Why do I not feel inspired by anything in this chapter of Scripture?
Why does it feel like I’m praying to the ceiling instead of to the Father?
Why can’t I seem to memorize this super short Bible passage?
Why can’t I hear the Lord speaking to me through this worship song?
Why can’t I think of anything to praise God for?
These are valid questions that I believe most Christian women ask themselves—at least occasionally—after having a less-than-perfect quiet time.
Unfortunately, in asking these (and similar) questions, we usually make our quiet time less about God and more about us.
About us in how we feel (or don’t feel) afterward. About us in what we get (or don’t get) out of it. About us in where we see (or don’t see) growth as a result of our quiet time effort.
But what if having a quiet time isn’t really about you? What if having a quiet time is really about trying to obey the Lord and draw close to Him?
Because, honestly, your quiet time will never be good enough. I know that might sound discouraging initially, but it’s actually very encouraging.
Here’s what I mean: If you’re depending on yourself to feel inspired after reading every chapter of Scripture, feel exhilarated after praying every prayer, easily memorize every Bible passage, hear God speak through every worship song, and burst into praise during every moment with God, then your quiet time will never be good enough. If every occasion that you set aside to spend with the Lord has to be perfect, then you’ll lose sight of Him in the process of trying to perfect your quiet time. He’ll lose importance to you as you focus on fickle feelings, irritating insecurities, and extravagant expectations.
In reality, the “goodness” of your quiet time can’t be measured on a scale from “terrible” to “terrific.” God doesn’t measure your quiet time that way, and you shouldn’t either! What matters most is that you meet with the Lord—consistently, submissively, and purposefully.
David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon, saying, “Is the Lord your God not with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has handed over to me the inhabitants of the land, and the land is subdued before the Lord and before His people. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God; then arise, and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the Lord.” (1 Chronicles 22:17-19 NASB, emphasis mine)
This passage is fascinating to me because, in commanding his son Solomon to build the temple, David knew that Solomon would have to be purposeful in his decision-making and in his follow-through. David understood that in order for Solomon to be successful in following God’s will, Solomon would have to set his heart and soul to seek God. He had to make sure that his desire to seek the Lord—not his emotions—was the driving force.
The same is true for your quiet time.
When you don’t feel inspired, read your Bible anyway. When you don’t feel like God is paying attention, pray anyway. When you can’t seem to memorize a Scripture passage, memorize anyway. When you can’t hear Him speaking to you through worship, worship anyway. When you don’t feel like praising Him, praise Him anyway.
Satan would love for the perfect to become the enemy of the good in this area of your life. If he tells you that (1) your salvation isn’t genuine or (2) you’re not really growing in Christ or (3) having a quiet time isn’t worth the effort because you feel like your quiet time will never be good enough, run to the Lord in search of the truth! Weed out the lies from the truth and live by the truth—because every time you skip your quiet time because you feel like it will never be good enough, Satan wins.
We shouldn’t expect our quiet time to be perfect because we’re not perfect. We simply need to come to the Lord consistently, submissively, and purposefully. He’ll take care of the rest.
- Think about your quiet time last week and how you felt before, during, and after. If you have any concerns about how you felt (or didn’t feel), give those over to God.
- Make a list of 10 truths about God that don’t depend on your fickle feelings.
- Ask yourself what a grace-based quiet time—rather than emotions-based quiet time—looks like in your own life.
|About Grace: Enjoys spending time with her family, hanging out with friends, and watching her favorite TV shows. She is the author of Real Recovery: What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like (2022). She shares her struggles at her blog, Tizzie's Tidbits of Truth.|