By: Kate van der Hoeven
I smack my alarm as it buzzes in my ear. I throw on my clothes for the day and sit down to read my Bible. There are no candles, no flowers, no colored pens… Only 30 precious minutes before I run off to work. As I close my Bible and say a prayer of blessing over the day and my family, I feel a twinge of guilt. At this stage of my life, I’m not able to spend hours studying the Bible. The time I do spend is sweet and I’m learning things, but am I doing my Quiet Time right? It sure isn’t Pinterest perfect. Am I showing enough care and attention? Is God happy with it? Is there even a “right” way to have my Quiet Time?
We all experience guilt about what our Quiet Time should look like; especially when life is hectic and there isn’t much “quiet” to be had. Maybe we don’t feel very holy as we read and pray. Maybe we don’t think we’re giving it enough time or focus. Maybe we feel that twinge when we see the Instagram posts from friends about how perfect their morning with the Lord was while ours looked more like our lives: messy.
Whenever we feel guilt over anything it’s important that we question it. Is it founded in truth? Is there really something we need to be changing? Is this the Holy Spirit’s conviction or Satan’s accusing?
In my case I had to ask: “Do I really not have the time for a deep Quiet Time or am I procrastinating or even prioritizing the wrong things?”
As I asked this, another question stirred in my mind: “What if the guilt I feel is false?”
What if we are simply feeling guilty because we’ve built up in our minds that our Quiet Time with the Lord needs to look a certain way? If you’ve also struggled with this sort of false guilt over less-than-perfect Quiet Times, I have three encouragements for you:
Life is not meant to be “Candle-lit Perfect”
Some seasons of life truly make it hard to have our “ideal” Quiet Time. Our lives are often far from quiet. We may be reading a few verses as we run out the door, whispering prayers throughout the day, and singing praise songs to and from appointments rather than physically sitting in quiet. That’s just the truth of some seasons of our lives.
The most important thing is that we are quieting our hearts before the Lord and taking time to seek and know him more as we rest our cares upon him. We may not be able to study with flowers and colored pens surrounding us, but that does not mean our “Quiet Time” is any less holy. When we come before the Throne in humble submission to learn and to grow, God can use whatever place we are in and whatever time we have.
Give False Guilt to Jesus
Guilt should always drive us back to Jesus. If it’s from Him then we go to Him to repent and get help. If it’s false guilt then we go to Him to be rid of it. He has given us our seasons of life and we are not sinners because our Quiet Time looks different from others’ or different from the ideal in our minds.
“Quiet” is not the point
The most important thing about our so called “Quiet Time” is not the quiet. We are on a lifelong mission to build our relationship with God. We need to have a plan. No matter how disorganized our lives are, we need to be spending time working on our most important relationship. Our world can be falling apart around us, but peace and quiet can reign within when we stop focusing on how our Quiet Time looks and start prioritizing our time with God. We need a constant focus and movement towards God and eternity. Your Quiet Time’s worth is not based on what you’re doing or how well you’re doing it but on Who you’re spending time with: Jesus.
We might always fight some measure of guilt about our Quiet Times. There will always be someone who seems to be having a more profitable time with God than us. There will always be more we could do to improve it. But as we seek to improve our Quiet Time and draw closer to God, do not let others and their different seasons of life create guilt about your own. May our busy lives just drive us to Jesus and may our guilt, true or false, be drowned in His grace.
Kate is kid number 7 of 10 in her family, and her life has never had a dull moment! Growing up in a homeschooling, Christian home in Kentucky, Kate was raised to love God and His Word. She currently works at a local orchard, and fills her time with reading, archery, and piano playing. It is her firm belief that we never stop growing to be more like Jesus as we actively pursue Him.