This article is excerpted from Quiet by Naomi Vacaro.
We will all face new seasons at some point, whether it’s moving to a new place, enrolling in classes, starting a new job, getting married, or having children. These new life circumstances can derail our daily routines, including our quiet time. It can be discouraging to watch our spiritual disciplines fall apart seemingly overnight.
In the midst of a transition, it helps to remember why regular Bible reading and prayer are so important. The “how” of a quiet time may change over the years, but the “why” stays the same. When we keep in mind that spending time with Jesus is all about growing closer to him, we will be able to gracefully adapt our routines to fit the season we’re in.
Having a daily quiet time when you’re in high school can almost feel like extra homework, which makes it a difficult habit to develop. That’s why, in my opinion, the best way to maintain a rhythm of Bible reading and prayer in this stage is to keep it simple.
Instead of structuring your quiet time around a list of goals, you can make it time oriented instead. For example, you might decide to spend fifteen to thirty minutes meeting with Jesus. You could also try bringing your Bible to school and reading it over lunch or during breaks between classes. Challenge yourself to read and study the Bible, establishing it as a habit in your life.
Our need for God doesn’t diminish as our schedules fill up. If we train ourselves to depend on the Lord when we’re young, it will be easier to do so later in life when even more responsibilities get added.
The years after high school represent some of the most significant changes we experience. During this transitional period, we transform from dependent minors to independent adults responsible for our own decisions.
At this stage, it’s up to you to decide whether you will walk away from your home-grown faith or if your faith will be solidified. Will you quit your walk with God, or will you bring yourself to face the hard questions and claim your faith for yourself?
Maybe having a quiet time was more your parents’ idea than your own during high school, but once you step into independence, those routines can either change for the better or be dropped altogether. It no longer works to read the Bible and pray just because your parents told you to. Now it’s up to you to do it because you want to.
If you’re in college, with a heavy class load, work responsibilities, and a new social life to cultivate, it can be challenging to stick with a quiet-time routine. You might try waking up early enough to have a quiet time before your classes. Another possibility is to finish your assignments at a reasonable hour in the evenings so you can spend time with Jesus before going to bed. It may be necessary to say no to some activities on campus if you want to maintain a regular quiet time.
Life is full of new freedoms and responsibilities in the years following high school, and it’s easy for your quiet time to end up on the back burner. But you need the Lord now more than ever!
Another huge transition is entering the work force. For the first time, school is behind you, and you enter the working world. All at once you’re accountable to an employer, you have a limited number of hours at home, and you have only a handful of vacation days to enjoy throughout the year. Instead of being taken care of by your parents, you assume responsibility for rent, bills, and other financial obligations.
Your quiet time can be greatly disrupted by this transition, mainly because it’s overwhelming to work forty hours every week at a new (and likely demanding) job. Learning the ropes of a new role takes time, and it’s tempting to put all your energy and focus into your new career responsibilities and leave your quiet time behind.
However, the consistency of a job can actually benefit your quiet time. Chances are, you have a little more predictability in your schedule, and you probably know your work hours in advance. This allows you to choose a time for Bible reading and prayer, and then stick with it.
The transition from being single to married also has the potential to throw your quiet time way off.
If you are newly married and struggling with your quiet-time routine, remember: it doesn’t matter how you come to Jesus; it just matters that you do come to him! It may feel awkward to have your quiet time in front of your spouse, but time with Jesus is worth it, and it will eventually get more comfortable. It might also be motivating to your spouse to see you practicing a regular quiet time.
So give yourself time and patience as you adjust to being married. It may take months to find your new quiet-time rhythm, and that’s okay! Don’t give up, get creative, and trust that even though your quiet time might have to change, God’s love for you never does.
The truth is, being a mother, especially of little ones, is more than a full-time job. It is a 24/7 demand for your attention. The younger your children are, the more hands-on your mothering needs to be. It’s not that downtime doesn’t exist at all; rather, it’s that quiet moments are far outnumbered by the demands of your to-do list.
As soon as the baby goes down for a nap, you can choose between ten different items that all need to be done. Laundry needs to be folded, dishes need to be washed, floors need to be swept, emails need to be responded to, groceries need to be bought, budgets need to be balanced, and plants need to be watered, along with dozens of other time-consuming tasks. It’s a race to complete what you can before the baby wakes up.
The decision to sit down and pray feels much costlier when you become a mother, especially when time spent with Jesus could be used for showering or taking a much-needed nap. Nevertheless, communing with the Lord in some form needs to be a top priority for mothers, because casting our cares on him is just as necessary as showering every day. Being a mom is harder when we neglect our spiritual needs. So it really is better for the dishes to be delayed or the laundry to be temporarily set aside than it is for our souls to be left untended. Time with Christ, though difficult and costly, is essential, especially when we’re knee deep in the trenches of motherhood.
When we’re feeling overwhelmed by everything that’s competing for our attention, it helps to remember that this season won’t last forever. Time might be scarce with a newborn, but soon that baby will sleep on a more consistent schedule and be more capable of self-entertaining. One day they may even be able to help watch younger siblings! At some point, children can be trained to remain in their bedrooms until a certain time so you can spend some uninterrupted moments with Jesus, or they can be taught to have their own quiet time while you have yours. The form may change as your children grow up; the important thing is not to forsake Bible reading and prayer altogether.
It also helps to remember that we don’t spend time with Jesus solely for our own benefit. Our children need us to seek Jesus. They need us to have our cups filled by the water of life, and they need to witness our example as we make it a priority to daily meet with our Creator. The truth is, only God’s grace can transform an overwhelmed mother into a peaceful, patient, joyful caregiver. So let’s look to him in faith every day to do just that.
Quiet by Naomi Vacaro
A new approach to quiet time that will refresh your heart and soul.
So many of us struggle to create space in our daily routines for time with God. We deeply desire to feel close to Him, but we are constantly asking,
- How do I create a quiet space with God in my busy, chaotic schedule?
- Why does having a quiet time require so much effort?
- Am I the only one who feels this way?
We know that setting aside quiet moments with God is important, but for one reason or another, meeting with him on a regular basis just feels hard. In Quiet, Naomi Vacaro, creator of the online community Wholehearted and the Quiet Time Companion journal, offers hope and a unique solution for creating (and maintaining) a quiet-time habit. Naomi will show readers that having daily time with God is simple, attractive, and achievable no matter what season of life they are in. In Quiet she’ll explore
- what it means to practice a grace-based approach to quiet time,
- quiet-time ruts and how to get out of them,
- and how to conquer feelings of guilt and failure—and move into freedom instead.
Time with God can happen anytime, anywhere, and Quiet will help you create new habits to keep you uplifted and enjoy the grace God freely offers.