The height of my dedication to “quiet time” with God was during my early 20s.
I was a new Christian, so the depth of gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice was new and potent. I was involved in a vibrant and passionate young adults ministry, surrounded by brazen and bold Christian young men and women. I had very few responsibilities and ties. Basically, work, friends & Jesus, and my friends were all about Jesus.
We pushed each other to spend time daily in God’s Word. We met on Sunday nights for College Group. Tuesday nights for Accountability Group. Thursday Nights for Growth Group. Usually, Friday & Saturday nights just to hang out, but the conversations would usually move toward Jesus or philosophy or apologetics. Then, of course, Sunday morning was church.
Rinse & Repeat.
That was 15 years ago. Before my marriage. Before my kids. Before dirty dishes and preschool and Legos and diapers and the never ending loads of laundry. My day to day is overflowing with ties and responsibilities, and though I’m still surrounded by wonderful friends and family who dearly love Jesus, our conversations are usually about discipline strategies and financial strains, not solely spiritual matters.
I’ve long felt guilty for not spending time in God’s word daily. I actually do pretty well when I’m attending Bible Study Fellowship, but even then it’s not the same. It’s not the same as in my 20s, when my relationship with Jesus was fresh and new. When my mind was uncrowded by daily tasks. It was so easy to just open the Bible and me IN it. Now I feel like I spend half the time reading the same sentence over and over as I struggle to stop thinking over my to-do list.
It just seems this system is broken.
I’m tired of trying to fit habits of my past into my present. I’m tired of idolizing a relationship I had over a decade ago, and mourning the one I have today. Perhaps passion for Christ doesn’t look just one way. Perhaps it doesn’t always resemble the zeal and daily, hourly, digging in of my unfettered young adult years. Maybe I can still love and pursue Jesus WHILE I do my laundry and cook dinner and NOT FEEL CRAPPY ABOUT IT!
I’m training myself to have a different kind of “quiet time” with Jesus. At least in this season. The kind of quiet time that resembles the relationships I have now.
In my 20s, all my relationships included tons of face-to-face time. I saw my friends daily. I went to church several times per week. I had the time and freedom to be present, in person, to cultivate those relationships. And that’s how I spent time with Jesus. Daily. Face-to-face.
Now, my relationships are all via text. I get together with girlfriends once per month, if that. My husband and I go on dates once every couple weeks or so. Gone are the days of daily, face-to-face, unencumbered, distraction-free relationship cultivation. But I DO connect with them daily. In text message conversations. In passing comments and stolen moments.
My husband and I have grown closer and matured our relationship since having kids even though our time and energy has dropped significantly. We hug as we pass by. We whisper inside jokes. We text each other funny updates during the day.
And so, perhaps, it should be with Jesus.
A constant drip. In stolen moments and passing comments. Hourly checking-in rather than sitting and pondering for hours on end. And then once, every week or two, really sitting alone together to catch up. To breathe in His presence and reconnect, so the daily drip of communication is more potent and powerful than it would be otherwise.
I’m starting by setting a timer on my phone. It will go off hourly to remind me to worship my Lord. To dwell on an aspect of His character, to thank Him for something in the moment, to call out for help, just as I would when texting a friend compliments, thanks, or prayer requests. And then, purposefully scheduling as “Date with Jesus” once every week or two, where I just dig in, distraction-free to God’s word and sink into prayer.
So I’m giving up on daily quiet time. And I’m giving up on the guilt of trying to be 20 again. I think you should, too. What do you think?