Written by: Laura Hartley
When I was thinking about starting a new diet, I wanted to know with absolute certainty that if I gave up carbs at dinner that I would lose weight. If I couldn’t lose weight, then it was not worth the trouble of giving up carbs. I recognized that to achieve the results I wanted, I would have to sacrifice something. I couldn’t have my cake and eat it to, so to speak.
When my kids were itty bitty and I was home a lot the thought of going out in public with three kids under the age of 4 was risk enough, but I was thinking of starting my own business. I loved to craft and crochet (still do), I hated to spend $20 on something at Hobby Lobby that I could make myself with the hundreds of dollars worth of craft supplies I had accrued over the years. I decided that I could make crochet hats and sell them on Etsy. When I spoke with my husband about it he asked me a few questions.
“How long does it take to make one of those hats?”
“I don’t know a few hours.”
“How much do you think you could charge for that hat?”
“Maybe $30, but probably more like $15.”
“So if you sold it for $15 how much would you make for an hour of your time?”
“Yuck, that’s only $5 an hour, not including packaging and shipping items.”
“Still think it’s a good idea?”
We do this all the time. We weigh the costs, time, money, energy, family. We all want the rewards but we know we have to put forth the effort. We balance the scales in our favor. How much will this hurt vs. How much will I gain?
Do you ever find yourself doing this with God?
Take something as simple as quiet time.
Are you regularly spending time meditating and studying God’s word in a way that penetrates your heart?
I am busy mom, I know that quiet time is a nearly impossible feat, or at least it may seem that way. If you’re a believer, then you know that spending time with God is important and maybe you realize it is vital to carrying out the activities in your day, but still you don’t do it. Like diet and exercise, quiet time just becomes one more thing we know is good for us, but we fail to do. Why?
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” - Romans 7:18-19
I want to tell you something, even though you already know it. When it comes to quiet time, the rewards out weigh the risks every single time. I just want to give you a little glimpse of how quiet time changes you.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” -2 Timothy 1:7
This is why daily Quiet Time is so important to your own physical health. God gives you power. He gives you power to do the tasks you don’t want to do.....like laundry.
Can I get an Amen?
He gives you power to have difficult conversations. He gives you power to stand firm in face of temptations. He gives you the power to see Him at work around you. He gives you power to point others to that work. And this is where you will begin to enjoy your quiet time and maybe even look forward to it. When you see the power of God at work everyday, it will give you a desire to see it more and more.
God gives us love. During quiet time, as you begin to pray for people, your love for them will grow. God does that. Maybe I am the very worst mother on the planet, or maybe it’s normal, but I even struggle to love my kids, even though they walk around like tiny versions of me and my husband and say funny things and wear goofy clothes, I still struggle to love them because I am a sinner and I am selfish and only through the power of the Holy Spirit can I love them. I need that quiet time everyday so that I can love my people and love them well. And when I pray for my enemies (or just people that frustrate me) the Holy Spirit works in my heart to give me an eternal perspective and shows me that we are all image bearers loved by God and though we don’t see eye to eye, there will always be a way for me to love that person. God changes our heart and our hearts need daily reminders.
Your alarm goes off and you hit snooze. You know that if only you could drag yourself out of bed that you could have a good fifteen minutes of quiet time, reading your Bible and praying before the rest of the house wakes up, but instead you hit snooze, again.
-or- You come home from work and eat your dinner and clean the kitchen and all you want to do after a long day is to sit down and watch your favorite tv show. Daily quiet time requires self-discipline, but instead of powering through as a way to check this task off your list, ask God to search your heart. Ask Him to show you when your ways are not pure. Ask Him to give you a joy in this time. And when you ask for something that lines up with God’s desire for you, He will always, always give it to you. You don’t have to pray, “God, if it’s your will, will you please give me joy in learning more about you.” He will always want you to know more about Him and wants you to delight in Him. That is the purpose of our lives, to know Him, love Him, enjoy Him and glorify Him.
You may find that God is fiercely protective over this time with you, He may just shut off your tv, or wake you up with the dog barking for no reason (speaking from experience). Will you recognize this nudge from the Lord or will you stubbornly choose your own way?
Friends, your quiet time with God, is not just for comfort or your own sanity, or strength to just get through the day. In your quiet time with God, He is inviting you to witness the work that He is doing in and through you. Don’t be scared or timid, but come to Him in humble boldness, with eager expectationto see God at work in your everyday moments.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy & peace as you trust in him that you may overflow with hope by the power of the holy spirit.” Romans 15:13
Side Note (behind the scenes): I started writing this blog post on Friday, December 7th. I was sitting at my kitchen table and praying about what to write about when I began to think over my quiet times the last few months and how meaningful they have become to me. And though I was not sure how 2 Timothy 1:7 could speak about quiet time, I followed those nudges and somehow it seemed to work. I still was not confident in my writing, still not positive this was the verse that God wanted me to share with my church, so I set it aside and prayed over it when it came to mind. A few days later, I was sitting in church. When it came time to read the scripture for that morning’s sermon, a sermon that was also proceeding a big announcement, I turned to my Bible to the passage 2 Timothy 1:3-10. The message felt like it was written just for me, but the icing on the cake was the verse that I used to write this blog was being used during this sermon about the gifts God gives us and our responsibility to fan them into flame. I just keep thinking, if I had not spent that time in prayer, if I had not been sensitive to the spirit nudging me to that verse, would I have missed this message of hope?