A Quiet Place

I had it all planned out to find a “quiet place” to be with Jesus yesterday. I was going to get filled up after two days of running errands and catching up on work this week. I had planned to blog and answer questions about finding time to be with Jesus so we can balance full lives that leave us lifeless and find life-to-the full with Christ.

Early in the morning, while it was still dark, I was going to get out of my bed and go to a quiet place where I could pray. (Mark 1:35) Then I’d drive Andrew to school, come back and read, and talk to God and listen and journal. Then I’d go running, listen to my favorite worship music, come back to shower, and do some writing for my book proposal.

Now I know all that freedom with no people sounds like a tropical vacation. Alone time is something many women would almost kill to have, and you just might want to hate me at this moment, but don’t. I have to block out chunks of time to sit and soak in lots of Jesus, then read and write what He shows me. Otherwise I can’t do what God’s called me to do at home or in ministry, which includes working on a book for now. Anyway, it’s a great plan but rarely does it happen like I planned and sometimes it frustrates me and makes me not want to plan it.

Like yesterday. I woke up early and was praying in a quiet place – my bed. I was telling Jesus how much I loved Him and how I was looking forward to snuggling up in my favorite chair with Him and my Bible and my journal. And just as my feet were about to hit the carpet to go do that, my husband came in to see if I was awake. He said he was taking Joshua to school soon, and then he was going to come back to get breakfast and hopefully get some time to read His Bible.

Here I was gonna hog up a whole day with my Bible in my quiet place and this dear man was just hoping for some time. Well, you know what happened, don’t you? God told me to get myself out of bed and set aside my dreamy plans so I could take Joshua to school. Then JJ could have an unhurried quiet time in a quiet place with Jesus. I wanted that for him. I’m so thankful my husband wants to spend time with Jesus, but selfishly I didn’t want to give up my dreamy plans. I knew that once I was in carpooling momma mode, my day would be in motion and my quiet place would be noisy because I’d be thinking instead of being.

When I got back from an hour of carpooling, I spent time with Jesus. But it was shorter than I hoped. Jesus had other places for me to be. All throughout my morning while I wanted to sit and seek, He prompted my heart to serve. A friend called and wanted help with something. Another friend had something to give me, which was very kind, but it meant going to meet her somewhere. A thought to encourage another friend came to me, which meant a phone call to make. A co-worker needed some direction and advice on a challenging situation.

My extended time in my “quiet place” didn’t happen until very late in the day. I was tempted to be frustrated, but for some reason I wasn’t as much as I normally am. Maybe God’s making progress with me and my ways. I guess He’s teaching me that my “quiet place” to pray will sometimes be just as I planned. But sometimes it’s won’t be what I envision, or what I long for. I know God wants me to be with Him – to pull away, to set aside, to plan ahead. But sometimes He rearranges the furniture in my “quiet place” and it becomes more of a place in my heart than a space in my home. A place where I simply abide in Him.

Abide
1.to remain; continue; stay.
2.to have one’s abode; dwell; reside.
3.to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship, last.

Maybe it’s in the pulling away, the setting aside, the planning ahead, that we are positioned to give Him our emotions, our thoughts, and then invite His perspective and plans to invade ours. And then we can continue in that attitude – so it lasts – as we try to follow where He leads us physically, all the while remaining in Him spiritually and emotionally.

I’d love to know what your quiet place, or not-so-quiet place, with Jesus looks like? Does it frustrate you when you plan time with Him and then life or little people interrupt? Do you keep trying or do you give up? I’ll be back to share a few things that have helped me, but first I wanted you to know it’s a struggle for me, too.

Abiding still,

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Me time…a quiet place…keeping my heart keenly aware of God speaking to me. For a little more than a week, this is what I have tried to follow. I have prayed for an Extreme Makeover in my life and He is working in my heart like never before. I am ready to be on the other side of these feelings, but I know it may not be Gods will for my situation to change right away. He chooses to work on my faith through the storm.
    So until then, I am learning to cherish the quiet time and letting my heart listen to His voice.

  2. tiggerdaisy says:

    I need a quiet place!!!! 🙂

    I have to say that I was sincerely touched that you followed the Holy Spirit’s guidance and allowed your husband the quiet time he needed. I bet he and God had a great time together! And I’m sure your husband felt completely respected and loved.

    Prayers and blessings,
    Rebecca

  3. Wow!! So glad to know that I am not the only one that struggles to find “that” time. As I am writing this after a morning of doctor appts and finally getting my youngest off to school I am sitting in my office at work with my door shut…so noone will interrupt me!!! No special chair for me…but I feel like I need to make the connection with HIM before I start my day..even if it is at almost 11:00 in the morning.Haha..I too make plans to get up early and get my “quiet time” in before the rest of the household needs me..but that rarely happens. I have not given up though…I still set my alarm extra early everyday in the hopes that the next morning will be the day that I can fulfill my plan. Thanks for sharing that I am not alone in my never ending quest for more alone time with the Lord!!
    Laya, WV
    madlaya1@aol.com

  4. I try so hard to “plan” and then 1/2 the time it doesn’t end up the way “I” wanted and I get frustrated. I am still new to reading in my bible daily and spending time with the Lord that it does make me want to give up. Especially lately. I know it would be so much easier to forget it all.

  5. Joanie Butler says:

    Thanks for this post today!

    Usually my quite place is the couch early in the morning before little feet hit the floor. Lately though I have been unable to sleep at night so bedtime is between 12 and 3 a.m. Unfortunately at those hours my brain is mush and reading is impossible as I read the same section over and over and it is like the words are written in the original text.

    Sorry I digressed; with the change in my sleep cycle I am now unable to get up early so I have been trying to “catch” a quiet moment or two during the day and even those get interupted often. Most of the time the interuptions are things that God reminds me are His priorities for my life. Things like a reminder to write a note of encouragement or my little one saying, “Mommy, do you love me? I need a hug and some attention.”

    So, although I have not spent the depth and intensity in His word that I had been doing prior to this crazy sleep (or lack of) cycle, I am now (because of your post today) seeing that it is okay! I am being obedient to God and listening to Him.

    Maybe in this season I am supposed to listen to His voice upon my heart more than to His voice from His word.

    Thank you for the encouragement! Be blessed sweet sister!

    Serving for His kingdom and His glory,
    Joanie

  6. My Journey to Hope says:

    I feel the same way. I plan out my time & I'm so happy to pray, read, write…and then the phone rings or the baby wakes up, etc. I sigh and keep going. I like how you said it:
    "But sometimes He rearranges the furniture in my
    'quiet place' and it becomes more of a place in my
    heart than a space in my home or in my day."
    Thanks for the encouragement!

    -Michelle

  7. My quiet place is seldom at home because home is seldom quiet. Sometimes it’s a cafe when I get the chance to go off by myself, but sometimes it’s McDonald’s playland because my little spot at the table can be quiet while the kids are off playing.

    I do get frustrated at times with the interruptions, not for the interruptions themselves, but at times I can feel my calm and sanity slipping away and know that I need just those few moments of quiet to stay somewhat even keeled. But, I do try to set my “needs” aside when it’s clear that that’s not really what God needs me to be doing at that moment. When we follow Him as He directs, He fills us up even when we’re giving out more than we think we hold.

  8. Chef Diane says:

    Renee,

    Thanks for letting us know it is hard for you too. Today I found myself in that very spot. I had wonderful plans to spend today in that quiet time. But as I started carving up the day somehow it kept getting pushed back.
    I didn’t plan to spend the whole morning at the hospital with a friend. But that was when I needed to be. I need to be present in my frame of mind and body when my teenagers come home in fifteen minutes. It goes on and on, but what works for me is using that “dead time” just connecting with God. In the car going to and from the hospital. When the house is empty, or when I have to rest. All of it prepare me for when I finally get to settle in for the quiet time with God.
    Thanks for the post today.
    Diane

  9. I do so often feel sad and maybe a bit cheated when I miss out on my time with the Lord in the morning…be it because I can’t get my rear out of bed or because one of my sweet short people gets up super early.

    I am having to learn that my time with Him doesn’t have to fit into some neat little quiet time package…that I can indeed just
    “be” with Him throughout my day.

    I am all uptight and rule oriented. He’s really having to work on getting me to relax and truly enjoy Him!

    I love that you let Him rearrange your day. I love how you looked at it that already having your heart set on time just with Him had you in the right frame of mind for some changes.

    Blessings, Renee!

  10. Renee,

    I came across you from Lisa Smith’s blog, and am so thankful that I did.

    Today my quiet place is just what I need, but our children are now parents themselves…so fighting for my early morning time usually is a fight with myself. Do I stay in bed or do I get up. More times than not, I get up. 😉

    Blessings,
    Yolanda
    HIGHER GROUNDS…ps…your Hebrews Cafe caught my attention…

  11. My quiet time is most often first thing in the morning. My husbands alarm goes off at 5:50am, so I get up with him and have about 50 min. before I have to wake our son. Even though that time rarely gets disturbed, I can still misuse it by allowing my mind to wander to things like my grocery list, chores I need to accomplish, friends I need to call, purchases that need to be made etc..

    There are days I too plan to devote more time later for prayer and study and the doorbell or phone ringing can take me away from those good intentions. Although I have a moment of frustration, I’ve actually learned to welcome interruptions as part of God’s plan for my day. The way I see it, He saw my heart and efforts to spend time with Him, yet He still allowed things unplanned to steal hours of my day. I then try to see these interruptions as ministry opportunities. Not always easy, but I’m learning.

    Want to share a couple of my favourite quotes with you.

    “For those times when You yearn for my fellowship and stand at the door and knock, grant me a special sensitivity to the sound of that knock so I may be quick to my feet. Keep me form letting You stand out in the cold or from ever sending You away to some stable. May my heart be warm and inviting, so that when You do knock, a worthy place will always be waiting…” Ken Gire

    “Again the loneliness of our Lord comes to me more and more. How few of us are concerned about satisfying His heart. How I hear Him saying, I thirst, Give me to drink. May my Lord never let me grow cold in my longing to be a cup in His hand for the quenching of His own royal thirst.” Oswald Chambers

    Learning to abide,
    Joy
    PS. I had a dream about you last night Renee. I was in NC and you and I spent an afternoon together. It was so precious and it seemed so real ~ almost…almost like being with you again :o)

  12. I get to my sons school early for parent pick up and sit in my car with my daily devotion and pray. That is about the only time I can shut my brain off during the day other than when everyone is asleep and then I just want to fall over myself.

  13. Yes, I have a very difficult time making time for the Lord. Shamefully, I have no excuse. I appreciate any prayers for this in my life. God bless.

  14. Tonya Ingram says:

    Quiet time starts at 5:00 am every morning. I sometimes sleep late, but I try to make sure that I get up during the week, at least, at 5:00 am. My problem is that sometimes instead of sitting there soaking in God’s Word, I get pulled into catching up on the few blogs I follow, which lead to others, and the cycle continues, and before I know it, quiet time is over and the day has begun… little ones are getting up, get ready for school/work, once I get to work, most of the time I don’t get quiet time… every now and then, I MAKE myself just STOP and read my daily devotion through my email (compliments of Proverbs 31 Woman). I struggle more often that I care to admit.

  15. I’ve always liked time with God early in the morning when no one else is up. Recently, I got off track with that and found a lot of my days swallowed up in “doing” and Jesus was getting the leftovers. I learned a lesson from my 13 year old daughter who said, “Mom, spend time with God the very first thing, even before you get out of bed.” She’s been doing that since 1/1/09 and what a difference it has made. I took her advice and now I make a positive effort to put the Lord first place. That said, I’m longing for some long, luscious days like you had originally planned for your day. Sometimes a daily quiet time just isn’t enough, I want more!

  16. I love this part of your entry today:
    Maybe it’s in the pulling away, the setting aside, the planning ahead, that we are positioned to give Him our emotions, our thoughts, and then invite His perspective and plans to invade ours. And then we can continue in that attitude – so it lasts – as we try to follow where He leads us physically, all the while remaining in Him spiritually and emotionally.
    I need to remember to invite God into my day. Often when i pray in the morning it is for protection for my family or joy for my day. These are good things, but how much better could it be if I invite God to be in every part of my day. Thanks for this well timed reminder Renee.
    I also wanted to let you know that I have given you a blog award on my blog. I really enjoy your writing and look forward to reading each of your blog updates.

  17. I love this part of your entry today:
    Maybe it’s in the pulling away, the setting aside, the planning ahead, that we are positioned to give Him our emotions, our thoughts, and then invite His perspective and plans to invade ours. And then we can continue in that attitude – so it lasts – as we try to follow where He leads us physically, all the while remaining in Him spiritually and emotionally.
    I need to remember to invite God into my day. Often when i pray in the morning it is for protection for my family or joy for my day. These are good things, but how much better could it be if I invite God to be in every part of my day. Thanks for this well timed reminder Renee.
    I also wanted to let you know that I have given you a blog award on my blog. I really enjoy your writing and look forward to reading each of your blog updates.

  18. I like to remember this acronym for Abide
    Always
    Being
    In
    Divine
    Energy

  19. I like to remember this acronym for Abide
    Always
    Being
    In
    Divine
    Energy

  20. Renee,
    I loved your topic this morning…
    What works best for me is getting up before everyone else does. I make a cup of coffee and read my Bible…then I take a walk. This part was always selfish as I was walking to stay fit. [we have a jack russell so pretty much he walk me…]But, during a Beth Moore Bible study, she mentioned turning exercise into prayer time…the light bulb went off in my head. About a year ago, I turned this walking time into prayer time and it completely changed my whole life. It’s still dark out and the sun is starting to come through depending upon the season…it’s the best time of the day for me. So still and peaceful…enjoying the presence of God and His creation. My dog has turned into my “prayer-walking dog.” The best are days that I can take 2 walks! 🙂 I start out praising God, and then pray for each member of my family and move into my extended family…friends. I love starting my day this way. God has whispered so many things to me during this time. Over and over He amazes me and each day I fall in love with Him more.

    Can’t wait to read comments on other peoples ideas. We can all encourage one another, for sure!!!

    Thank you for your post.

    Blessings,
    Lori – Mesa, AZ

  21. I too have such a hard time when my plans are interrupted. However, I am reminded that those “interruptions” are important too. Normally, it is my 2 year old son, my husband, another family member or friend who call upon me for help. They are important priorities so I try to keep that in perspective. Still, I often find myself sighing before I carry on. It’s so refreshing to know that I am not alone in my struggles. Anyway, everyone seems to talk about getting up early to do devotions, pray and meditate. However, I am not a morning person at all. I am way more keen at 8:30 or 9pm…after my son goes to bed. That’s when I do my daily Bible reading and pray. I think everyone should know that there’s no right or wrong time of the day to spend time with the Lord.
    I also work part-time so on those three days I spend my lunch break reading my Bible. I also try to sneak in little tid-bits on my day off when my son is napping in the afternoon. I pray continually throughout the day…without taking a break from my chores and work.
    I think it’s important to take the time when the opportunities arrive…even if only short amounts of time. We often feel like there are so many other things that we just have to accomplish in the time alloted when really many of those things can take a “back seat” to a little time with the Lord. We must keep our priorities straight. Thank you so much for the very honest, very helpful post!

  22. Heather Conrad says:

    Great post Renee! You’re on a “writing role”, great time for your proposals! God’s timing is always interesting, and perfect. He’s been working on my heart in these same areas. When the Lord changed directions for our family in remaining in Ohio, we did some “rearranging”, furniture that is. There’s an area in our loft that became open, and I simply got a vision of a devotion area. In praying and looking for a God-deal, he led me to the “perfect chair”, it’s red, it’s comfy, but not too comfy, and it fits perfectly in the space. Complete with a lamp and nightstand we already owned, a shelf not being used in the basement, and a picture I found for $5, the space was complete. It’s the perfect place to curl up with him, to be quiet, listen, and journal just as you described – very much a blessing.

    Though the space is wonderful, it does no good if I don’t use it 🙂 Got to spend the weekend with Karen Ehman (yea!) and in listening to her speak about time, it was such a confirmation to me in the joy that can reside in following God’s lead through the day. I too like to plan, though my frustration too resides in the unexpected changes that occur to thwart my plan (I really can be strong-willed in following through no-matter-what.) Like you Renee, I know he’s making progress when somehow those interruptions don’t bring the tension that I myself can get uptight about. It’s fascinating to watch Him change my course, yet still bring me back at another time to complete what I had set out to do. In this, I’ve learned to become more flexible in when that quiet time comes in my day. And you know what, many times I found myself reading or hearing just what was intended based on the events that He allowed in-the-meantime. Thanks for obeying Him as an example and encouragement for “us”. You go girl!

  23. lisasmith says:

    Again, I think you live my life!

    My quiet place is either up very, very late or up very, very early. I sit on the couch in our children’s retreat room by a lamp. I am always reinventing this particular space so I have a little nest on which to sit and be quiet!

    In order for me to do what I do in life I need lots and lots of soaking and seeking time too. My first breakthrough came when I got rid of everything but necessities…then God called me to give up sleep! When times get super busy, I arise at 4:30 to meet with Him in an unhurried, quiet way. He always shows up and it’s awesome.

    I do think the more we abide in Him, the more we actually live. I like how you said He just rearranges the furniture in your quiet place. My heart gets this.

  24. Kathy S. says:

    On weekdays, at my kitchen table watching the sun rise and having it shine on my face, looking out the patio doors and watching the birds at the birdfeeder. It’s so theraputic! I learned at a journaling workshop to have a notebook next to me to jot the “to~do”s so they don’t distract you…and I often write my prayers to keep focused.

    On the weekends, whenever i can steal away. Usually Sunday afternoon when the guys are out working,and Kayla is off with her fiance, I get quiet time.

    Sometimes at night, I will curl up on the couch with my journal and just give thanks for all the blessings that day. It’s a good way to end the day.

    I like the walking idea, but in WI only half of the year 😀

  25. Having quiet place is what I truly call a treat. Being a mother of three sometimes four (husband) makes having quiet time with God a juggling act. It had gotten so bad that I had to find my quiet place in the bathroom taking care of personal business (LOL) but you have to do what you have to do. At times I get very frustrated because the distraction sometimes come in a way where you know the enemy is trying to throw you off balance but knowing this is the case; I perservere at all cost. Even if it’s in the middle of the night or in my sleep. I have found myself praising God or having talks that I sometime do not remember the specifics when I wake up; however, I have the inner peace I sought for in that Quite Place. I say all of this to say that having a Quiet Place is essential in our Christian walk. This is our time to have a one on one with our Father – get it whenever and however you can. Amen?

  26. Amen Sabrina! I love how you encourage us not to give up or get frustrated and wait for a better season in life to find a quiet place.

    You are so right when you say, “Quiet Place is essential in our Christian walk. This is our time to have a one on one with our Father – get it whenever and however you can.”

    Off to sit in my quiet place with Him. We’ve got a lunch date today!

  27. Having quiet place is what I truly call a treat. Being a mother of three sometimes four (husband) makes having quiet time with God a juggling act. It had gotten so bad that I had to find my quiet place in the bathroom taking care of personal business (LOL) but you have to do what you have to do. At times I get very frustrated because the distraction sometimes come in a way where you know the enemy is trying to throw you off balance but knowing this is the case; I perservere at all cost. Even if it’s in the middle of the night or in my sleep. I have found myself praising God or having talks that I sometime do not remember the specifics when I wake up; however, I have the inner peace I sought for in that Quite Place. I say all of this to say that having a Quiet Place is essential in our Christian walk. This is our time to have a one on one with our Father – get it whenever and however you can. Amen?

  28. Renee Swope says:

    Amen Sabrina! I love how you encourage us not to give up or get frustrated and wait for a better season in life to find a quiet place.

    You are so right when you say, “Quiet Place is essential in our Christian walk. This is our time to have a one on one with our Father – get it whenever and however you can.”

    Off to sit in my quiet place with Him. We’ve got a lunch date today!

Share Your Thoughts

*