Do you feel like you need to have the “perfect” quiet time? Each time you sit down to read the Bible and pray, do you feel bad if it was not earth shattering? Does your inability to ever achieve the holy grail of quiet times keep you from coming back again?
In my experience, whether it is spoken explicitly or felt implicitly, there is a sense that each and every time I take a moment to pray, meditate and read God’s Word, I need to have a ground breaking experience. Let me just tell you that you don’t. You can stop trying to have the “perfect” quiet time. Release yourself from that burden.
The pursuit of the “perfect" quiet time is debilitating
The nobility of wanting to have the absolute best quiet time is actually working against that great desire. The weight of that high standard is crushing people, and actually keeping them from spending time with God at all. If we fail in our attempts to achieve the perfect quiet time, over time we begin to stop trying. We begin to believe that investing in time with the Lord doesn’t achieve anything anyway, and we give up.
The impossible standard we set, leaves us feeling like we have failed and that it is not worth trying again. It is like me attempting to beat Lebron James in basketball. It will never happen. I might initially think that I have a chance, and might event attempt more than once. But after getting beat down repeatedly, I would eventually give up, having determined that it just isn’t worth trying anymore.
The pursuit of the perfect quiet time is an impossible task, and because we can never achieve it, we eventually give up. Stop trying to pursue the perfect quiet time, and just start to spend time with God. Even if it isn’t earth shattering every time, over time it will transform your life into the image of His son.
You are far better off having numerous slightly imperfect quiet times than giving up in the pursuit of the perfect one.
The pursuit of the “perfect" quiet time is foolish
This isn’t just a debilitating pursuit, it is a foolish one. Because it just isn’t going to happen. The Bible makes it very clear that we are imperfect people, whom Jesus has and is perfecting. We are still in process.
We need to have accurate expectations that are consistent with what the Bible says about humans. The Bible says that we have sin in our lives. We cannot deny it, in fact, if we do then we make God out to be a liar (1 John 1). We cannot deny our finitude, and we must acknowledge its impact on all areas of life. Including the moments that we spend with God.
We will not experience Him perfectly, because we are imperfect. And it is okay. We cannot ignore it or deny this reality. Thinking that we could have a perfect quiet time is inconsistent with a Biblical anthropology. It is foolish to pursue. So, stop trying.
The pursuit of the “perfect” quiet time isn't what God wants
God doesn’t expect or need the “perfect” you. Through Jesus, he has already made you perfect, and he is perfecting for all time those whom he has already perfected (Hebrews 10:14). God doesn’t want your “perfect” quiet time, he just wants you.
Do you think he doesn’t know that you have sin in your life? Do you think he doesn't know that you feel distant from Him sometimes, even when you are reading your Bible and praying? God knows. And He still wants you to keep investing in your relationship with Him. We are fatally flawed, but we are also radically loved.
God doesn't want you to achieve perfection on your own in order to spend time with Him. He wants you to spend time with him, and through that relationship, he will work perfection in you.