i don’t have quiet time every day.
i said it.
i realize it’s a common thing, actually – probably more common than not – nevertheless, in our age of sharing where you’re having your quiet time on instagram or posting scripture on facebook every day, there’s this underlying pressure (at least, i feel it) that every day, you should have a passage of scripture you’re thinking about.
and don’t get me wrong – none of what i’m going to say here is trying to insinuate that we should read the bible less or that it’s somehow not a good thing to read the bible – that would be utter nonsense.
that said, i don’t always have a passage of scripture that i’m thinking about every day. i don’t read the bible every day, not because i set out to not read, but often because i don’t set out to read. (there’s a difference.) i was talking with some friends in the car the other day about why this is the case – and i’m sure this isn’t ground-breaking, but – it can be so difficult to approach the bible when the setting just isn’t right.
and/or, when the setting seems to vary.
and/or, when the receptacle seems to vary from day to day.
that is, the word of God is unchanged and unchanging…
…but i ain’t.
i reckon i alluded to this a little bit in my last post – the idea that one day, i can be in a good mood and have gotten a good night’s sleep and i don’t have anywhere to be for a few hours and this is usually a great time for me to have quiet time. i usually have more time to chew on things and process it, to work through what it actually means and what it says about God and the truth may sink deep (and on a really good day i may actually memorize something!) and it’s good quiet time.
of course, not every day is like that.
some days i wake up after five hours of sleep sore from working outside the day before, and i walk into the kitchen and i’m out of coffee. and it’s raining or windy or cold outside so i can’t read the bible on the porch but my living room is messy and i’m thinking about how i need to clean it, and how i should text that guy about the thing i told him i was gonna do, and oh, i have to be somewhere in 45 minutes. then i can’t remember what i read yesterday (or last week) and fumble around for something to read and its something in some minor prophet but it doesn’t seem terribly relevant and although i know that the whole bible is about Jesus, i’m moody and tired and can’t think straight, so i say a quick prayer and say “thanks, God, for giving us Your word,” and i’ve had quiet time but i don’t feel any different.
and if i keep waiting for every day to be ideal, then i’ll never do it.
and if i keep waiting for every session of ‘quiet time’ to be revelatory or groundbreaking, then some days i’d have to carve out two or three hours.
some days, our receptors are off. sometimes, the lid is still on the jar when we try to pour water into it. sometimes, we try and water the plants without first turning the valve…
and this post isn’t about some secret to having great bible-reading. i DON’T HAVE ONE. do you?
no, i’m only writing (however inconclusively) to say that i reckon we should get to it anyway. that we should read anyway. and keep reading and keep praying and keep seeking the Lord, even when He seems silent or quietly whispering or talking conversationally or thunderingly. Paul tells Timothy that godliness is of value in every way. but he says that while comparing it to bodily exercise, and if i have the liberty, i have projected a couple of my own thoughts into this subject, given what i think about bodily exercise.
i run sometimes.
sometimes when i run, i feel great. i haven’t eaten in a bit so i don’t feel heavy, it feels nice outside, my shoes are good, the grass feels good, the music is just right. it’s a great run.
other times, i feel horrible. i feel heavy, sore, tired, winded, out of shape, out of practice. but for the most part, the run still works my (physical) heart in a positive way, and therefore its beneficial, even if i don’t like it that day. or even if i’m just indifferent.
maybe spiritual exercise is like that. we don’t always get some big revelation, we don’t always cry when we’re in the presence of God. the songs we sing don’t always feel right. maybe it doesn’t sink in. or it does – you are spurred on to something good, you are endowed with a fresh sense of peace, or kindness, or joy, etc. i’m beginning to think that it’s a both/and – its still good for us to read the Word, pray, worship, etc even when we don’t feel great afterwards. in the same way that not every day with a spouse is like your honeymoon, perhaps it is the case that not every day with God is going to be especially supernatural.