Monday, October 19, 2015

Quiet Times During the Little Years

Disclaimer: I don't generally like to talk about "how to do quiet times" - it feels a little bit like taking an Instagram picture of my quiet time and saying "look at this awesome time that is just between me and the Lord.....and all of you".  :) I don't want this to come across as boasting or pretending like I have it all together at all. I have read other tips from mommas that were really helpful for me in setting up a quiet time in this season of life so I wanted to share as well. Please also feel free to share your tips in the comments! I'd love to learn how you prioritize your quiet time in the day...whatever season of life you are in! 

2+ years into motherhood, I feel like I am just starting to get into a rhythm for my daily quiet times. And honestly, most of the rhythm is knowing there is no rhythm.

I am a pretty organized, structured person who likes to have a daily routine (as long as there is a little flexibility for spontaneous decisions) and I am much more likely to get things accomplished if they are already planned into my day. For example, when I take the time to meal plan for the week, our meals actually get made and we don't have that dreaded 5:30 moment "Oh no what are we having for dinner?!". I just write it on the chalkboard and glance at it during the day and mentally plan when I am going to get it done before we all get hangry (hungry+angry).

Before kids, I had my quiet times in the same place, at the same time, almost every single day. I worked full-time so it was easy to know what my day would generally look like and I could plan around it. I was actually more of a night-time quiet time person - I liked reflecting back on my day and I generally found I got more out of it if I was actually awake :)

So it's taken me a little time to learn that it just can't be at the same time, same place everyday anymore. It doesn't look the same every day because it's not just dependent on me, my day, and my decisions anymore. Sometimes, somebody doesn't nap as long, or doesn't sleep as long in the morning, or isn't as quiet/well-behaved so that I can sit down with my Bible and read for a little bit. It just changes every day and if spending time with the Lord is important to me (...and it is) then I need to make it a priority to carve out time to spend with him every day, even if it doesn't look the same. If I'm spending any time on social media, reading blogs, reading books, watching TV, etc. during any part of the day, then I have time to spend at least a few minutes with the Lord.

Here are some helpful things I've learned along the way:

1. It's okay if Kate watches 30 minutes of TV so that I can sit down to spend time with the Lord. This seems like a "duh" moment but I really had to tell myself that I wasn't being lazy/ruining my child's brain by letting her watch some TV so that I can have some moments to myself with the Lord.

2. It's okay if it's not quiet. I can't remember the last time my quiet times were actually quiet, actually :) There is always either a child or 2 playing in front of me, a monitor next to me, a TV show in the background, etc. And that's okay. God uses every moment I give him. He promises that His word will never return void (Isaiah 55:11).

3. Find a time that works well for you most days. While it most likely won't look the same every day (especially as your kids get older and start having preschool some days during the week, etc.), try to find a time of day that generally works best for you. For me, this happens when Charlie is napping in the morning and it's just me & Kate. We can't go anywhere because he still needs his naptime, so before my day really gets going, I can sit down and spend some much-needed time with the Lord. And now that I've done it often enough and regularly, Kate knows when I'm reading my Bible and she usually will play by herself (or try to color all over my's pretty much 50/50 :)).

4. Have a plan. One of the most overwhelming parts of your quiet time can be not knowing what to do! I've enjoyed some of the She Reads Truth plans in the past, so I'd definitely recommend those. Currently, I'm using this plan to read through the Bible and am (I'm doing the entire Bible, not just NT - there are two options on the site.) I may miss a day here and there (or sometimes a whole week - just being real) but I just pick up on whatever day it is and go from there. It's nice to know that it's already planned out for me and all I have to do is follow along. If you go to the Summit, they have a great Summit app with the Bible reading plan incorporated in, so it's super easy. I don't like to have my phone by me during my quiet time so I just write down the plan every day and then put all my technology away.

5. Start small and build on it. Start with just a few minutes every day if that's all you can manage. Build some momentum, reconnect with the Lord, and slowly work up from there.  You'll find yourself wanting more and being able to concentrate for longer and it will grow and grow. But just sincerely give whatever you can to the Lord - however much time, however much concentration, etc. - and He will grow it for you.

Please feel free to share any plans or methods that have worked for you! I'd love to hear more suggestions :)

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