Saturday, October 18, 2008

Simple Saturdays: Simplifying our quiet time

I've had a love-hate relationship with quiet times over the years. I can definitely tell when I've gone without one for awhile but I also rarely have had what I called "the perfect quiet time". You know the kind, those that are set forth in books and magazine articles and usually have some kind of ABC formula involved.

In recent months, I've come to make peace with my expectations. Hmmm... it only took how many decades? Perhaps it is because I decided I would benefit more by sitting at the feet of Jesus each morning rather than follow some prearranged formula brought about by reading what other people expect from me.

In other words... I truly have simplified my quiet times.

I now wake up at least an hour before either of the guys have to be awake (which right now can be quite late since rarely do either have to be anywhere before 9:00, that will probably change next semester). I push the button on the coffeemaker and while it is working its' magic, I check my fasting blood sugar and get out my Bible (right now I'm using my usual NIV Bible but sometimes I use the The Reformation Study Bible) and whatever devotional I am using at the time.

This year I almost always read The Valley of Vision... perhaps the most beautiful prose outside the King James Bible! I used to always use My Utmost For His Highest, which I gave to Christopher to read each day since his college studies make it difficult for an in depth Bible reading right now. I start with a short prayer and then read a few prayers from The Valley of Vision to focus my mind on Things Above. Then I read from the Word and spend time in prayer for awhile. The most import part is to spend time with Him Who Created Me.

Then, if there is time I will pull out my Scrapbook Journal and pray for those I have written there. Sometimes I'll have time to actual do some journaling and write in a spiral notebook I have in my quiet time basket (which always sits between the sofa and a bookshelf, containing a spiral notebook, pens, my notebook I take to church with me for sermon notes, my NIV Bible, my devotional book(s), and a nonfiction book I may be keeping for such purposes).

Sometimes I am reading from a book written by a Christian teacher, as mentioned above, and I'll read a chapter or two from it... if time permits. But never because I have to at that time. I can also pick it up from the basket and read it at another time.

But my on expectations from my quiet time each day is to read a little from the devotional, read a little from the Word, talk to Him Who Made Me about my needs and concerns and supplications made on behalf of those who need prayer. Of course, along with some praise and worship to Him.

Simple... that's it most days. Later on there may be time for an in depth Bible study or to listen to a CD by a great teacher. But early in the mornings before the sun arises and it is just me and the fluffy Sasha sitting at my side... with a cup of coffee to help me awaken and warm my hands of late... that's it. That's all I need.

I've decided I won't let expectations of grandiose quiet times keep me from having one each morning. If Ruth Graham can keep a Bible open on her kitchen counter and talk to Jesus all day, I can share coffee with Him in the morning. :)

Simple Saturdays can be found at the Keeper of the Home blog, I'm sure she would welcome your joining.

Just a note: I'm expecting a house guest for the weekend so I won't be able to post until Tuesday. See you then!


Amy said...

It sounds like you have definitely found a way to have your quiet time that works for you. I've never found a "formula" that works for me, either.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

It took me years to get to a place where I am consistently having a quiet time. Why we humans make things so difficult, I don't know, but once I recognized that God isn't expecting perfection from my flesh and that it is all about Him and how He lives through me anyway, well, it just made it easier.

Streams in the Desert has been very helpful, but I'm currently very excited about beginning a Smith Wigglesworth devotional.

See you Tuesday and have fun until then.

judy said...

A great encouragement to women! The days I don't have quiet time ahead of the family are usually full of stress and anxiety. I love that time of day and when I awake earlier, which seems to be happening often, I assume the Lord is calling me to Him just a little earlier. I have added to devotion basket Spurgeon's Morning & Evening devoltional, you might enjoy it too.

ru4real @ Healthy Living said...

For me a day of quiet peace is one that starts with some time alone with Father God ... praising, requesting, thanking, committing, and listening. How I go about it changes from season to season, but that isn't the important part. The important part is simply to spend the time in His presence. Sounds like you have found that to be true too.

ru4real @ Healthy Living said...

Oh! I meant to say, too, that I love the Jeremiah 6:16 quote in your sidebar ... I woke up thinking about it this very morning!

Stephanie said...

I am struggling with quiet time right now! We have been battling colds and I keep getting up too late. I am hoping to get back on track next week!

the pleasures of homemaking said...

My quiet time happens later in the day for me. With a child who has to leave at 8 am for school, the mornings are pretty busy and I'm not an early morning person! I get up at 6 am and that hard for me!!

Have a fun weekend!


Susan B said...

Great post, Brenda. I have always struggled with a consistant quiet time. Except for the last three weeks, I was getting up early every day to walk with my sister. Then when I came back home, I would have my quiet time with my breakfast. Right now, (while my Mom is in the hospital)it is hit and miss, and I fit it in, at various times of the day.

Sherry said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Brenda. I keep trying even though my quiet time is more miss than hit.

Maggie Ann said...

That all sounds so good...and I know it is. Quiet time is a private time...God's word changes us thats for sure...what a good thing too.

Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home said...

I also struggle with quiet time, as I think so many of us do. I've been thinking of getting Valley of Vision for a while, and you've encouraged me to go ahead and get it. :) I also love the idea of a quiet time basket... I think I'll put one together. Thanks for your post, and for joining in Living Simply Saturday!