Tuesday, October 16, 2018

quiet time habits and helps

Time with God is so important to me.  It always comes first in my life, and I prefer for that to happen before I carry on with my day.  I don't always jump out of bed and have this time like I used to, because I started feeling like I wasn't "awake" enough to let it absorb.  There is no time schedule for me with this, because I do not work outside of my home.  I have my cups of coffee, I make breakfast and lunches for the people leaving each morning, and once they're out the door is when it usually happens.

Some days I have to leave my house early, though, and on those days I will have this time later on in the day.  I can always make time to pray, though, and I will do that while I'm getting dressed or if I'm driving in my car alone.  It's the reading part that will sometimes have to take place later in the day.  And then sometimes I'll get caught up in the events of the day, and I will very occasionally miss it altogether.  I'm okay if it's just one day or two, but if I get three or more days behind in my bible reading plan, it's hard for me to catch back up.  

Speaking of plans, it is good to have a bible reading plan.  I know of some people that can play Russian roulette with their bible, and open it up and pick a spot and read there just for the day, but that is not me.  I need to always have a plan.  Currently, I am reading through the bible in a year, in chronological order.  I've done this several times with the women in my church, and it's one of my favorite ways to read the bible.  We are in the Gospels right now, in the New Testament, and the reading is so good.  

When I'm not doing the chronological reading, I will pick books to read through at a time.  I like consistency, and because I'm a reader (I think), I prefer to go book by book.  It seems more complete to me, to do it that way, but I know it could just be different for me.  Earlier in the year when I was reading through a portion of the bible that was particularly difficult, I added some reading plans to the one I was already doing, because I needed to read the word and GET it.  This was when we were going through all those good and bad kings in the Old Testament.  

One of my favorite things to do in my quiet time is to write out scripture.  I started this three or four years ago, in November, when I saw a plan on social media, and I continued for two or three years in a row.  This year I stopped, because I knew just reading the bible in a year would prove to be challenging for me again.  For some reason, though, this month, I started doing scripture writing again.  I am LOVING it, and I honestly think the Lord just had me do this because He knew what a blessing it would be for me right now.  

I don't just turn to the passage and write it out and then be done.  I open my bible and read it first.  Sometimes I read it again, out loud.  If it's not already underlined in my bible, I will underline it, and then I will write it out.  I also love to pray what I read.  You just take whatever scripture you're reading and personalize it for your prayer.  I know I did that on this day, when I was writing scripture from Ecclesiastes.  I used to do this on notebook paper and I have it all in a big binder, but now I just use my journal for this.  If this is something you are interested in, just go swtblessings.com for a plan for each month.  She no longer does them by the month names, but she has been doing them by themes.  For instance, the theme for this month is purpose.  You can just pick a theme, print it out or get the wallpaper for your phone, and then start.

Speaking of journals, I do this a lot.  There is no rhyme or reason for what all I write.  I got out of this habit over the summer, for some reason, and I really missed it.  I had my summer journal that was all cute, but it ended up being mostly church notes.  When school started back, I called it a day with that journal and shelved it, and then began fresh with a new one.  You read that right.  I don't always finish journals, and I am totally okay with that.  I get a lot of journals for Christmas, because everyone knows how much I love them, and I love receiving them as gifts.  Last year, though, I hit the journal jackpot, and I am STILL using all the ones I got for my birthday or for Christmas.  

Here are all the things I put inside my journals.  (I already mentioned church notes and scripture writing.)  I always write down all the prayer requests I have, either for me or for someone else.  I have to do this, or I would be unable to keep up with what I tell people I'll pray for.  If I tell someone I will pray for them, I almost always stop right there and pray, either with them in person or over the phone, or for them while I'm at home and I've commented that on social media.  Occasionally I will forget to do that, but the Lord is always so faithful to remind me of what I said, and then I will pray immediately, when He brings it to my mind.  

I write down my days.  Call it a bullet journal style format, or a to-do list, but some days are really busy, and I will have so much to remember that if I don't write it all down, I will forget it all.  I have to do this to keep me sane.  Not everyday is like that, like yesterday.  I stayed home all day, but I did have some things I wanted to accomplish, so I wrote it all down and got most of it done.  (I didn't clean or vacuum, like I said I would, but I sure did finish my third book for the month.)  I like checking things off a list.  It makes me feel so productive.

So often, I write out my prayers, especially when I'm so frustrated that all I want to do is cry.  I really hate crying when people are around, so I just write down whatever is on my heart, in a letter form to the Lord.  He is omniscient (meaning, He knows EVERYTHING) and He knows my heart and what is going on inside of it, so I know that type of prayer "counts".  Sometimes these type of prayers are angry or frustrated, and sometimes they're just heart wrenching, like when I pray every single day for TWO people in my life right now.  (I pray for many more, but these two people are in heartbreaking situations right now, and families have been destroyed and torn apart because of the sin they're walking in.)

I keep track of all the good things that happen.  God is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), and I love to reflect on all that He has done.  Nothing helps me do that more than writing it all down.  I love to see how He answered prayers I prayed.  I also just love to write down all the things I want to remember.  When Drew got his first A on his college A & P class, I wrote it down, and then I wrote out a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God, for hearing my plea on Drew's behalf and helping him to do his very best.  I remember when Jonah was seven, he taught himself how to ride a bike without holding on.  I found that journal recently, and I reread the entry for that day.  I had forgotten it, but it was something so little that made Jonah so happy that I wanted to remember it forever.  

I also write down ideas for things like blog posts, new recipes I want to try, a bible study I want to write, books I want to read, and people I need to reach out to that I haven't spoken with in a while.  

One last thing, and that is that I use my bible.  By "use", I mean I write in it, I write out prayers, I write people's names the Lord may bring to mind while I'm reading a passage, I write some of my pastor's sermon in the margins, I underline, highlight, and use colored pens.  I have a closet full of bibles that I've marked all up, and I want my boys to have them someday when I'm no longer here.  If I want to teach or show them one thing, it is that I love Jesus, and I love the word of God.  I want them to know why I prayed certain things for them, and I will write it all out in the pages of my bible, next to the passage.  I have my grandmother's bible, and that means the world to me, seeing all that she wrote in the pages of her bible.  I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

One thing I know: life is hard.  Without Jesus, it is completely hopeless.  Even WITH Him, it is still hard, but we have His word to read, study, meditate on, and teach to our children.  I cannot imagine even ONE SECOND of walking this life without Him by my side.  I pray I never experience that...while He will never leave us or forsake us, we can certainly turn our backs on Him.  I know one person who is walking that right now, and she is one of the people I pray for every single day.  I pray that the Lord always helps me to cling to Him like no one or nothing else.  

If you want to talk more about that, or any of this above, reach out to me!  Comment or email me at allboys@gmail.com.  I pray this inspires someone to get started with their quiet times again, or maybe even for the first time.  Thank you for reading my blog!  Love to all.  


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  Hi, friends, I hope you had a good weekend! I'm linking up with   Holly  and  Sarah  for today's post.  Fridays are very different...