When Your Quiet Time is Anything but Quiet

3 Ways to Handle Interruptions to Your Time Alone with God

Spending quiet time alone with God each day in worship, prayer, and Bible reading is essential to nurturing our spirit and increasing our fruitfulness.  However, as a mother of eight children who has homeschooled some or all of them for the past 12+ years, I know hard it can be to block out time to actually attempt to be still before the Lord.

As a mother of 8, I have often longed for a quiet time that is actually quiet. Here are 3 tips for what to do when your quiet time gets interrupted.

How often I have dreamed of a quiet time that is actually, well . . . quiet.  Unfortunately, that only happens for me when the rest of the household is asleep, which is either really early in the morning or really late at night.  Sometimes I’m so worn out that neither is a possibility so I am forced to attempt a quiet time in the midst of an active and noisy household.  Can you relate?

Here are 3 things I try to keep in mind when my quiet time is interrupted:

1-Persevere.

Don’t give up.  Repeated interruptions are not an excuse to quit trying altogether.  It’s easy to throw in the towel, but that’s not where the greatest rewards lay.  Blessed are the perseverant, for they shall eventually cross the finish line.

Keep the big picture in mind rather than focusing on one particular fleck of paint.  Your long term consistency is of far more importance than any individual day.

2-Keep calm and stay loving.

Don’t get angry.  It’s so easy to lose your cool when someone interrupts an important activity you’re trying to complete.  (Ask me how I know!)  But it’s totally hypocritical to fuss at someone for interrupting your time with Lord.  (Okay, so I’m guilty of anger and hypocrisy.  You too?)  God was very clear about the fact that we can’t say we love Him and then not be loving toward people (1 John 4:19-21).

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
James 3:9-11

Keep Calm and Stay Loving

3-Go with the flow.

Don’t be inflexible.  Train yourself to ask, “Lord, what is your purpose for allowing this interruption?  Are you redirecting me or testing my commitment?” Sometimes our interruptions are divinely appointed and part of the big plan.  We miss it if we are stuck to our original goal.

What if Abraham had not paid attention to God’s interruption and replied, “Hang on a sec, Lord.  Let me finish executing my son and then I’ll be right with you.”  Yep.  Better to check with God and see if the interruption really came from Him.

Lord, what is your purpose for allowing this interruption? Are you redirecting me or testing my commitment?

 Abide Always

Although a specific time set aside for the Lord is ideal, we can and should abide with Him anywhere anytime (John 15:4).  Our quiet time is really just the interlude to a life lived continually aware of God’s presence.

I have often read biographies of great Christian saints who devoted several hours a day to scripture and prayer and left feeling discouraged that I could not do the same.  However, we are each called to our own unique path.  We all have a different race to run.  Mind you, not many of the people I have studied were busy raising a brood of young children.

The one exception that comes to mind is Susanna Wesley who secured her quiet time by covering her head with her apron and telling her 10 children not to disturb her when they found her thus because she was talking to God.

I want to encourage you to eagerly and gratefully embrace whatever you receive from the Lord, no matter how small it may seem to you at the time.  Even a single verse or 5 more minutes in prayer is an immeasurable blessing when the source is an infinite God.

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.
Zechariah 4:10

Blessings, Elizabeth

P.S. – I had at least 25 interruptions from four different children during the writing of this post.  I’m thinking maybe God wants to make sure I mean what I say and I practice what I preach.

Do I need to put an apron on my head when I write too?  Perhaps a sign on the door would suffice.

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20 thoughts on “When Your Quiet Time is Anything but Quiet

  1. suggestion: Put a sign and a message board on your study door:
    “This door is closed for a reason.
    In an emergency, please knock.
    If not, leave a message and I will get back to you.”
    Beats putting an apron over your head!

    • Funny you should say that! After writing this post, I hung just such a sign on my office door. Great minds think alike! 🙂

  2. I guess “quiet” is a relative term 😉 I do find so much of it comes down to me paying attention – are the kids absorbed in something? If so, how can I take advantage of that time? When all four are home, that time is rare and the “opportunities” to keep teaching about boundaries abound. Thanks for linking with #SmallWonder.

    • Pretty much everything I write is because I need to learn it myself! Making it public keeps me accountable. 🙂

    • Nothing highlights my own hypocrisy to me as my dear children. Sometimes I think God gave them to me in part to straighten me out!

  3. It can be so hard to focus and connect with our Creator, especially in the hustle and bustle of life! I am working on this, and love your tip on staying loving!

  4. Beautiful!! You win the award for finding quiet time..having 8 children and still being able to write and find time to have quiet time?! Amazing ! But oh, so needed and necessary as you say!! Visiting from #smallwonders today..

    • Oh, I don’t know that I win any awards! Lol. I might be in the running for the “Most Often Interrupted” award. 🙂

  5. I love these suggestions, Elizabeth. (And I especially love that you share you were interrupted 25 times during the writing of this post, ha.) Being able to keep going forward, even when our schedules go awry, is critical to establishing good habits. I remember the days when I’d have to put a sign on my door—Mom is having quiet time!—but of course that didn’t necessarily work either. 🙂 I’m glad God knows our hearts and know the intentions we have to spend time with him even when the actions fall through. He’s more lenient on us than we often are on ourselves.

    • You’re so right. If only I could give myself as much grace as God gives me. I guess that’s why He’s God and I’m not. 🙂

  6. Elizabeth,
    Thanks so much for your encouraging words! As a fellow homeschooling mama, I know how easy it is to get frustrated when someone gets up early and interrupts my quiet time. Or if I’m writing. Or whatever I’m trying to do alone. And I have been convicted of my attitude when my sweet children just want time with me.

    Thanks again for sharing!
    Blessings,
    Selena

    • Selena, I’m in the same boat as you. As mothers, we are challenged even when it comes to making a trip to the bathroom alone, much less having a quiet time or writing! Lol. Let’s pray for each other to keep our attitudes sweet. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Love this! I’m guilty of giving up when I’ve been interrupted too many times to count. I usually huff and puff my exasperation at the offender and then eventually call it quits. However, sometimes, when I’m actually paying attention to God’s quiet voice in my heart, I realize that either a) God is looking to see how committed I am or b) Satan doesn’t want me to be spending that time with God. Either way, when I realize these things my focus becomes more clear even in the midst of a gazillion interruptions! Thanks so much for sharing this!

    • Lisa, you mention a great point! Our enemy is out to stop us from seeking the Lord. Sometimes interruptions are from him too!

  8. I really need to work on this. I also think I need to work on setting aside time to spend with God that I know will be interruption free. This usually means sacrificing some time in the evening after kids have gone to bed, but it is so worth it when I do.

  9. Elizabeth,

    I don’t have kids or that many distractions (phone yes, that many people needing my attention, no), but I’m most definitely guilty of 2 and 3. I think I take my time with Jesus a little too serious sometimes. A lot actually. And Jesus was never, HEY IM TALKING TO MY FATHER HERE! He didn’t mind interruptions. He welcomed them.

    With #3, I kinda feel guilty if I don’t let myself be redirected. I have a hard time hearing God a lot lately too, except: wait. Sometimes I think it’s all in my head..sigh.

    Thank you for sharing this and for the verse at the end. ? May God bless you and your quiet time, even if it is small ?

    • Julia, great example! I wish I had thought of that. You’re right; Jesus is our best example and I can absolutely not see Him getting ruffled when He was interrupted. Thanks for sharing your insight!