The working mom’s common-sense guide to a quiet time
I see you there.
I see you wake the kids up for school, and then get yourself ready and out the door while it’s still dark. I see you work hard all day with deadlines, demands and domineering co-workers before you have to pick up the kids, help with homework, make dinner, and tuck them into bed. I see you clean the kitchen, answer email, and converse with your spouse. I see you fall asleep with the book open.
I see you because I’ve been you.
It’s a full and wonderful life, but it’s simultaneously exhausting and frustrating.
So what do we do when we know we’re “supposed to” have a quiet time every day, but we don’t know when or how? Carving out time to read the Bible and pray sounds like a luxury when life’s held together by spit and duct tape.
While I’m thankful for spit and duct tape, I’ve learned that a working mom’s inability to have a quiet time stems from one of these three sources.
1. We have unreasonable expectations.
When it comes to our quiet time, we believe that it should look like an hour in the morning, hot coffee, solitude, a candle, a Bible, and Jesus. Our expectations make us resentful toward reality, which doesn’t allow for this ideal.
2. We think in extremes.
We suffer from the cognitive distortion of all-or-nothing thinking, where we live in black and white. We believe that, if we can’t have the type of quiet time we expect, then we shouldn’t have one at all.
3. We extrapolate routines from a previous season into our new one.
We believe that whatever worked in the past should work now. When we try to practice old routines in new seasons, we get frustrated and give up when they don’t fit into our current life. This feels like a failure.
And as try-hard girls, we’ll avoid anything, even if it’s time with Jesus, if it makes us feel like failures.
But we don’t have to feel like failures—it is possible to have a quiet time no matter how busy the season. Go here for a free resource to help you plan out your quiet time, complete with book and app recommendations.
Friends, here are six steps you can use to implement a quiet time and overcome frustration and exhaustion.
1. Remember the “why” and the “Who.”
Anytime we start a new quiet time routine, we gotta understand the why. Clarifying our motivation will carry us through the times when we’re just not feeling it. Then, remembering who God is and His deep and abiding love for us is crucial to understanding that a quiet time isn’t a task to check off our list.
Ask: Why do you want to have a quiet time? Why is spending time in God’s word and in prayer important to you? Ask God to remind you how much He loves you.
2. Ask God what He expects of you.
Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Do we really believe that He’ll ask us to do anything that’s harsh to our heart?? Sure, He may challenge us to wake up a bit earlier or give up that TV show, but He’s never demanding or cruel. He knows our season, and He knows us.
Ask: Ask Him, at this point in your life, what is needed for you to keep your relationship with Him vital? Ask God what He expects of you.
3. Evaluate your schedule.
We carve out time for what’s important to us. Our priorities get our attention…and our time.
Ask: What takes up a lot of time but isn’t super-important? Is it TV watching, scrolling through Facebook, or kids sports? I know, I know—poor kids sports!
4. Start small.
You know how every year at New Year’s we make these grand proclamations to live in ways that are 180 degrees opposite of our current life?
Don’t do that.
Take one baby step. Get up five minutes earlier or bring your devotional to lunch and eat at your desk. Pray right there at the sink as you wash dishes. Keep your Bible open on your bathroom counter as you blow-dry your hair. To learn from my idiot quiet time moves over the years, go here.
Ask: What do you already do that could be leveraged to get in more time with God?
5. Update your expectations from one season to the next.
Just like our phone’s operating system needs updating, our expectations and routines need an update as we move from one season to the next. What served us well last season may not work for this one.
Ask: What are you trying to force into this season that isn’t working? Then, shift your thinking or logistics.
6. Remember that your identity is not found in the expectations you meet.
Our identity is nestled securely in Jesus Christ, who is the author and perfector of our faith. He totally wants to spend time with us, but He also wants us to be gentle with ourselves when we don’t.
Ask: Where do you find your identity? Ask God to reveal how He sees you.
God sees you there.
God not only sees you, but He knows your heart. He knows your struggles when you’re out the door while it’s still dark.
He is just as crazy about you whether you had a 60-minute quiet time (complete with candle) or one on the go. God sees you, He hears you, and He’s with you always.