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“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”” Mark 6:31 (NIV)

“You need to make sure you are having quiet time.” I could not understand why it would be difficult for some to find the time and space to have undistracted quiet time with God. Part of me thought that they were simply making excuses and/or could not prioritize their time. I could not understand the difficulties that come with living in a house with multiple people and/or children. I did not understand the difficulties that come with not having a place in a house where you could have peace and quite before being discovered and/or distracted. I did not understand the level of intentionality that it requires for a person living with others to have quiet time and sit in God’s presence. As a result of my lack of understanding, due to inexperience, I thought that the people who where not having quiet time were merely blowing God off.

I recently moved out of my student apartment, where I was able to remain post-graduation in order to study for the bar exam, and back in with my family. It has been extremely difficult for me to spend quality time with God. It has been difficult for me to drown out the noise and get into the presence of God. The “noise” has been caused by (1) the excitement of being back with my family and having the ability to spend quality time with them because I am not in town for a conference or internship, or mentally in another place because I am stressed out by law school; and (2) constantly be surrounded by a lot (more than 1-2) of people inside of the home.

This is a foreign experience for me. I am accustomed to having my own space to ponder. Isn’t it strange that I would see my family as a distraction? It has not even been two weeks. That is very dangerous because I would have allowed this new circumstance to push me away from my family for the sake of spending more time with God. {Please do not understand this to mean that God is not my first priority.} God wants my praise but He does not want want me to push my family away simply because they are a lot to deal with. It would be different if my family were pushing me to sin or if I were living in an unhealthy environment. Spending time with my family teaches me to love God’s children even when it is not easy or I would rather be alone. Spending time with my family gives me the opportunity to show them what it is like to have a personal relationship with Christ. Spending time with my family gives me the opportunity to pour into their lives and vice versa. Spending time with my family give us the opportunity to get to know one another in our current stages of life.

My family is not a hindrance on my faith. They are giving me the opportunity to grow in my faith; the opportunity to learn to make time for God when it is extremely challenging; the opportunity to learn to make time for God when I no longer have my own space. This has also been an opportunity for me to practice intentionality in a different stage of life. This has been an opportunity for me to truly grasp the fact that God is omnipresent. Because God is everywhere, I am not restricted to spending my quiet time in a prayer close or any other location. I find that to be extremely reassuring. Although this is something that I already knew, I needed a reminder. I did not realize how comfortable in my faith I had become. Yes, I am constantly growing in my faith and being stretched by God, however, I did not realize that comfort played a major role in how I worship. I cannot stop worshipping God the way He deserves simply because I no longer have my own apartment. *scoffs* How privileged am I that that would even be a thing.

It is not enough to love and worship God only when you are comfortable. It is not enough to love and worship God when you have the picturesque or ideal place from where to do so. It is important to realize that we have been called to worship God at all times.

Because we are in a personal relationship with God, we must be intentional about spending time with Him. YOU WILL STUMBLE! “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” James 3:2. Intentionality looks different at different stages of life. Being intentional about spending time in God’s presence may mean that you have to wake up before everyone in your home (for me that would mean waking up at 6am); going to the park; going for a run; or opening up your Bible (app) before opening up a social media app. Besides, I do not doubt that you (or I) would be able to make time if you were in a new relationship with a man or a woman. God deserves so much more.

God wants you to spend time with Him. Therefore, being intentional requires you to come up with an action plan. Below I have included a proposed action plan:

Action Plan

1. Understand. Understanding the importance of spending time with God is vital to your success. God’s Word gives you a battle plan for navigating life and all of its obstacles. Ephesians 6:13-18 (MSG) states, “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”

2. Prioritize. God should be first in all things. Therefore, when budgeting your time, God should always have a place in your schedule. Carve out time in your day and schedule a date with God. Scheduling time means (1) that you will not being God your leftover time and instead are making God a priority, and (2) you can plan ahead to ensure that you will be in a quiet place for your date with God.

3. Be realistic and creative. Your goals should be based on where you are now and what God asks of you, not others. Do not start off saying that you are going to have an hour of quiet time if you are struggling with giving God 5 minutes of your time. Start off small and then add time as you go. “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin . . ..” Zechariah 4:10. Perhaps you can start off by reading your bible before you read your emails, texts, or social media notifications. Do what works for you.

4. Re-evaluate your life. How are you currently spending your time? Are you spending countless hours on social media or bing watching television series? You cannot say that you are too busy and do not have time if you manage to find time to overindulge in “extracurriculars.”

5. Community. The right community should provide accountability. Make sure to surround yourself with Christians who will encourage you in your walk with Christ and lovingly “check you” when they notice that you are not spending time with the Lord or living according to His will.