As our worlds race at a million miles per minute, I commonly hear the question: “How can I ever find time to slow down and listen to God?” As we become increasingly accessible through changing technology, it can be hard to turn everything off and simply sit in your own thoughts and God’s presence. But just because something is challenging doesn’t mean that it is not worth attempting. Everyone I have ever admired or looked up to set aside daily time to touch base with God and be filled with the Holy Spirit. The still morning moments allow for clarity, peace, and direction for each day’s events. Although quiet times are not a quick fix to all stress, anxiety, and challenges, they do offer us a reminder to remain focused on the Lord.
What Should a Quiet Time Look Like?
Time with the Lord looks different for everyone, but there are a few key factors that I have found helpful, both in my own life and in the lives of my clients. The first factor is commitment. I encourage my clients to set small goals rather than saying, “From today forward I will spend one hour with God every day.” Although a very noble goal, it takes time to develop a healthy and sustainable routine. When starting from a season without much time spent with God, try setting a goal of three days in a row in which you set aside five minutes each day. Staying committed to small and attainable goals will affirm your ability to find time and will be a good reminder of how important time with God can be. Another factor of successful quiet times is having a good starting point. Using a daily devotional can be a helpful guide as you seek direction in your time with God each day. A few suggestions include:
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Streams in the Desert by Lettie Cowman
A Treasury of Devotion by A.J. Russell
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Spend Time with the Scriptures
Following your daily reading, you can spend a few minutes with the Bible. For example, you might start with Philippians Chapter 1:1-11. Read a few verses each day until something grabs you, giving you a thought that you can carry with you throughout the day. I find that people often pressure themselves to read an extensive section in the Bible and develop meaningful life applications. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others and follow our own path towards communion with God. No one who spends significant and consistent time with God started with a perfect track record. God does not ask us to come to Him with everything perfect, but rather He invites us to bring our mess and mistakes to His feet. Once your thoughts are rolling with ideas from a devotional and from the Bible, journaling can be a great way to express your gratitude and concerns.
Journaling has always been something important to me personally. I love stumbling across old journals and remembering the ways God provided in challenging seasons or reflecting on things that felt like a major crisis in the moment. I also encourage my clients to use journaling for processing feelings, walking through challenges, and organizing thoughts. Here are a few questions to get your thoughts going:
- What is keeping me from focusing on the Lord right now?
- What do I feel guilty about or ashamed of that is keeping me from wanting to connect with God?
- What fears are underneath my shame?
- What are ten things I can thank God for today?
- Where did I see God at work this week?
- How might God be using my challenges to shape me or grow me?
A Christian Counselor Can Accompany You on Your Walk with God
Spending time with our Lord doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. These are simply guidelines to help you find the rhythm and habit that works best with your personality and walk with God. Whether it has been a few days or a few years since your last quiet time, the Lord desires for you to sit quietly in his presence and hear his voice. If you are struggling with finding the best way to spend quality time with God, it may help to speak to a Christian counselor who is experienced in accompanying others on their walk with God.
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