One of the top questions I get asked is, “What devotional do you use?” Or some kind of question about how I study the Bible and read for my quiet time.
I get it! Trying to figure out the best and most effective way to tackle your Bible can be overwhelming.
I used to think if I wasn’t getting some huge revelation every morning from diving into my Bible, then I wasn’t doing it right. I thrived so much on the emotion of an encounter with the Lord that when I didn’t feel “the feels”… I thought I was getting farther from God. But here’s my encouragement to you…
Stop over-complicating your quiet time and stop putting expectations on your quiet time.
In your relationships with friends, your boyfriend, fiancee, or husband… do you have an expectation for how they should make you feel every single day? Sure, we don’t want them to hurt our feelings every day.. but in general, we don’t expect them to make us weep with emotion over how much they love us… right? I talk to Paul every day. I engage in conversation and know him well because I am intentional to connect with him daily. BUT, I don’t expect him to sweep me off of my feet every day and bring me to tears by his overwhelming acts of love for me. Things like surprise gifts or love notes are bonuses to our foundation that is rooted in true love, not emotional highs. Those aren’t what we thrive on day to day. The emotional highs of “the feels” aren’t what defines our relationship. You tracking with me?
In the same way, we cannot expect every time we sit down and converse with God to be overwhelming, knock me off my feet, make me cry and get the goosies type of an emotional high encounter. See if that is WHY you spend time with God… then you love the emotional side of faith but… dare I say it… you aren’t actually meeting with God for him to pour into you and let His word soak into you. The emotion of recognizing who God is comes as part of your relationship with God. If an emotional high is your expectation for your quiet time, you will be disappointed by it. And it’s not God’s fault. You will go through seasons. There will be times where it feels like you are crying and getting revelations every time you dig into your Bible. Perhaps you’re sifting through a heart-change or it’s a tougher season and you’re more aware than ever of God’s goodness in your life. And then there will be seasons where the Word speaks to you and pours into you, but maybe not so emotional of a response to it. THAT IS OKAY. That is called a normal relationship.
So, okay. I get it… My time won’t always make me cry and feel “the feels”. But how do I decide what to read?
Pick a devotional or reading plan and finish it! I read the She Reads Truth app every single morning. Usually during Knox’s first nap around 9 AM. I literally write in my planner every single day “Quiet Time/Nap Time” for me to be certain I set time aside for me to spend with the Lord. We are busy people. It’s okay to write in your planner “Quiet Time” to remind you how important it is. I write out by the hour what I am doing in the day to make certain I spend my time well. Why wouldn’t I put in my set aside “Quiet Time”?
In addition to She Reads Truth, I have read through Savor by Shauna Niequist, which is a sweet daily devotional. I also love reading her books in general. They can act as a great tool to use in your quiet time, because her books are written as short stories for chapters. Reading that alongside a She Reads Truth devo every day is a great combo.
Apparently Lysa Terkeurst just released a devotional as well that I have on my must-buy list! I had no idea she had one out until last week when my friend got it for one of our girlies for her birthday gift. I have also read 100 Days to Brave by Annie Downs.
When you read scripture, read it through a couple of times. Slowly. Go slow. I know it’s easy to get into the habit of crossing off “Quiet Time” from your to-do list. It makes our time shallow and fast. Read word for word, and ask for God to make something stick out. Then, whatever sticks out, focus on it a bit and see how it applies to you. Why did it stick out? Then spend 5 minutes in silence praying and worshipping. Put away all distractions. Turn off everything (unless you like music!). Praise God for who He is, and then “by prayer and petition submit your requests to The Lord.” (Philippians 4:6)