Managing Quiet Time Expectations
By: Grace McCready
You’ve been praying for the same thing for three months, every single day. But you don’t hear God saying anything.
You’ve been reading the book of Leviticus for your Bible reading plan. But you don’t understand why it’s even in the Bible.
You’ve been trying to incorporate worship into your quiet time. But you don’t get the same vibes that you get from worshiping God at church.
You’ve been sitting in silence for a few minutes during each of your quiet times. But you don’t feel anything except loneliness in the silence.
You’ve been attempting to memorize short passages of Scripture. But you don’t seem to have the gift for memorization that ministry leaders seem to have.
These things make your quiet time incredibly un-glamorous, but so do your constantly changing thoughts and emotions. Anger, anxiety, disappointment, fear, frustration, and a hundred other feelings overwhelm your quiet time. Sometimes, you simply can’t focus. Your heart, mind, and body are squirmy.
There are certainly challenges to having a regular quiet time. But those challenges only increase if you believe that your quiet time must somehow be attractive or feel sophisticated. When we have that expectation and our time with Jesus consistently falls short of our expectations it’s easy to begin wondering if it’s even worth the effort.
The devil absolutely loves to side-track us into such thoughts. Here are some of his favorite doubts to share with believers.
“Why pray if you’re not going to get the response you want?”
“Why read the Bible if you’re going to feel confused?”
“Why worship if you’re going to be bored?”
“Why be silent if you’re going to feel lonely?”
“Why memorize Scripture if you’re going to struggle with it so much?”
Satan is an expert at making us doubt. I’ve fallen into his traps of doubts countless times, and I still fall into them. But it’s an unhealthy place to be.
Perhaps no one has directly told you, “Hey, your quiet time needs to look like _____.” But, deep down, you believe that your quiet time has to look a certain way, almost glamorous. A time of complete silence, complete focus, and complete refreshment.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a quiet time when there was complete silence, complete focus, and complete refreshment.
Remember, dear friend, that you are so, so human. Humans are fallible, limited, tired, and easily distracted. I know it stinks, but that’s who you are on this earth. I promise that God knows how human you are.
Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our form; He is mindful that we are nothing but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; like a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place no longer knows about it. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting for those who fear Him, and His justice to the children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts, so as to do them. (Psalm 103:13-18 NASB, emphasis mine)
I know it’s easy to do, but don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself for your quiet time to somehow look glamorous or attractive or inspiring. Your quiet time doesn’t belong on a pedestal. (In fact, no one’s quiet time does.) The pedestal belongs to God alone. So put Him there and make your quiet time about Him instead of about how it looks, what you do, or how you feel while doing it.
-Form realistic expectations for your quiet time.
-Don’t get side-tracked by doubts and lies from Satan.
-Make your quiet time about Jesus—nothing less.
Grace McCready is a recent college grad who studied business administration and communications. She enjoys writing, spending time with her family, and hanging out with friends. Her passion is for young women to live transparently and thrive during their single years. She blogs about the Christian life at Tizzie’s Tidbits of Truth.