In the Christian world, there is a phrase we commonly use called "quiet time" - the way we describe the personal time we spend growing in Christ. It can contain prayer, Bible study, journaling, and/or scripture memorization. Although there are a myriad of structures to a personal quiet time, there is no hard and fast rule of how it should look.
And, therein lies the rub.
I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other day, inquiring about how I structured my devotional time (another moniker for quiet time). She knows my somewhat obsessiveness of routine and figured I could share some insights. So I lined out what I do each day, and what I strive to do each day, and what I wish I could do each day. And, confessing to her that I'm not where I want to be. This exercise of explanation made me throw out the question, "Do you find this "quiet time" a mystery?" We, as Christians, throw out that phrase and lingo freely, yet how many people have really been helped practically by being shown what that looks like? For someone new to Christianity, they think quiet time is that game your Mom used to make you play when you'd run around her feet for an hour giggling and driving her crazy. Or that it's some magical mixture of some act that when you're done you say, "Wow, I'm all better now!"
I believe the reason we are so nebulous about this quiet time is because if we truly were transparent enough to share what we do daily, we'd be ashamed to call ourselves Christians. I know many days I am. I'm convicted when I know I'm counting down the hours to the next episode of Heroes, yet, do I get that excited to look forward to spending time with God? And, do I go beyond that "quiet time" slot to actually practically live out my Christianity? Am I "Praying without ceasing" as the Scripture teaches? And, do I look at daily experiences in my life and meditate on what God is doing in my life through this?
I'd love to know if anyone else has battled this mystery of quiet time. Instead of measuring your effectiveness through what you can check off on your quiet time list, look at your life and see if you have grown more in the last 3 months, 6 months, or a year; that's a true indicator that you are allowing your quiet time to take root. At this time of year, I'm thankful that I have a God who loves me beyond how little I show that love back in return - a quiet, unrelentless love.