On Friday, I welcomed you to join my challenge. A 31-day challenge to rise each morning to prayer, Scripture, and journaling.
I am thrilled so many of you have decided to join me in accountability.
This week I want to share with you a few things that the Holy Spirit has shared with me concerning my own quiet time.
But before I share the positive, let me first share some of what I have done wrong.
1. Gleaning wisdom from people’s thoughts instead of the Word.
My husband has been preaching this concept to me throughout our 15 year marriage. And I have fought intensely with excuses of needing direction and accountability. I thought that I required a devotional to get me through my quiet time.
Now I realize that the Holy Spirit is my guide if I will let Him. As a dear friend of mine says, I am learning to fall in love with the Word. And it is precious. (More on this tomorrow…)
I am not against devos and I believe that there is a time and a place for them. Using one isn’t necessarily wrong. Personally, I found that I was using them as a crutch to keep me from going deep. In using them, I didn’t have to think and go as deep as the Holy Spirit wanted to take me. If you choose to use a devo, I caution you to be sure that the Scripture is your primary focus, verses are not taken out of context, and that you are not relying on a human’s interpretation instead of what the Holy Spirit has to show you.
2. Reading without Thinking
This is my biggest challenge. I put quiet time on my to-do list to simply mark it off instead of submerging myself into what God has to teach me. Basically, I get it done to move on to other things. For me, journaling forces me to go deeper and stay focused. Tomorrow, I will take you through a process that I call “Drawing Deep” that I use in my journaling. It has dramatically helped in this area.
3. Purge the legalism
I fight legalism big time. Expectations of how I think things should look. But, there is no one way to have a quiet time. My quiet times have changed as I have grown in my walk and as the seasons of life have transpired. Some mornings, the Holy Spirit sends me on a rabbit trail of verses learning more about a character trait. Other times, my heart is heavy and I bask in the promises of God. On occasion I read through my journal remembering what God has taught me. Devo time has more to do with my attitude than a step-by-step, timed process.
4. Separate Reality from Fantasy
My dream devo is sitting on a cabin balcony with a quilt, hot cup of tea, instrumental music, and cascading mountain water in the background. I want a minimum of one hour with my Bible and journal. Absolutely nothing distracting. Just me, the Holy Spirit, and God’s creation.
Doesn’t that sound fabulous?
But home alone with four children beginning to stir each morning means that my fantasy isn’t reality. In this season of life, I will have to settle for my bedroom and a comforter. And that’s okay.
5. Eliminate Distractions
The enemy tries to persuade me that I can glance at an incoming email all while dissecting a Bible verse. How about leaving TV on in the background? Ever try to focus with kids constantly interrupting? All hurdles that sidetrack my focus. God deserved my complete concentration. (I discuss kiddos who rise early here and in my ebook.)
6. I Can’t Change Myself
I want a seven-step process to make myself a better person. If I will ____, then I will no longer ____. A one-a-day pill would be even better. But, I am learning that God is the only one who can do heart surgery. It is only through the working of the Holy Spirit that I can truly become more like Christ. And much of this work happens before my feet ever hit the floor.
7. The Enemy Has Goals
If the enemy can’t distract me, his next goal is to turn my quiet time into a guilt-fest. He reminds me of all the things I did or said wrong and then tops it off by convincing me that everyone else has it all together. His entire goal is to remove my focus. Why? The enemy knows that in order for me to become more Christ-like I must spend time with my Savior. Time that is spend in the Word, in prayer, and allowing the Holy Spirit to submerge deep into the yuck of my life.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes. And I am sure that in 15 years I will look back on what I am doing now and see mistakes. But learning from mistakes and falling in love with God’s Word is progress and forward progress is what the Christian life is all about.
Will you join me?
Tomorrow’s post: “Drawing Deep” – a process to lead you through your quiet time