I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to quiet time.
Here’s the ugly truth.
The only way to be consistent with a quiet time is to make it a habit.
The dictionary defines “habit” as an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it becomes almost involuntary. Like brushing your teeth before bed. Like driving the same route to work or school every day.
We frequently talk about the desire to kick bad habits, but it’s important not to underestimate the power of good habits.
Our highly evolved brains are required to make hundreds of decisions every single day. Anything that we do out of habit is one less decision our brains have to make, freeing us from the stress and indecision that comes from always having to choose.
When was the last time you went to the drugstore for cold medicine?
The ridiculous assortment of products available can make your head spin. And don’t even get me started on the myriad of feminine hygiene paraphernalia. How is a girl supposed to decide? (Or worse, how’s her husband supposed to?)
It’s overwhelming and just plain stressful. If your brain has to stay in that critical decision-making mode for too long, it can lead to full-blown emotional breakdown.
Like that time I bawled my eyes out in Target because I was tired and I couldn’t choose a toothpaste. True story.
So habits are necessary. And good habits are crucial.
The Quiet Time Habit
Supposedly it takes 21 days, or three weeks, to turn a behavior pattern into a habit.
To make quiet time with God a habit, you just have to do it. As much as you can for 21 days until it seems weird to NOT do it.
For me personally, this means getting up early.
You should know right away that I am not an early riser by nature. But I learned from experience that if I didn’t take care of quiet time first thing, it wouldn’t get done. So I made it my habit.
Here’s her best and biggest tip. It’s rocket science, I tell you. The girl’s a genius.
If you want to consistently get up early. . .
Go to bed early.
I know, right?
Going to bed early does not come instinctively to me, so I have to plan for it. I have to say “no” to some things that I might want to do, but that can wait until tomorrow. If I want to spend 30 minutes reading in bed, I have to wash my face and brush my teeth that much earlier so I can have that time before going to sleep. In general, I need between 7 1/2 and 8 hours of sleep each night, so if I’m going to get up at 5:30, that means I need to go to sleep regularly at 9:30 or 10:00.
I’m not saying you have to get up at 5:30 a.m. to have quiet time. That’s just what works for me. But I would recommend having a set time every day to spend with God. Doing it at the same time each day is what will make it stick. Then, as I talked about in week one of this series, try to do it in the same place as well. This will get your brain on track for making the routine a habit.
Here are a couple of great books I’d recommend if you’d like to read more about habits, both good and bad, and how to get more accomplished by taking advantage of your brain’s tendency toward habits:
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
Also, just as a disclaimer: making quiet time a habit does not diminish the quality of quiet time.
The habit ensures that it happens at all.
Trust in God to make it worth your while, because He will. Every day won’t be earth shattering, but some days will.
You just need to show up.
Showing up is the hardest part. Making it a habit will turn it into something that sticks.
How to Have Quiet Time with God: A Five-Part Series
*Disclosure: Affiliate links included in this post.