When Quiet Times Seem Pointless: Remember the Gospel
One day turned into several days strung together into weeks. Then those weeks turned into months. Months! It’s been almost three months since I enjoyed a typical quiet time, or even gotten a few minutes of quiet before my son would be nose-to-nose whispering, “Mommy…” It has been months since I sipped a cup of coffee without corralling a toddler and dog out of the kitchen and making sure the toddler didn’t eat markers while Daddy got breakfast together. It has been months since I felt the nearness of God and the sweetness of an uninterrupted conversation with my Maker, my first love. Circumstances and seasons have made quiet commune with God virtually impossible.
And it’s been hard.
It’s been one of the hardest, lowest seasons of my Christian life. As if that isn’t bad enough, I stayed silent. I told no one my inner battle, my lack of strength to care, or that I needed help. Sure I hinted here and there, but even my dearest friends were kept in the dark.
What was I supposed to say? “Hey, I know you love me and all, but I totally suck at life right now.” YES! That’s exactly what I was supposed to do! But I didn’t. I kept it all inside. I wallowed in self pity. I blamed it on first trimester. I blamed it on my husband’s travels. I blamed it on my toddler not sleeping in his own bed. I blamed it on teething. I blamed it on the snow and lack of exercise. Anything and everything was to blame except my sinful heart.
This past week in utter despair, I wrote a message to seven of my dearest friends (go big or go home, right?) and said, “I’m a mess right now.” I took a few lines to tell them exactly what has been going on. I got raw and honest. And then I asked them for help. It was the hardest message I have ever written.
Want to know what happened next? Grace. Well, after I got reamed by one friend who told me I should have said something because what are friends for if we can’t help each other in the bad times. Friends are worthless if we only keep them around for the good stuff. Then she extended grace, but she needed extend the hand discipline first. And she was totally right.
So grace. Grace has flowed from each and every angle since my first confession. I went on to confess to my husband, my son, and another six friends. I’m telling you because you’re my friends too, and you come here for the raw, honest truth. Intentional By Grace is built on vulnerable and grace. What good am I if I don’t live my life on those same principals?
So what do we do when quiet times are pointless?
Because that’s part of this problem. What do we do in those seasons when it’s down right hard to get in the Word of God? I tried to implement creative quiet times, but to no avail it seemed. I couldn’t string two thoughts together, let alone pull anything from the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. The words of Paul fell on deaf ears. And no matter how much I prayed I felt like God was light years away. Granted I see now I was praying according to my own sinful desires instead of the Lord’s, but regardless, what do I do, what do you do when quiet times feel pointless?
We preach the Gospel to ourselves every single day, every single moment if necessary. We choose to believe the truth that we are free in Christ, redeemed by The Blood shed for us, and have a future in Him. We choose the Gospel of grace. And when we wonder if we disappoint, we choose to believe that God is not ashamed to be called our God; we rest in our imperfections knowing His power is made perfect in our weakness.
We don’t need to read our Bibles to remember the passion story. It’s what we had to know and believe in order to enter into God’s rest in the first place. If we can do nothing else each day, we need to do this most important thing…we need to preach the Gospel to ourselves. The Gospel changes lives! It’s not left back at the point of justification. It’s for right now. Now, more than ever, we need a Savior and the truth of what has been done on our behalf. We never lose our need for a Savior, and it would do me well to remind myself of this fundamental truth each and every day.
So when quiet times are pointless, don’t neglect to speak truth into your heart. Every day you need The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for sharing this, Leigh Ann. I
Oops! I hit enter! Anyway,…. I was going to say that I think a lot of women often feel the same way but don’t say anything because we think we may be the only ones. I know I’ve totally been there. I appreciate your honestly and willingness to share!
I hate when I do that! 😉
Well you’ll never feel alone if you hang around these woods for long. LOL I was just emailing with another reader and telling her God has been so clear with my purpose in writing. It’s hard, it’s vulnerable, and it’s totally out of my element. But raw, honest truth is something He has called me to do. I’m grateful for a husband who lets me lay our lives out here like this, but like me he’s convinced that this is our call from God. We don’t have it altogether. Anything good you see in us is totally the grace of God, and too often all we see is a bunch junk piled up into something God uses and it’s amazing and oh so humbling. I’m just grateful for a God who doesn’t leave me where He found me. So thankful.
May God bless you for your honesty and transparency. For these reasons I joined your blog. God gives power to the weak and increases our strength!
Your words are so encouraging, Leigh-Anne! Thank you!
I loved this post today! It definitely is true for all of us and have noticed a steady, if not drastic decline, in my quiet time the first year of Emma’s birth. I’ve tried to be more purposeful of my time with God and as I have, I’ve noticed that intimacy with Him getting better and better. Sometimes I still fail (because we’re human, right?) but I always smack myself and think, “Why did I ever step away from this?” and you’re exactly right- no one is to blame except myself and my sinful nature. Thanks again for sharing!
Thanks, Erinn! Seasons ebb and flow…I’m learning to ride along in His grace. I’m a slow learner though. 😉
Oh, Leigh Ann, you speak for me too. At least, I’ve been right there many times. And always for far too long. Thank you for sharing so openly; I know it took tons of courage. But in doing so you gave courage to many of your sisters. What a blessing!
Thanks, Janice! Your words always encourage my heart.
Leigh Ann, I totally loved this post. I have struggled so much, in spite my best intentions, to have consistent quiet time. Life just keeps bombarding me from all angles and some mornings just finding the emotional strength to get out of bed is so hard.
All I can say is that you are not alone. I wish we knew each other in real life because I think we would really get along.
Aprille, Ha! I bet we would 🙂 May we together lean hard, as hard as we can, into Jesus during these months and years of little ones. I am convinced we will never have such a unique opportunity ever again to truly taste and see the goodness of God through the grace and mercy we experience when we can barely get out of bed, or make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the fifth time this week, or when we forget to even shower…all week. Together let’s say with Paul we’ve learned to be content in any situation. This is for our good. Together let’s choose grace!
I needed to see this today! I I have the best of intentions and it’s so easy to let each day add up to more days and it’s easy to make excuses for why we just could not make time for the Lord each day. I know that I truly miss those precious moments in prayer and Bible reading and I know I am the one suffering when I don’t make the time. I know that I have to become more intentional and MAKE myself get out of bed even though I want to hit the snooze button 10 times (especially now the time has changed and it’s pitch black outside!) I’m just thankful that God reminds me and convicts me of this because there was a time in my walk that I was not even listening to Him. The wonderful thing about the Lord is He wants to help us. If your desires are lined up with His desires for you, He will and does help us. I’m making a point to ask God to help me find time because I don’t want to miss out on the blessings and help that I get from Him when I am spending time with Him!
What an encouraging comment, Jessica! It is so true that God wants to help. We’ve only to ask for it.
I spoke to my husband about this when he got in and he pointed out that part of my problem is I fall asleep when I read ANYTHING to myself because I am tired. He also pointed out that my bible app talks. I decided to put the audio to the test. I put the phone on the top and made bread and listened to Gods word and found I was able to attend to His word properly. I am happy to bake our daily bread everyday and did not fall asleep. This might help someone else.
I’m glad bread making isn’t required because our move to the High Rockies has totally thrown off my baking! SAD!! I need to try again. And my husband is the same way. He falls asleep reading. I’m so proud of you for working to find a solution!!!
ps, I don’t think bread making is required, I just like it.
Oh LeighAnn. I’m so right there with you! On occasion I have shared with my husband but not really with friends. I have also been blaming this whole mess on so many external things, which are very real, but they are not the cause. My lazy, selfish self is the cause. Praying for you sister!!