I have a confession to make. I am a recovering perfectionist. Maybe it’s in how I’m wired to be a rule follower, but I tend to let perfectionism get in the way of how I live out my faith. And, being honest here, perfectionism has hindered progress in most areas of my life.
Doing things with excellence is great. But if we allow perfectionism to take over, we can become paralyzed and not do even the smallest tasks we need to do.
Perfectionism has often kept me from having a meaningful quiet time with God. And as I’ve talked with other women about their quiet times, they make statements that make me think perfectionism hinders their efforts to spend time with God.
In this episode, I will share four reasons perfectionism is keeping you from having a meaningful quiet time with God. These reasons are ones I’ve noticed in the lives of other women who say they don’t have time to go deep with God.
Thanks to the internet and social media, we have more resources than ever to help us have a meaningful quiet time with God. However, we also have images and videos that show women having the “perfect” quiet time. I 100% believe what we see online has impacted how we view our quiet time. Like anything on social media, we can create this ideal or perfect quiet time in our minds and then feel like a failure when we can’t replicate it.
If you’re anything like me, you may tend to quit doing something because you can’t do it perfectly. But we’ve got to get over this perfectionistic tendency so we can grow in our faith, follow Jesus, and deepen our relationship with God.
Before I share how perfectionism keeps us from having a meaningful quiet time with God, let me define what I mean by quiet time. Because you may be listening to this and have no clue what I’m talking about.
A quiet time is when you set aside time to spend with God. Usually, it involves reading your Bible, whether you’re reading through a book of the Bible or using some other resource like a devotional book. It would also include a time of prayer and silence as you listen for God to speak with you. Some people like to journal during this time. And others use the Scripture Writing Plans I create during this time. It’s a time to talk to God and let Him speak to you through His Word.
Reasons Perfectionism Hinders Our Quiet Time
We think we have to have a quiet time at a certain time of day.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve associated having a quiet time as the first thing you do when you wake up. Jesus modeled meeting with God in the mornings. Sometimes it was early in the morning before sunrise.
And while I think it’s essential to at least acknowledge God first thing in the morning, I don’t think having our dedicated quiet time has to be the first thing you do in your day. Depending on your current season of life, you may need to carve out that time after the kids go to school or even on a lunch break.
A couple of years ago, I felt so defeated in my quiet time because I just felt like I was not connecting with God well. My morning routine consisted of trying to read my Bible and praying as the first thing I did after waking up. But I realized my energy level was not so great upon waking up then. So I permitted myself to read the newspaper first, then do my quiet time. I felt I had so much more to offer God at that time once I was fully awake.
I do want to reiterate that we do need to have some connection with God first thing. As I mentioned earlier, it could be that you say a prayer to start your day, or you could even turn on worship music when you get up. Anything that would help you focus your thoughts on God. Even though you could wait until the afternoon or evening to do your dedicated quiet time, connecting with God in some way is essential before your day gets away from you.
We think we have to spend a certain amount of time with God.
No rule in the Bible or anywhere else says you have to spend a certain amount of time with God. Ideally, we include Him in all parts of our days. But for the quiet time we’re talking about, only you can determine what is enough for you.
What is it you feel led to do during this time? Are you reading through the Bible, using a devotional book, writing Scripture, or studying Bible? Maybe you have an extensive prayer list, or you like to journal. Just decide what you want to do during this time. Then you can see how long it would take you to do these things. You may discover that you are trying to do too much in the time you have, so you may choose to spread some of these activities throughout your day.
Don’t compare yourself to someone who may have an hour to spend with God when 15 minutes is all you have. Like I said earlier, God should be in every part of our days. That means you can have a running conversation with Him all day long if you choose to.
We think we have to have the perfect place and atmosphere to have a quiet time.
I’m sure you’ve seen someone on social media with their Bible, journal, a candle, and a cup of coffee. They are cozied up in an overstuffed chair covered with their favorite blanket. The caption to their post tells the lessons they learned from God that day.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with these things. I personally love to have coffee while I’m doing my quiet time. But when you see these perfect quiet time images, often you may think you’ve got to have a perfect atmosphere that includes a quiet space in your home.
If you’ve got kids still at home or even if it’s just you and your husband, sometimes it’s hard to find a quiet place to get away to spend time with God. I think it’s important to acknowledge your current reality, and if you can’t find a perfect place, then do what you can with what you have. Maybe that means staying in your bedroom to spend time with God. Or, perhaps you have an outside space you can get away to.
I also think it’s important that we allow our family to see us making the space to spend time with God. Especially our kids. When they see us doing our quiet time and know that it is important to us, they will be encouraged to spend time with God. If you have kids at home, you may want to include them in part of your time with God. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have a quiet, comfy chair to spend time with God.
We think we have to have the perfect resources to spend time with God.
So many tools and resources are available to us to help enhance our quiet time with God. But you know what. All you need is your Bible. Maybe a notebook or journal if you want to write down something you’ve learned or keep track of your prayer requests. You can read the Bible and learn something from what you’ve read. You don’t need a Bible study or devotional to have a meaningful time with God. Those things are great, but I’ve learned that reading through a book of the Bible without any study notes or guides can be transformative.
So don’t think you’ve got to spend a ton of money on resources or time searching for free ones. Just open your Bible and ask God to speak to you.
I hope that by hearing these reasons perfectionism keeps us from having a meaningful quiet time with God has made you think about how perfectionism is at play in your life. Also, I encourage you not to compare your quiet time with someone else’s. Yes, we can get inspiration from what we see online, but we must guard against envy or coveting what someone else has.
If you want some accountability around setting up your quiet time and exercising the discipline to follow through, I encourage you to check out the free Live It Out Community group. Many incredible women in this community try to live out their faith with clarity, courage, and consistency.