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Everyday Christian: My ‘quiet’ time is anything but!

by ervte

My day starts with the shower procession. Child one bursts into the bathroom while I’m in the shower, resolves her complaint, and goes outside.

Child Two enters and passionately pursues her case against child one. Child Two storms back down to finish her fight with child one. Cue child two…

Next one! Kid three arrives to report on many issues: unreliable internet connection, forms to sign, and events that need urgent RSVPs.

I peer at child three through soap-dripping eyes to assure them I’ll address these concerns right away…when I’m dry…and dressed.Everyday Christian: My 'quiet' time is anything but!

When child three leaves, the dog comes running into our bathroom. This is the last straw. “Out!” I yell and slam the door behind her poor hairy behind.

I try to get hold of divine truths between breaks, shampoo, and soap.

Half dry, I started putting on work clothes, and I became increasingly nervous. My confused state may not be helped because I still try to multitask even if my bedroom is devoid of children and animals.

Before I shower every work morning, I optimistically press play on my bible devotional app. So I try to get hold of divine truths between breaks, shampoo, and soap.

Inevitably, I’ll have to play every day’s dedication a second time to try and make sense of it. By the time I’m made up and somewhat put together, I’ve only absorbed a few words of a Bible verse and the general gist of the rest.

While it’s better than nothing, I know this “quiet time” isn’t ideal. On my non-work days, I stick with morning devotions longer and jot down verses and gratitude points in a journal. But even then, there are usually interruptions, and most of the time, I feel unsatisfied, with a desire to sink deep into the Lord’s presence and stay there for hours.

Of course, some of my quiet time problems can be solved by getting up earlier to try and find some solitude. But other issues are related to the active phase of motherhood I find myself in.

“We have to make do with leftovers…” – Michael Leunig

Reminds me of an image of the iconic Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig. This cartoon, Scraps’, has lived under a magnet on my mother’s fridge for years.

Among Leunig’s reflections in this image, accompanied by his quirky cartoons, are the words:

“We have to make do with scraps… “Little scraps of peace….” Remnants, clutter, remnants of the glorious situation. A fragment of God. Not much. Sorry. Time is up.”

For me, this sums up my fraught relationship with quiet times. It’s all rolled into the now-but-not-yet-life of life on this side of heaven—the shortcomings of earthly life summed up in 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now in a mirror, we see dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, then shall I know fully, even as I am fully known.”

I remind myself that my daily conversation with God doesn’t stop…

So while I will continue to strive each day for a more present, concentrated time with the Lord, I must also make peace with the imperfections of my devotional times. Instead of feeling frustrated and exhausted by my frequent inability to connect with God as deeply and meaningfully as I’d like, I remind myself that my daily conversation with him doesn’t stop when the app stops playing.

Instead, the Lord is always with me—even “until the end of time” (Matthew 28:20). He is with me when I wake up and sleep (Psalm 3), “when I sit down and when I rise” (Psalm 139). He knows my thoughts before I think them and my words before I speak them (Psalm 139). We are indeed in constant conversation, God and I.

I can talk to the Lord all morning, all day, all evening. I can speak to him all week, all month, all year, the rest of my life. More importantly, he can use this infinite time to talk to me. So I don’t have to say or hear everything in ten minutes a morning.

And scraps don’t seem so bad when you put all these little bits of conversation across eternity.

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