So here's the deal. For many years I haven't wanted to talk about this because I fear your judgment. I fear you will think I am trying to brag or think that I think I am superior or better than other people. That's not my heart and I am sorry I have assumed that of you. I really do want what's best for you and that might mean entering into a discussion that seems a bit touchy, so I pray the Lord gives me courage and confidence to speak what's true in grace.
The cost and reward of having daily quality time with the Lord during the years with little kids is huge. When I get to heaven and stand before the Lord and have that I know You deeply moment, I'm not going to regret the sacrifice and discipline it took. But I would regret standing before the Lord realizing I had the opportunity to spend time with God, the Creator, the One who breathed life and spoke the stars into existence, the Comforter, Truth Speaker, Grace Giver, Sustainer, Wisdom and Knowledge Giver, Him! And I would regret wasting the time I could have spent hearing from Him through His Word that only a short generation of people ever had the gift of having.
I can't count how many times I've heard godly women say things like, "You don't have to have a quiet time" and "Walking with God and having a quiet time just look different when you have kids." But I've also seen the fruit of those same ladies no longer running passionately after the Lord and living for Him. And I've also seen after fifteen years of full time ministry the people who grow not only the fastest but into the strongest disciples are those who saturate themselves in the Word of God and are greedy with their time with Him. So I'm not willing to succumb to the passivity of giving up my time with the Lord because it's hard, and I hope through the following tips, I hope you wont either.
4 Tips for Spending Daily Quality Time with the Lord When it's Hard to Make Time:
1. Value quality time with the Lord. When we deeply value something it affects our choices, attitudes and actions. When we value spending quality time with the Lord in His Word, we will make sacrifices to make it happen. Like Jesus, "Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed." (Mk 1:35) and this was His norm, "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." (Lk 5:16) He didn't have kids, He didn't even have a house he had to take care of, it seems surely He had more available time to spend time with the Father. But really, as important as feeding my kids breakfast is, surely taking the Gospel of Salvation to mankind, proclaiming yourself as the Messiah is far more important. Yet, He didn't let even that push aside His time with the Father.
When we love someone it's only natural to make quality time for them. And the crazy thing is that we become like who we spend time with. To think we will become like Jesus without pushing through the hard to spend time with Him is short-sighted.
And for my single and married without kids friends, if making time to spend with the Lord doesn't become a habit now, it will be much, much harder later.
1 Peter 2:2 tells us, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation." But the Lord also says in John 15 that we can do nothing of eternal significance apart from the Lord. So we can't actually make ourselves value spending quality time with the Lord and become passionate about His Word. But we can submit to Him a willing heart, asking Him to put the value in us, and He is gracious and generous and does!
Here's some truths about God's Word that remind me of what's true about how valuable it is: (Each of these come from Scripture)
God’s Word gives us freedom, strength, and purity, it leads us to obedience, produces fruit, gives us health, guidance, confidence, comfort, understanding, discernment, insight, and restoration, it makes us wise, enlightens our eyes, warns us, leads us to trust God, motivates us to worship, gives us an eternal perspective, it is the best light for the past, present, and future, it reveals the origin, nature and purpose of man, it sets straight, clarifies right and wrong, directs, encourages, reveals God’s heart and handiwork, shows us what pleases Him, makes us complete, provides spiritual nourishment, teaches us patience, courage, perseverance and joy, it gives us hope, how to forgive and how to be forgiven, how to find relief, how to love and be loved, it reveals God’s goodness and His justice and His mind, without it we are deceived, it keeps us from sin, it sanctifies us, gives us instruction, success, prosperity and provides us with all our needs in the spiritual realm, reveals what is to be learned, taught and obeyed, gives us adequacy and makes us equipped for doing good, it convicts, and convinces, and is the standard by which we will be judged.
I can't tell you how many times God has used His Word to comfort me in ways only He can. ("This is my comfort in my affliction that His Word has revived me." Ps. 119:50) Or how many times He has given me a new perspective on things after spending time with Him. ("Until I entered the sanctuary of God, then I perceived their end." Ps. 73:17)
You'll know how much you truly value God's Word by the sacrifices you make to spend time reading it. "But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yeilds its fruit in season and it's leaf does not wither..." Psalm 1:2-3
2. Make sacrifices to discipline yourself to get up early. I have heard many times, "My kids get up at 6:30am so I just don't have time." I'm not saying having a quiet time before 6:30am is not early, but if you really value having an intimate relationship with the Lord, it takes spending quality, undistracted time with Him. So that might actually mean letting go of thinking 6:00am or even 5:00am or 5:30am is too early. It just takes adjusting your evening schedule and going to bed earlier.
You may think, "But I'm not a morning person." Let me remind you that God is bigger than that. I wasn't a morning person either. I actually had to make myself start drinking coffee (because I didn't like the taste) to wake up. But now after years of it being a habit, the Lord has made me a morning person.
Or maybe you think I don't understand your circumstances. And I don't. But I do have five kids eight years old and under with another on the way. What that means is that I am pregnant. The can never quite get comfortable and rolling over in bed is a feat type of pregnant. It means I am awake a couple hours a night from the crazy pregnancy dreams and insomnia. And that is in between little ones waking up in the middle of the night wanting to sleep with us. And if that weren't enough, the oldest two talk/fight until about 10:30pm each night though bedtime is 8:30pm. Believe me, I know it's hard to get to bed early. But I also know God's grace is sufficient. When I am waking up early by faith doing what I believe He wants, He provides everything I need, even energy.
Or maybe you think you don't want to just have a quiet time to cross it off a list. And I get that. You want your heart to be right. That's a good thing. But stopping the good activity is not the way to get your heart right. Really it's the exact opposite. Taking your heart to the Lord, by spending time with Him, asking Him to change it is how the bad attitude changes. For instance, I wouldn't let my kids get away with not eating their vegetables because they are doing it just to please me instead of because they want to. They need to eat vegetables because it's healthy no matter their motives and I'm hoping that over time their taste buds will acquire a taste. After all right feelings follow right actions.
Or maybe your thinking your time with the Lord doesn't have to be in the morning. That's true. Although we do have some pretty powerful examples of people spending time meditating on God's Word in the morning, like Jesus and David who meditated on God's Word morning and night. I have found that if I go a whole day without that deep, personal interaction with the Lord I can easily forget about the Lord all day while I do my own thing and then when evening comes I'm too exhausted to give Him any of my heart or mind.
Or maybe you've tried to get up early and failed. And I get that too. I have! When we fail, when we sleep in past the alarm clock, we need to cling to the righteousness of Jesus and His perfection. Not having a quiet time doesn't make us any less valuable or significant or loved in the Father's eyes. Don't let guilt or shame stop you from pursuing the Lord, "for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again." (Prov.24:16)
"He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by break alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord." Deut. 8:3
3. Be consistent. Habits form quicker when there is consistency. That means, even on weekends and even during travel. In a way it's sad to think you might not get a day to sleep in. But zooming out a bit, we have all of eternity to rest. But for real, once a habit is made, you can take a day to sleep in an it wont be throwing your whole habit out the window. And perhaps when kids are older, and don't get up as early, you can sleep later. So really its just a season.
Making a habit doesn't mean being rigid. For instance, when my two year old sneaks out of his crib in the morning and joins me on the couch, I let him. I just give him a book or my phone to play Starfall or Bible for Kids and continue on. The older kids have a clock in their room and know they can not get out of bed until 7am.
"It shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statues." Deut. 17:19
4. Use the 7 P's. It can be hard to feel like you connected with the Lord after reading some Scripture. That is why many years ago I created the 7 P's. It is by far my most favorite tool to use to help me connect with the Lord in a deep and meaningful way. After reading a section of Scripture (I read a chapter a day) you work through the P's: Paraphrase, Process, Pursue understanding, Principles, Praise, Personal Application and Pray. You can download a free printable worksheet here (Print one off for each chapter of the book of the Bible you're reading).
I've also created journals for each book of the Bible we are working through on the FREE Missional Women app Reading plan. Join us!
Or you can use the journals without the app. They are basically the worksheets all put together in one journal so you don't have to print them and wont have a bunch of papers strewn about. And how incredible would it be to have your own personalize journal with what God spoke to you in every book of the Bible! Get your journals here.
Here's the journals so far. What a testimony having read through every book of the Bible chapter by chapter with notes in a personal journal of how the Lord spoke to you!
Laura, the founder of Missional Women is married and has five kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 13 years serving with Master Plan Ministries where she is the Women's Development Coordinator. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, A Devotional Journey through Judges, and Discover God's Calling for Your Life. You can find her on facebook, twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram and her author site.
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