On Sunday, I was running late for church and was beyond tired. I threw on one of the two nice (but comfortable…KEY WORD: COMFORTABLE) shirts that I own, realized I had put it on backwards, said “no worries, I’ll just turn it around later.”
Later never came, friends. My laziness and poor memory due to stress had led me to have this moment of panic in in the middle of worship that my shirt was on backwards. Marlie, what’s the big deal? I doubt anyone noticed!! Well, see, my shirt has a pocket on it. and a scoop neck. So, my pocket was in the back. DEFINITELY NOTICEABLE.
All this to say, I forget stuff. For the longest time, I struggled with my relationship with God because I went these long periods of time neglecting to spend any time with my Creator. So, I forgot. I forgot that God had plans for me, I forgot my worth in Christ, and I forgot that He wants a relationship with me. None of this happened over night, much like relationships with people rarely end in a day, it took months.
And I firmly believe it’s because I neglected to have any quiet time with the Lord. I kept telling myself I’d pray more, read the Bible more, I’d turn my life around later. Well I forgot to turn it around much like i forgot to turn my shirt around and 6 months later I panicked. Had anyone noticed? It took me long enough to notice and when I did, I took a long look at my life. Why the drift? Let me explain my theory.
From the moment you wake up, to the moment you fall asleep the world has a million things to tell you. Nay, SCREAM AT YOU. We’ve become so accustomed to the noise, it’s become this dull roar of “You are your own master.” (Side story, in my classroom, I overheard a kiddo looking himself in the mirror and saying ‘I am my own master. I am my own master.’) The world tells you money will satisfy, sex will satisfy, traveling the world will satisfy, etc. etc. etc.
Christian, among all these lies, are you setting aside time to remind yourself of the truth? I didn’t. My bible collected dust on the shelf for YEARS. Years and years of me being a Christian and I never spent time to read God’s word on my own. I kept waiting for some silver bullet, some quick fix, to come and change my my relationship with God. I had all the heart and emotions for God, after a conference or a worship service. Then, Monday came and the dull roar of the world convinced me of so many lies.
Paul talks about this in Ephesians 4: 13-14 (NLT)
This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
You’re telling me in a world without social media, the internet, and fashion magazines, that the early Church still struggled with being influenced by lies so clever they sound like truth? YOU BET. The enemy is crafty and he’ll use any thing he can get his hands on.
Maturity in Christ takes faith AND knowledge. Tired of getting tossed by the wind? Or as my pastor says “Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?”
Well, there’s a Creator in Heaven who is SO READY to reveal who HE is and His plan for your life. Since February, I have spent almost every day in the Word. And I can not tell you how beautiful, simple and challenging it is. My Christian friends always said “Marlie, are you in the Word? Are you praying? How are your quiet times?” And i always just shrugged and said meh. But after a conference in February, I had a pow-wow with God. I gave up youtube because it was a time sucker. and realized how much time I had in the morning when I wasn’t watching 20 minute videos of strangers’ vlogs. I had to remind myself everyday the truth that God loves me, God has a plan for my life and that God is good. Because that dull roar of the world can really get to you.
Don’t let the enemy Shame you. he’ll use guilt and shame to create this legalistic system that I followed. “Oh, I forgot to be in the word for this whole week, so I probably shouldn’t even try next week.” Foolishness. God’s not a sunday school teacher taking attendance on a board every morning you get up and have a quiet time. He’s a loving father, sitting down at the kitchen table ready to talk with His kiddo. You.
As someone who never had a quiet time, now to having one daily, there’s some stuff I learned I had to do in order to make it work. So here’s what worked for me and maybe it’ll help you out.
1) Set a designated spot.
Keep a journal, a bible and pen there at all times. I won this huge study bible at the conference in February and it’s too big to carry around to church, so I keep it on my desk right next to my bed and it hasn’t left that spot.
2) set a time. (Preferably: morning)
I like to get up, get ready and then do my quiet time. That way I have breakfast and coffee already in my system and I don’t have to worry about what i’m wearing etc. I tried it at night and God surely isn’t limited by our time tables, but there was juts something special about starting the day with God in prayer and just giving him the first part of my day. If you find you don’t have time in the morning, examine your morning. Are you getting up early enough? Are you scrolling through Instagram, or your facebook feed for 45 minutes? Pray for the faith to trust that 30 minutes with God is better than 30 minutes scrolling through facebook, or 30 extra minutes of sleep.
3) Keep the phone out.
If getting up is a problem, set your phone on the other side of the room, or even on top of your bible. During your quiet time, keep it on silent and away from you.
4) have a plan and stick to it!
Whenever I did open my bible, I would usually just flip through it and just land on a page and skim whatever I read. As a type B, go with the flow person, I hate plans and agendas and especially daily reading plans. SO, I MADE MY OWN. I started just picking a book in the Bible and saying “I’ll read this, study it as long as it takes to get through.” Since February, I’ve read through Isaiah and Ephesians and I’m starting Nehemiah now. There’s the freedom to go at your own pace, yet you still have structure in that you know where you’ll be in the word every day.
Again, we are prone to forget. The world shouts, not to mention our flesh shouts at us.
Take the time to listen to the Whisper of God and let Him tune your heart and grow roots of faith and knowledge in your soul.