancel my membership. My intentions were genuine, my hopes and plans sincere, and I even put some money where my motives were, but I still failed to make it happen. Since we want to be good stewards of what God gives us, I know I'm not exercising faithfully enough to make the investment worthwhile. It doesn't mean I'll just sit on the couch with a Family size bag of Ruffles (LOVE me some Ruffles) without being active or caring about my health ... but I will have to take a different approach. Time to regroup & walk more around my neighborhood.

But lest you think I'm going to camp on thoughts of exercise today (not my favorite topic), I'm not. Instead, I want to consider how much my saga sounds like ... having devotions.

If we're honest, having a quiet time starts with genuine intentions, great hopes and plans, and maybe some investment of finances. Our flesh starts to get in the way, though, and somewhere between hopes and reality, we fail and find it so hard to try again.

Last night I met with a group of about 10 women to talk about Strengthening our Quiet Time. It was a follow up to a workshop I did in March, and we started last night by brainstorming a list of our top "Quiet Time Busters." Here's what we agreed on that most often sabotages our best intentions:

  • time management
  • stress/job concerns
  • sleep
  • guilt
  • children
  • husbands (we extended this to other relationships, too)
  • knowing where to start
  • reasonable expectations
  • computer time
  • distractions
Though Satan can't know our thoughts, he can watch and hear us, and uses information about us to target weak spots in us to ruin our attempts to know and walk with God. If you read the list, you'll see good things that can be twisted to become negative, and you'll see things that reflect a lack of order and peace.
"Quiet Time" is undistracted time when we seek God through His Word, talk to and listen to Him in prayer, and nurture our relationship to Him. It involves His truth, prayer, and relationship.

We spent about an hour working through James 1:1-8 using the OMAP approach to studying scripture, and we talked about practical ideas to make quiet time meaningful and manageable. You can check out the 4 part OMAP devo approach starting here. It was our "Simple Summer Plan" last May. It has been a helpful plan for me many times. Even in our short time together last night, we uncovered rich and simple truths for our lives that I USED TODAY. I was so glad I had been in the Word.

So how's your Quiet Time going? Check tomorrow for more encouragement about how to spend time with God that will make a difference, not just check a box on our "good Christian" to do list. Still not sure God's Word really helps? Let me leave you with a few thoughts from Psalm 119:

Psalm 119:160, 162

The sum of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

I rejoice at Your word,
As one who finds great spoil. (Another word for spoil is "treasure.")

I know I need some truth and some treasure in every day of my life, and God's Word is where I can find it. Look here at verses 25, 37, and 107 that all speak of the desire to be "revived," meaning to be alive, to be sustained, and to be revived from sickness and discouragement and faintness. Hey, I needed that TODAY! Do you?

The sad thing is that we get access to this revival for FREE, and we can access the benefits with the greatest of convenience ... at home, in bed, at a cafe, on our porch, in our car ... you name it, and access to the reviving power of God's Word is always offered to us, but we still don't use it consistently. Now there's no need to call and cancel. If you feel defeated, God is waiting for you, tomorrow is a new day, and your membership is still good. This is the best thing we can do for our hearts. And after you spend some quiet time with the Lord, I hope you have a nice walk. ;)

4 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Kristi Stephens said...

Such encouraging words, Julie. It seems like this area can so quickly become defeating and guilt-laden for people rather than the source of strength and delight it should be!

Thanks for encouraging us - your series last summer helped me take the plunge into morning quiet times which have been beneficial and so much more consistent than trying to squeeze it in during a hectic day! :)

Chaos Cottage said...

I'm a starter and a poor finisher. Quiet time and exercise are two areas in my life that I do a poor job with. I'm much better with my quiet time than I used to be but my exercise, er, lack of exercise, needs to become a priority.


Theresa said...

What a timely topic for me as I'm striving to have more consistent morning quiet times. I wish I could have met with you and your friends. :)

Mrs. Gertha said...

Very encouraging! I needed that. Thank you for following:-)!!!! Great to meet you as well. I'm having sooo much fun at the UBP!!