Hello, beautiful friends! Can you believe we're almost halfway through July?! I can't! This season has been so beautifully challenging and I am so thankful for each and every one of you that have stuck with me through it!
This week's study is going to be very similar to last week's and we're going to dive right in! At the end of this post, I am going to have links to TONS of resources listed for you and even a freebie! Those of you that subscribe to the blog and get emails, these resources are in your inbox! (If you want these in your inbox in the future, sign up!)
In all my high school days and even now, I automatically cringe at the sound of these two words together. Somehow, anytime we talked about quiet time in church, youth, small group Bible studies, I found myself on the insecure and inadequate train. I found myself berating myself for not being perfect and persistent in my daily quiet time. I also found myself wondering if those preaching at me about quiet time were as consistent in their own quiet time as they presented themselves to be.
If we're all honest, none of us are completely perfect at keeping a quiet time. We're busy, we don't have any time, we don't know what to do in our quiet time, we're scared. We have a million and one excuses for not having a regular quiet time.
Despite my imperfection and craziness, I have learned a lot about quiet times and how important they are. The following list are things that I have learned about quiet times while I was in college. It was a struggle to figure out what worked best for me and because college can be inconsistent because every few months your schedule changes, I am still trying to figure out what is the absolute best routine for me. This list is just a few things I have learned about quiet times that motivated me to be consistent but that doesn't mean that they work for you. We're all different and we are all at different places in our walk with Christ. God also requires different things for each of us. With that being said, please do not feel like this list is the end all and be all about quiet times.
1. 5 minutes is better than 0 minutes.
Despite what you may have heard your whole entire life, some time in God's Word is better than no time in the Word. Even just reading a single Bible verse a day and meditating on it throughout the day is better than not reading anything. Satan can be defeated with a single breath of God. A single Bible verse has the same power.
2. Morning quiet times are ideal but night time is just as good.
I am a morning person. I wake up early and I am ready to take on the day. So, most of the time, I get my quiet time done in the morning so I can think about it throughout the day. However, I know that we are all busy and not everyone is a morning person like me. If my day is crazy and for some reason I don't have time to do my quiet time, I usually do it before I go to bed. That way, I am thinking about the love and grace and mercy of God as I lay down to sleep. And when I wake up, I am ready to go again.
During my fall semester of senior year this was really hard. I had to be at school at 7:15 and once I left school, I had class all afternoon. Then I had other responsibilities on campus (like work and campus ministry president stuff) and SO MUCH HOMEWORK. That left very little time for a quiet time so I found that in order for me to get it done, I had to get up at 4:30. I started off really strong and then as the semester wore on and I was staying up later because I had more work to do, I didn't always get up that early. So, see? Still not perfect.
My junior year, I my accountability partner and I did Bible studies together. We each had our own quiet time and we did studies like "Discerning the Voice of God" by Priscilla Shrier. Also, we both met with another friend every Wednesday morning at 7:00 for coffee, breakfast, and discipleship.
In college, there will be TONS of campus ministries that all want you to join. My freshman year, I went to all of them at least twice, trying to figure out which one(s) I like the best. In the end, I sticked with Ignite (which was co-ed) and SHINE (which is an all-girls ministry). Even though being plugged into these campus ministries and a local church is so important, it is NOT the substance of your relationship with Jesus. What you do on Sundays and Wednesdays or whenever your campus ministry meets, is supplemental ONLY. It adds to what you're doing everyday. It gives you a place to share your struggles and what God taught you today. Church/campus ministries are for worship and community, not the only couple hours you'll spend with Jesus.
3. You are not a bad Christian or "fake" if you have a hard time keeping a regular quiet time.
This has been one of the hardest truths for me to learn. If I said, "I'm going to read a chapter of Genesis a day," and I didn't read a chapter every single day, I felt like I had failed God and I was a fake. I felt like a phony because I hadn't read my Bible daily like a good and true Christian did.
If you haven't read your Bible today, you are not a failure, phony, or a hypocrite. Sweet friend, did you hear me? You are NOT a failure, phony, or hypocrite. You are dearly loved, saved by grace, chosen by God himself.
Whether or not you read your Bible today does not change what Scripture says about you. It doesn't.
This should not, however, be an excuse to never read your Bible. Reading your Bible and having some alone time with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is the most vital element of your relationship with Christ. Religion says, "Read your Bible or else." Relationship says, "Read your Bible and learn more about Me, see My heart, and follow Me." See the difference?
When we're in a romantic relationship with someone, we want to learn all that we can about that person. We study them when we're together. The same concept can be applied to our quiet time. That time is when we study Christ and learn Him because we love Him and want our lives to point to Him.
4. Find a "study system" that works for you.
This is also something else that I have majorly struggled with. Majorly. It's tempting to just open the Bible and read whatever verse my finger lands on. It's also tempting to just stick to Bible studies where other people have given you homework and relying on what they have to say about the Word.
Something that I have been doing since my junior year in high school is going through books of the Bible. I have learned SO much from doing this. Whenever I finish a book, I spend a week or two weeks praying and asking God where He wants me to go next in Scripture. He usually shows me where I should be and then I do a little bit of research on the book before I start to get some context on the book itself.
Then, I go through and read a paragraph or a section of a chapter of the book. Once I have read my portion for the day, I go through each verse and write down whatever God is saying to me about that verse and maybe how He is applying it to my life today.
Here's an example:
A few weeks ago I finished reading through Daniel. Usually, I went through a chapter at a time but some of the longer chapters, I did on multiple days and divided in halves or thirds. Right now, I'm in the "in between books" stage. But here is just one example of writing in my journal for a particular verse. This is for Daniel 1:11-16.
"God's ways and His will is greater than my own will, thoughts, and desires. When I RESOLVE to follow Jesus in ALL things, I see His plans unfold before me and can see His hands in all things, even the hard things, and give Him honor, glory, and praise."
Also, God taught me some really hard truths with Nebuchadnezzar's statue of himself that was really hard. More to come later...
I also do the Bible studies with the homework but I feel like I am more connected and in sync with God by going through a book and allowing Him to teach me.
5. Prayer is vital to having a healthy quiet time/relationship with God.
I cannot stress the importance of prayer enough. Prayer is SO important to having a personal relationship with Christ. I don't think I am eloquent enough to adequately describe prayer so I'm going to let some of the greatest people describe it for me:
"I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time - waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God - it changes me."
- C.S. Lewis
"Any concern too small to be turned into prayer is too small to be turned into a burden."
- Corrie Ten Boom
"I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer."
- Martin Luther
"The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing; but it is the chief thing."
- S.D. Gordon
"The essence of meditation is a period of time set aside to contemplate the Lord, listen to Him, and allow Him to permeate our spirits."
- Charles Stanley
6. Commitment is what will drive you. If you're not committed or determined, your quiet time will not be regular or profitable.
The key thing to having a successful quiet time is commitment. Since I have committed to studying my Bible every day, a fire has grown within me. My desire and thirst for the Words of Scripture cannot be quenched. I can't get enough. On days where I make excuses as to why I didn't do my quiet time, I can tell. I can tell in my attitude, my thoughts, and my words towards others. We all have that fire within us because we all have an innate, programed desire to know and love God. Sometimes, its just hard to give that desire enough fuel to burn bright. But you know what? Even on days when that fire is a little dim, if you ask the Lord to renew that fire and that passion, He will do it!
"Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."
1 Chronicles 16:11
Here are some really cool resources that I have used at one time or another!
Proverbs 31 Ministries - You can sign up to get FREE devotionals sent to your inbox every day!
First 5 app - also associated with Proverbs 31 and it's a devo for the first five minutes of your day and from what I understand, it's synced up with your alarm!
She Reads Truth - This is also an free app with the Bible and TONS of plans, free and paid.
He Reads Truth - Same thing but for guys!
SoulScripts - Jordan Lee Dooley posts things pretty often on her blog. You can also get devos and how-to guides through a paid subscription.
YouVersion bible app - FREE app that has TONS of devotional plans!
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Let's Be Brave by yours truly! A link is available where you can purchase LBB!
If there's anything I missed or a really good male-oriented plan please tell me in the comments below! I'd love to add more to this list! What has worked for you?
You can share your thoughts below or use the #hsfoundations on social media!