November 6th, 2021 by Sara Buffington
I have long wanted to be a person who wakes up in the early morning to start the day with productivity.
I can see it now:
While I drink my morning cup of chai, I would have my quiet time with God. I would read the entire Bible in a year, have focused prayer time where my thoughts don’t wander, and keep a prayer journal.
Since I still have time in the morning before my kids are up, I would leave the house for 30-60 minutes of aerobic activity. Who knows? Maybe I am training for a half marathon.
I would come back home revived, refreshed, and ready to greet the day (after a nutritious breakfast, of course).
Can you tell this is a fantasy?
While I have managed some of the above morning activities at various points in my life, I have never managed to have a vibrant, soul-filling consistent morning routine. Part of that is willpower, I am sure, but the other part is biological. I am not a morning person.
Sleepy, morning Sara is not rational, productive Sara.
This morning my first waking moment was my 11-year-old banging the door open to do a pull-up on the bar in my closet. I put the pillow over my head and pretended to be asleep. I could hear the rain pelting the roof; it was one of the mornings that begged you to sleep in. I thought to myself, “I should read my Bible,” but instead I just rolled over and tried to sleep a few more minutes.
When I finally awoke, I brushed my teeth, slapped a Pop-Tart in the toaster, helped my middle son with Latin translations, and planned the Sunday music. The day had begun.
Even though I skipped a morning quiet time, I know its importance. Quiet time with God, sometimes called devotions, is time that you set apart to focus on Him. This is not a box to be checked, although I often treat it like one. It’s time to devote your attention to God. The Bible says, “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord” (Psalm 89:15 NIV).
Whether we feel it or not, when we spend time focusing on God in prayer and worship, we come close to him. And we are always changed by his presence.
I don’t want to be a stranger to God. Actually, that’s impossible because he made me and knows everything about me, whether I tell him or not. I don’t want him to be a stranger to me. If I don’t talk to him and listen to his words, how can I expect to know him as Father and Friend? Relationships need tending.
I also find that after spending dedicated time with God, I see the world differently. I feel like I am walking through everything with him, as opposed to on my own. I am more equipped to handle challenges with grace. I can look for the opportunities he has put in my path instead of just fumbling through my day.
I am writing to you not as a “daily quiet time master,” but as someone who has tried every possible time slot for a quiet time. Many days I don’t have one, and that is my loss. And while I do believe that starting your day with quiet time is the best possible scenario, it’s not the only one.
I am a big believer in finding “pockets” in my crazy day where I can spend time with God.
Here are some ideas:
Maybe you have time for a 30-minute walk every day, but even a quick stroll will do. Grab your phone and cue up a short Bible reading, play a worship song, or just walk in the quiet, praying as you go.
As a night owl, I am often the last one awake in my house. Why not make your quiet time the last thing you do? Full disclaimer: you may fall asleep. While you might initially feel guilty about this, don’t! God’s peace is restful!
As a mom of three, I am often in my car dropping off or picking up my kids. When I find myself alone in the car, I will use that time to pray aloud in the silence. You can also play the Bible on the Dwell app or listen to worship music.
I know what you’re thinking, “Really? The shower?” But think about it! It is already alone time! Why not meditate on a verse, pray, sing aloud as you wash your hair?
I am on Microsoft Teams for work, and it has a productivity planner as one of its features. The planner recommends taking 5-minute “mindfulness breaks.” If you can take a mindfulness break, why not take a break to connect with God instead? This would be an excellent time to try a breath prayer. You inhale on the first half of the statement and exhale on the second. You can say the statement out loud or in your mind. Here are some breath prayers to try:
Why not spend 5 minutes quietly sipping your coffee (or if you are like me, your tea) and spending time with God? I have tea at multiple points during the day. I don’t have to scroll through my phone while I do this. I can take some time to be with God. Or I can use my phone to help me connect with God! I like the app #Bible. It presents meditative verses with soothing music. You can even share the verses with friends.
Our world is full of noise and distractions. Yes, we are busy. We are constantly bombarded with alerts and sounds and ads and videos. We have watches that buzz on our wrists and schedules that look like a Jenga tower.
But we can also be lazy in our relationships (yes, I said it, and I include myself in this). How can we expect to feel close to someone if we largely ignore that person?
I have long berated myself for not being a morning person with a first-thing daily quiet time, but I can find other time pockets in the day (even the busiest one) to spend time with God.
I think God is waiting for us to talk to Him–whenever, wherever. He is eager to spend time with us, even if we can only give him 5 minutes. That daily connection will help us live and thrive.
I love a good plant metaphor, and I think Jesus gave a great one: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)
When and where do you spend time with God? I’d love to hear your ideas!