Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A New Beginning

Have I recently mentioned that I am not a morning person? I'm not a morning person when I wake up at my normal time of 6 or 6:30. I am most definitely not a morning person at 5 am.

But this is when I have to drag myself out of bed to have my quiet time. Because, you know, one of the qualifications of quiet time is that it's actually quiet while you're doing it. The cacophony of two children getting ready for school/the babysitter is hardly conducive to studying the Word and prayer!

I renewed my pledge to have a consistent quiet time last September. You can read here and here about my experience. According to my journal and blog entries, that commitment lasted all of about 2 months. The holidays arrived with all of the extra stuff to do and my quiet time was the first thing to be pushed to the side. I am here to report that my family noticed it. They couldn't have put their finger on it exactly, but the quiet and gentle spirit that I was praying for during my time alone with God went away with the disappearance of the special time set aside for just the two of us.

I felt more stressed and I was less patient with Trevor and the kids. I felt a disconnect at church and with my friends. Coincidence? I think not. My prayer life was in shambles and I felt so out of touch with God in a very personal way. The longer I rebelled, the worse I felt about myself and my life in general. Never mind the guilt and stress of commenting on all of my favorite blogs as though I had it completely together in all areas. In case you were wondering, smugness is not a fruit of the spirit.

Monday I decided to pick myself up and dust off the dirt the world is always leaving on me, and begin my quiet time. I'm pretty sure this won't be the last time that I have to start over, but praise God, I'm doing it! I have felt such a peace this week, and I know that starting my day in the Word and prayer is the reason. My heart (and my head) knows that I need this. I covet this time alone with God and know that I will be renewed each morning, but I really struggle with my faithfulness.

So, how do you guys stay faithful in your quiet time each day? I'm so tired of feeling like I've failed over and over again. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about how to maintain the motivation to stick with it.


luvmy4sons said...

Good for you! You go girl! God will help you! Me? Basically I gave up that quiet time idea of bright and early in the morning. I knew that I would forever be failing it. I accepted that this is a busy season with all my children around me, home schooling etc...So I grab moments with the Lord as I teach Bible to the children and do devotions with them; and I pray by writing in my prayer journal while I bike on my staionary bicycle( that is 6 days a week for half an hour each day). It's quite the picture. I have ear phones in my ears to keep my legs going at a nice clip and I am holding a legal note pad and scribbling my thoughts and pouring out my heart to God. USUALLY it is after hubby leaves and before the kids get up. Sometimes though it is after the kids devotions while they get started on their work. I grab a moment here and there when I actually get it and try to stay regular with the prayer journal daily. Bible time at this point comes more from what I am teaching to my children. A season will come in the future when I can have a nice organized quiet time with Bible reading followed by prayer all by my little lonesome without doubling up on activities. For now, this is what I have to do. I admire you for trying to stay with the 5'ish hour. 6 AM is as early as I do! LOL! Which means I usually start my time around 6:45 or 7 after hubby leaves.

Leah in Iowa said...

I'll be watching your comments on this one, as it's something I always seem to struggle with as well. Why is it usually the first thing to go when we get busy, when we know and can see how God blesses us by being obedient in this way? Ack!!

Rhonda said...

Xandra - Did you know that 2008 is a year of 'new beginnings'?? Looks like this is actually quite timely for you. :)

Karen said...

Wonderful post, Xandra. I still struggle with this, too. Now that my kids are older, it's a bit easier. I work from home so you'd think I'd have it down pat -- get the kids to school and take a half an hour or so. But, it's so easy to jump into whatever is on my list (except push-ups!lol) I'm most successful in the summer months, when I can sit out on my back porch, early in the morning with a cup of coffee and my basket of bible, journal and pens. If I were working outside the home, I think I would do what you're doing and just try to get up earlier. I would get an automatic coffee maker, so I could smell the brew before I got up! (a friend of mind has one in her bedroom, with a chair and her books, so she doesn't even leave the bedroom. Her kids know not to disturb her when she's in her prayer corner.)

Sometimes I get in a routine where I'll have Bible time about an hour or so before bed. The house is quiet, I have a cup of tea, and if I get sleepy and nod off, what better way to fall asleep?

Karen said...

P.S. Pressed the send button too soon. I meant to add that like so many things with kids, things are always changing. Try it one way for a while and be open to changing it and looking for another time when they're schedules (or moods or whims) change.

The Young's said...

Thanks for your honesty Xandra. I SO struggle with this too. Mornings are a KILLER for me. We get up in just enough time to get Sophie dressed and rush her out the door to school. I'm exhausted doing that...i cannot imagine how I can make myself get up at 5am. seems that's the only thing to do in order to get that quiet time. I had someone tell me, getting up for quiet time in the morning...begins at night. You have to MAKE yourself go to bed it isn't so hard to wake up. That is SO where I am wrong. I am such a night person...and it's almost midnight every night when I go to bed. Do you think that's my problem!!! :) Anyway, I need to work on this also. Thanks for your honesty. Hopefully we'll all be having successful mornings!!! have a great day!

Andrea said...

Kudos to you!!

I have to admit, I struggle with this immenseley, and am hardly one to be giving any advice or suggestions. But if YOU figure it out, could you let ME know??

Anonymous said...

I totally hear you Xandra! I too have struggled with this and I've gone through seasons where I easily do the 5am thing and it works for a while then either my body goes through a 'weird phase' and struggles with getting up that early (like now being pregnant) or something else stops me from making that early morning I just switch. When I can't make it in the morning I'll do a longer devotion at night before bed or grab my chance when the kids are napping in the afternoon.

Basically I just go with the flow now and I reckon God's ok with that :) Some days I get to spend a lot of time with Him alone, sometimes it's alot of time while I'm with others (on going prayer in my head as I do things). I too write down a lot of my prayers in a journal and my book follows me around all over the house (and into the car when I go out) so between chores and activities I may scribble away for a few minutes or write down my thoughts about a scripture etc.

And yes there are days when I miss my devotions all together...I used to beat myself up about that, now I know to just pick myself up and keep going - God knows how much I love Him and His Grace is infinite.

Alana said...

Honestly, I've never done a good job with this. Recently (as in the last six months) I have been doing better. However, I rarely do it in the morning even when I am on track.

Don't have great advice for you, but I hope you are able to stick with it!

myra said...

I try to read the Bible every day. I don't often have an extended time when I am sitting somewhere with my Bible and reflecting. Those times are good, though, when I have them. I listen to Christian radio or Christian cds in the car on my commute to and from work. I pray then, almost always. Time to connect with God is anytime and always...

Crystal said...

We just had a Bible Conference at our church and the first message was on reading God's Word! It was amazing! Christian's should have a natural desire to be in God's Word. And while that is true in my life I've often found it hard to stay consistant. I'd be a 4 or 5 day a week reader instead of 7, you know what I mean? My eye's were really opened up Sunday though and I have began to pray that God would create in me a deep desire for His Word, may it be satisfying and fulfilling to my soul!! I want it to become so much a desire and need that I cannot go without it. I mean that's one of those prayers that you know He's gonna answer!
His Word is His Word.. if that makes sense! We are given a glimpse of who He is through those precious pages! How else can we know Him more? Anyway, This is just something that has been going over in my heart the past few days!
As far as my reading schedule... I am NOT a morning person. Luckily I stay at home and my son is not usually up until about 8. So here lately, most mornings I'm up by 7ish, get a quick shower and then spend time in prayer and the Word. If it doesn't happen in the AM then I have my quiet time when my son naps in the afternoon. I don't have a clue what I would do if I worked.. but I know me.. and 5am would be tough! Good for you!