I hear from women all the time who say they find it difficult to either have a quiet time with God or time to study the Bible in depth. Their frustration is understandable when they want so badly to spend time with God but can’t figure out how to make that happen consistently.
I have been a big believer in doing a quiet time in the morning before I start my day. I know if I don’t do it in the morning, it most likely will not happen during the day. I’m not legalistic about this, even though the Bible shows Jesus spending time with God in the morning. I’m just more realistic about my schedule.
I fit this quiet time into my schedule by placing it within my morning routine. When I have a morning routine that allows me to flow from one activity or task to the next, I can go about the day with more focus and tend to get more done.
In episode 178, I will share how I’m tweaking my morning routine in light of some new things I’m adding to it. I will show you how quiet time with God fits into this routine. And I’ll give you some tips for developing a routine that helps you to have a consistent quiet time.
Whether you realize it or not, you have some sort of morning routine. Even if it’s not something you’ve formally thought about, I bet if you were to write down what you do in the morning before you either go to work, start work at home, do home tasks, homeschool, take your kids to school, or whatever it is you do for most of the day, you would notice a pattern of how you are doing things. We are creatures of habit, so you’ve probably been doing things in the same order for a while.
And, as I mentioned in episode 173, I bet your phone may play a significant role in your morning routine. Maybe not. Maybe you’re disciplined enough to keep it put away, but there is a good chance it is stealing some of your time.
Establishing a New Routine
I have had the same morning routine for a long time. Probably years if I were able to quantify it. And all this time, I have been telling myself that I want to add in regular exercise and be able to spend more time with God in His Word and prayer. But I wasn’t doing anything to change that. I allowed the familiarity of that routine to dictate what I’d do.
I give myself about three hours to complete my morning routine. That sounds like a lot, but let me tell you what I’ve been trying to squeeze into those three hours. I drink my coffee while reading the newspaper on my iPad, spend time with God, shower, and get ready for the day. When I wash my hair, it takes me almost one full hour to shower, do my makeup, dry my hair, and get dressed.
As I said above, I wanted to include workout time and have more time with God. I know three hours is enough to get all of that done. However, I’ve had a hard time getting out of bed when needed so that all of this can happen. I try to get up at six, so I’m at my desk ready to work by 9. When I wake up later than 6, exercise is the first thing to go. And honestly, some days, the quiet time gets pushed aside, too.
One of my goals this year is to get my body and mind to a healthier place. I’m not only overweight, but I also struggle with some physical issues that, if I don’t resolve them soon, will become much bigger problems that could lead to mobility issues in the future. These physical issues also affect my mental health because of the frustration they cause.
So I’ve been working with a nutrition practitioner for almost two months. She is helping me to resolve some of my issues regarding nutrition and movement. One of the things we’ve been working on is revamping my morning routine. When this routine becomes second nature to me, I can move on to other goals that will help me and my nutrition issues.
My nutrition practitioner understands my challenges with getting out of bed on time. So we’ve tried something different for me: I put my phone across the room so I have to get up to turn the alarm off. That is slowly but surely working for me. It is so hard to change habits. But it can be done.
She’s also added a couple of new tasks to my morning routine. One is drinking lemon water when I first get up and eating breakfast. I had gotten into the habit of not eating breakfast for several months. She is trying to get my digestive system healthier, saying eating breakfast is key to that.
I’m also trying to walk at least 15 minutes on most days of the week. We started with just trying it for three days a week. But I discovered it was easy to push my walk to another day, knowing I was only going for three days. So I’ve changed that and now try to walk every weekday. If I can’t get to it because I’ve got to leave the house early for some reason, it’s ok. But I’m just trying to establish the habit of walking.
I’ve been working on this new routine for a few weeks now. And as I said, it’s still a work in progress. I’m slowly adjusting to it and feel like it’s starting to become second nature. One of the things we had to work out was that the flow of the routine did not feel natural. I was getting my lemon water, drinking it while reading the paper, then getting up to fix my breakfast and trying to get on with my day. So now, I’m getting the lemon water, fixing my breakfast and coffee, and then bringing all that to where I sit in the morning to read the paper and do my quiet time.
This way, I can flow from one activity to the next without getting up and stopping the momentum. Once I’m done with my quiet time, I head to my treadmill for a 15-minute walk. After that, I hit the shower and get ready for the day. On the days that I’ve gotten up on time and made these few tweaks, I’ve done everything without feeling rushed. And I’m ready to get to work by 9.
As I said, it will take a few more weeks of consistently doing this before it feels like second nature, like my old routine. And I have to continue to put steps in place to keep myself off my phone until it’s time to listen to a podcast while walking or getting ready. The days I can exercise the discipline to leave my phone in my bedroom are the ones that feel most peaceful and productive.
I’ve given myself about an hour and a half to eat breakfast, read the paper, and do my quiet time before exercising. So I have plenty of time to spend with God to start my day. I’m still working on where to fit deeper Bible study into my day. I don’t want to try to squeeze it into my morning routine because I don’t have time to study as much as I’d like. Although, I do try to do more than just read the Bible passages from the devotional I’m doing. And I write out the passages from my monthly Scripture Writing Plan.
So what does my morning routine have to do with you? I’ve shared the process I’ve been going through to tweak my morning routine for several reasons. One is that I want to make you aware that you have a routine whether you realize it or not. And the second is that it takes some time and trial and error to get a routine you can stay consistent with.
5 Steps for Fitting Quiet Time Into Your Morning Routine
If you want to spend more time with God in the morning and are unsure how to make that time fit into your schedule, let me share a few tips to help you figure that out.
- For a couple of days, as you go about your day, from the time you wake up and get out of bed, write down everything you do before your time is needed for work, taking kids to school, or whatever it is you do most of the day. See if you notice any patterns or things you tend to do in a particular order all the time.
- Evaluate what you are already doing. Are you on your phone a lot, being distracted by email, social media, or texts? Are there pockets of time that are wasted? Are you trying to squeeze too much into your morning routine?
- Decide what you want your morning routine to look like. You can write it out in list form and add time stamps to when you want to do each activity. Or you can just decide in general the activities you want to do and need to do during that time.
- Determine what you need to do to make that ideal morning routine come to fruition. Do you need to ask for help with certain tasks? Can you delegate some of the tasks to other family members? Are your kids old enough to be trained to take care of some of their needs before school, like fixing their own lunch and being responsible for their clothes and backpacks?
- Give your morning routine a try for a few days. If it feels forced or unrealistic, give yourself the grace to tweak it. Maybe you want to spend 30 minutes of quiet time, but it just doesn’t seem to work for you. Perhaps you may want to try getting up earlier. Or, you may need to rethink what your quiet time looks like. Listening to the Bible on a Bible app while driving or getting ready for the day is better than not getting into God’s Word at all.
I know you may have small kids who keep you up at night right now, or your schedule is such that you truly only have just enough time to get ready before heading out the door that you don’t have time for anything else. Then you may need to figure out an alternative time to do your quiet time. You can use your lunch break, time driving in the car, or at night before you go to bed. Get creative, and don’t feel guilty if you can’t do it first thing in the morning.