I was going to subtitle this, “Will Jesus Still Love me if I Don’t Have ‘Quiet Time?” ‘cause I’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately. Don’t get me wrong—I’ve studied Psalm 119—I know God’s word is the compass for my life, that I can’t live without it.
But sometimes life goes in a different direction.
I remember the days when I was able to sit outside on my deck for an hour at a stretch, maybe three times a week, and just listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit speak. I wrote and wrote and wrote what I heard in those whispers on the wind to me.
I recall sweet moments at my desk reading Scripture or perusing a favorite devotional—Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, Charles Spurgeon. The words seemed to light up the page, resonating deep in my spirit. Time after time there would be an ‘aha’ moment when I sensed God’s presence and His pleasure as I sat to soak myself in the Word.
But I wonder about those folks like myself who find themselves in a season where quiet time is pretty much non-existent. I’m writing a book, shepherding a small group of like-minded writer folks, editing for others and caring for my kids via phone calls and texts that come all hours of the day. I need to be interruptable for that; I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, what about this question—is there really a divide between sacred and secular? A time that is not God’s (if we belong to Him)? Is He more pleased with me because I take time for studying the word or reading a devotion? Or is He okay (because He knows this season of my life) if I lean into Him when I can, stay hungry for His presence in all the hours of my day?
My son has a new job in a Frito-Lay warehouse (yay for all-you-can-eat Doritos) and he works 60 hour weeks these days. Even on a regular day (i.e. 8 hours) his moments of alone time or quiet time vanish as he communicates with his wife or nurtures his five children. His thirst is there for God’s word—he has a seminary degree, steeped in Scripture inside and out–but the chances to drink are few and far between.
Or what about my niece’s husband, new dad of two, who works nights, sleeps days and hugs his wife and babies in between? Where or how would he, could he, find moments to spend with Jesus? Would it be before or after worship practice, where he plays drums and/or guitar?
Or what about the baristas at Starbuck’s who get up at oh dark thirty to make sure our coffee-fueled world goes on? There are plenty of Jesus-loving espresso-making folks out there—how do they manage to fit in time with God?
And is God worried about that? Really?
Here’s what Oswald himself had to say about “quiet time”; May 12th ‘My Utmost for His Highest.’
“Your god may be your little Christian habit— the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, “I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God.” No, this is your time alone with your habit. There is a quality that is still lacking in you. Identify your shortcoming and then look for opportunities to work into your life that missing quality.
Love means that there are no visible habits— that your habits are so immersed in the Lord that you practice them without realizing it. If you are consciously aware of your own holiness, you place limitations on yourself from doing certain things— things God is not restricting you from at all. This means there is a missing quality that needs to be added to your life. The only supernatural life is the life the Lord Jesus lived, and He was at home with God anywhere. Is there someplace where you are not at home with God? Then allow God to work through whatever that particular circumstance may be until you increase in Him, adding His qualities. Your life will then become the simple life of a child.”
I think in this season, maybe in all the seasons of our lives, that God’s first and only call to us is to abide, to dwell in His presence on a continual basis. If we live hungry for his feeding whenever we can get it, we will find the nourishment we need, because He knows our days. He sees where we are. He is not hampered by wacky schedules or demanding deadlines or family crises. The seasons we live through belong to Him.
Jesus said if we seek Him, we will find Him. The Beatitudes tell us that we’re blessed if we’re hungry. Right now I’m living hungry.
I pray in the car and listen to sermons while I’m cooking or worship while I clean house. I look at the “Jesus Calling” app on my tablet and sit for a few minutes with my coffee, a silent prayer rising with the steam from my mug. Notes are scribbled on Sunday mornings in my journal and I feed on them during the week.
But the full meal deal? The chunks of time to sit and study? Not happening right now. Just not. The words “exercise” and “walk” are all over Scripture…the going-about-your-day-with-Jesus kind of mindset. That’s where I’m living right now, because when we walk with God ALL of life is sacred. The phone calls, the ministry times, the words exchanged in person and online or in the car….The texts, the toast and coffee time, the toilet-scrubbing and laundry time.
If we want to hear Him, God says He’ll speak.
If we hunger and thirst for righteousness, Jesus promises we’ll be filled.
Right now I’m living hungry. What about you?