Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quiet Time Plan

I used to be so devoted to my quiet time. Back in grad school, I read several Bible passages almost every day, read a commentary to go with them, and took notes. I prayed. I often read another Christian book later in the day. My quiet time was precious to me and was daily placed at the top of my to-do list.

Fast forward to now. Sometime in the midst of getting a job, getting married to a traveling ultimate frisbee player, owning a house, having two dogs, having a child, joining a Bible study, and joining a life group, I lost my quiet time. I've really been struggling with it for about three years now. I'll go through streaks of doing well, but it's never long before I fall off the path once again.

I recently decided to think hard about why my quiet time wasn't working for me. I really want it to work...I can feel a dramatic difference in my attitude and life between the times when I'm actively having quiet time and the times when I'm not. I think the major reason it wasn't working was because I was making it far too time-consuming and overwhelming. I was trying to read, study, and take notes as much as I used to in grad school, and frankly I just don't have time for that at this point in my life. I hope to get back to having the opportunity to devote that much time to studying God's word again sometime in the future, but right now it just doesn't seem to be an option.

After a lot of thinking and talking with my husband, I've developed a new plan. Here it is:

1. Every week day: set my alarm for 6am, hit snooze once, then get up and start quiet time with a pot of coffee. On the weekends, fit in quiet time at some point during the day.
2. Follow the following reading plan: "Reading God's Story: One-Year Chronological Plan" (available free from the Bible app on my iPhone). This reading plan gives one day off every week, so I am allowed to miss one day per week. If I miss more than this, I'll have to play catch-up.
3. Read from my (real, non-phone) Bible that has both The Message and NIV translations. (I prefer to have both versions available for most passages of Scripture. They both provide different insights.)
2. Write down in my journal the passages or ideas that REALLY stand out to me. Don't write down things that aren't super important (time waster).
3. If I get stuck on a verse, and I want to know more info about it, write it down on a list in the back of my journal to return to at another time. Don't get too bogged down by any one idea or verse (again, time waster).
4. If I get through the reading for the day and have time to spare, read ahead or enjoy reading another Christian book. (But give God the full time I've allotted.)

Once I finish reading the whole Bible chronologically in a year, then I may do a topical study or follow some other type of Bible study. But right now I simply want to get through the whole Bible. I've read all of it except for about the last fifth of the Old Testament in the past, but I want to read the whole thing together now. I've made it through six days so far...pray for me that I can keep going!

So on this We Encourage Tuesday, I'd love to hear what others are doing to stay devoted to their quiet times. What does your quiet time look like, if it exists? What would it ideally look like? What have you found works best for you? And I'm curious...do you drink coffee with your quiet time? :)

Head over to Call Me Blessed to hear from some other great Christian ladies!!

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