When Quiet Time Isn’t Enough

I used to be a girl who posted a perfectly-crafted picture of the coffee shop quiet time I would have with just me and Jesus and my Bible, perfectly arranged on a wooden countertop next to my designer latte with a perfect heart. I mean, if it wasn’t Instagram-worthy, did it even happen?

These days, most mornings, at about the time I would be posting a quiet time photo, I have already been “up and at ‘em” for about 4 hours already; had several cups of coffee; fed and cleaned up breakfast; diapered and sufficiently bribed my toddler to put actual clothes on; and successfully slid my way out of the day care door when he turned his head. Mornings are quite the rush these days. My days of rolling out of bed around 9AM only to stroll over to a local coffee shop to spend time with Jesus are long gone.

It’s not that I don’t spend time with God through reading scripture, it’s just that this season of life requires a different kind of spirituality—one that requires me to color outside the spiritual lines a bit.

Many of us grew up, immersed in a culture which we didn’t realize was forming us to believe that the only way we could hear from God was to sit by ourselves and read our Bibles. Oftentimes, we were confused about where even to start, and what was even going on. We would stick to the parts in scripture that seemed “clear and simple,” that only required a “basic and plain reading.” Raise your hand if those phrases trigger you too.

What I have come to desire, to long for, and to believe is that meeting Jesus outside the lines of scripture and basic quiet time is actually good and essential for my life with God.

The first few years of being a working mama in full-time, pastoral ministry felt at times like life was being sucked out of me (figuratively and literally, if you consider what breast-feeding does to you). So I honestly questioned what it looked like to be sustained, and to have God be present to me when life felt messy. My spiritual director recently helped me to see that I have actually never not been sustained by God.

And, if I’m being real and honest, the sustenance hasn’t come in my quiet times with my Bible.

The sustenance has come from practicing hospitality and empathy to my enemies. Sustenance has come from stepping into the pulpit on occasion, knowing that my very presence there is both an act of resistance and an act of liberation as I live out my calling. Sustenance has come from Unisom, anxiety medication, and placing boundaries on toxic relationships.

God has been there in real-life, messy experiences forming me into the image of Christ. God is there for you too. Maybe just step away from your quiet time. God is there, attending to your life.

Haley Wiggers is passionate about discovering how the messy, painful, and unexpected gifts that come with being human connect and relate to and offer understanding of how God relates to and cares for us. She’s been married to her husband Tyson for 4.5 years, and together they just welcomed their first little into the world. His name is Theo, and he is the cutest. United by undeserved grace, they’ve created a life centered around table fellowship with others and long walks with their puppy.