Saturday, March 10, 2007

Quiet times

Quiet times --- the words elicit guilt in me. Guilt, condemnation...hmmm, somewhere I've heard there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Now I know I am in Christ Jesus so where is this condemnation coming from? What have I been taught for 30 some-odd years that continually strikes fear in my being?

You know what quiet times are--getting away for reading of scripture, journaling and prayer. It's a time of solitude. It's a time of one-on-one with God. And I have never enjoyed it. Wow. That felt good to get off my chest. I'm going to say it again -- I have never enjoyed the concept of "quiet time."

Why? Because I never: 1) could find the time (especially now, 4 kids, homeschooling - but I don't want to make this a list of excuses); 2) I always struggled with keeping my mind quiet so I could "hear" God; 3) I always wondered - well what do I do, what do I read, what should I write.

Now don't get me wrong, I believe many, many people delight and depend on their quiet times. Scripture, especially the Psalms, record the delight of meditating the laws of the Lord. I do not want to disregard anyones habit. And when I was single I would regularly journal scripture and prayers (they are packed away in boxes in my basement).

Yet, for me (hear that strongly please), quiet times have always been a struggle I think because it's something I've been told I should have/do.

Holly at has a excellent post on communion in chaos. She notes (with much agreement from this blogger)
I have often read devotional books that speak of “stealing away” for times of extended devotions, and I know immediately that the author is a man…usually a man with grown children. Either that or a severely sleep deprived woman. But it seems to me that most books on the spiritual discipline of meditating on the Words of Christ are written by seminary professors. And I am pretty sure that they are men who sit in somber, dusty, cloistered…quiet….attic rooms. Time is their luxury, their commodity. No teething infants, nor screaming tots, no feet sticking to the jelly in those quiet rooms.

Today my time with God is throughout the day, often when I close the bathroom. I read scripture with my kids. We go through the lectionary. I ask them questions, they ask me questions. I stop mid-sentence through Romans and say, "Do you think God wants you to keep sinning so you will know how much God loves you because he will keep forgiving you?" I like this kind of "quiet time". My mind and spirit feed off of my kids questions. And for some odd reason my spirit loves to read scripture aloud - to another, with intonation, voices, drama. Somewhere in my mind I think the way I've been taught

When the kids leave home I'm sure the form of my "quiet time" will change. Yet it's comforting to know God is not limited to the form/method taken to deepen/maintain our relationship.

P.S. There's a great post over at KruseKronicles which is a reprint of an article by Harold Kurtz-A Missionary on the Equality of the Sexes


Dave Moody said...

I was just thinking.... my wife has the greatest blog.

Courtney said...

uh barb, do you know that you will NEVER be let into heaven without regular quiet times?!

okay just joking. I appreciate your honesty with this subject as it's one that I struggled with for a long time as well. I've found that my time with God is more on-going rather than traditional. If I can get 5-10 minutes with my ipod and some worship music I am even happier.. but that happens once a week!
love ya

Holly said...

Barb, thanks so much. That was so kind of you!

I've thought more...too...

What is better? To walk with Jesus - eyes wide open throughout the day (and night if you are awake!), to see him everywhere, to hear him every place... or to make it a stilted thing that you are uncomfortable with (and feel cranky at the kids because they are interrupting YOUR *quiet time*?)

Like you, I believe this will change once the kids are grown or at least older. I would *think* there will be more quiet contemplation then. We'll see! :) still feels kinda heretical to say, doesn't it? Oh well...I've already said it. :)

Marti Smith said...

Hey Barb! I find that the only times I manage a (sort of) consistent QT pattern is when I'm overseas - with hugely hightened senses, responsibility for other people, etc.

Best was when I was out of America for the better part of the year and did not have a job. Came home thinking, yeah, maybe I need to quit working so I can walk with Jesus. But I kind of knew that wouldn't happen.

Nevertheless... while the seasons that include a bit more contemptation are a gift, the ones that don't are, as well.

This week we did the 'what are the biblical essentials of a church?' exercise with a research team preparing to go to the Balkans. Sure enough, once again, some of the participants couldn't resist marking 'have a daily devotional time' as 'essential.'