Saturday, July 23, 2011

Quiet time when every obstacle possible seems to be in the way

Today's post is the third in my blog series on message preparation.   Yesterday I shared that quiet time is of utmost importance to me in receiving message ideas.   When I share with others about having a regular quiet time most of them, especially women, talk about how hard that is.  They are living in noisy households, with a zillion demands pulling them in all different directions, and every obstacle imaginable seems in the way.

The most important thing I've learned about quiet time is, you can't leave it to chance.  And, you must plan ahead and persevere.  I also encourage you to take advantage of spontaneous opportunities.

I realize those greatest challenged are mothers of babies or small children and especially single mothers.  First let me say that quiet time  WAS much more difficult when my kids were little.  I found myself having most of my quiet time after they were asleep.  It was always my habit to stay up long enough to have this time to myself. I have other friends in that predicament who get up before their children in order to have quiet time.

It can be helpful to find another Mom to exchange opportunities for quiet time with -- agree to keep an eye on her children while she has some time to herself and vice versa.  This would probably not be feasible every day but might give you at least a bit of time once a week or even a few times a month.  I had some of these same challenges when my children were small so I well understand it. 

As they have gotten older and independent I have opportunities for quiet time now however I was surprised that my challenges did not go away once two of my children reached young adulthood and one the teen years.  First of all sometimes the house is still very noisy.  I have learned it helps to leave the house for quiet time.  I began walking and bike riding years ago and that has really set me free for quiet time no matter what is going on at the house.

It's not just mothers with children at home that have issue with quiet time.  There are always interruptions, opportunities and even pressure to do something else.  There are times I have been invited to do things but I realize I have not had adequate quiet time and things will become greatly unbalanced without it.  I have learned to say no to things although it has upset people sometimes that I do.  One time a few years ago a friend invited me to an impromptu social gathering and for the reasons of needing time to myself I declined the invitation. They were upset with me, even called me a "wet blanket" or something like that.  But I let that be their problem. The longer I live the more I realize it's all about pleasing the Lord, not others.  (Galatians 1:10)  Pretty much every week I'm invited to things and if I say yes to all of them, I'm saying no to myself. So I've learned to say no, and do what I need to do.  The truth is, if I take advantage of every social opportunity I'm given, my ministry effectiveness would be greatly compromised because there is just no time to get quiet, reflect and prepare.

For those who have trouble being true to yourself and living a healthy life, I strongly recommend the book, Boundaries, by John Townsend and Henry Cloud.  This is in my top five life changing books of all time, and has quite possibly changed my life more than any other book besides the Bible.


If you are struggling with quiet time and need a suggestion or help I haven't mentioned here, say something in the comments here on the blog or on the facebook thread when it publishes there.I'll try to give suggestions specifically for what you are facing, not to mention I'm sure there are others who will chime in with wisdom and helpful hints.  I will be back with more about the nuts and bolts of message preparation next week, so stand by...

No comments: