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Do you ever sit down to have your quiet time with God and then – poof – your mind is somewhere else? Maybe you’re planning a list. Or thinking about what happened last night. Or worrying about the day ahead. You want to focus on God but you can’t make yourself do it.
This has happened to me many times over the course of my walk with God. In recent years, I’ve discovered that my learning style affects my quiet times. In today’s podcast, we’ll look at how to use your learning style to help you enjoy and look forward to your times with God.
We’ll talk about the following learning styles: 1) kinesthetic, 2) auditory and 3) visual.
Visual learners learn best by seeing things. They like images, diagrams, maps, and charts. Auditory learners learn best by listening. While I often tune out listening to a lecture or someone giving directions, an auditory learner will listen and learn.
Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing. For example, they might study for a test while walking on the treadmill. Or if they’re learning how to computer program, they’ll learn best by getting involved right away in the programming without a long explanation.
How Your Learning Style Affects Your Quiet Time
So how does that affect a quiet time? We’ll talk about that on the podcast, but here’s an example.
I’m both a visual and a kinesthetic learner plus I’m a bit ADD so I do best with my quiet time if I’m actively involved in the process. One of the things I’ll do if my mind isn’t focusing well is to diagram the Scripture. Here’s a picture of my journal from my quiet time this morning:
As you can see, I don’t worry about being neat or organized. I just diagram. This helps me focus, and it also gives me a summary of the Scripture so I can look back over it afterward and pray through it.
I wrote down a couple of my prayers on the right side of the page on the bottom, but I usually just pray those without writing them down because once my mind is stirred up from being actively involved in writing and diagramming the Bible verses, it’s easy for me to focus on prayer.
Some Ideas for Your Quiet Time
So if you’re finding yourself either bored with your quiet time or just too easily distracted, try doing some different things in your quiet time. Here are a few things to try:
- Try diagramming a Bible passage like I just did.
- Try listening to the Bible on tape. You could try an audio Bible app on Android or iOS. As you listen, turn it off and take breaks every once in awhile to meditate on it and talk to God about it.
- Try putting on some quiet instrumental music while you’re reading your Bible to see if that help you concentrate any better.
- Try praying while walking. You would think a kinesthetic learner might be helped by this but for some reason, I’ve had a hard time learning this practice. I’m just now getting to the point where I enjoy it and can focus on God and pray while walking.
- Try taking a retreat with God every once in awhile in addition to your daily times with Him. It could be a whole day or just a couple of hours. Last year I went to Missoula once a month for a prayer/Bible retreat with God. I felt like I needed that to keep my relationship with Him strong because I was still struggling with idolatry in the writing/people pleasing arena. Something about going to Missoula and leaving my writing problems behind helped me to focus on God, and I always had wonderful undistracted times with Him.
- Try an around-the-living-room prayer time. Set your timer for 3 minutes and then change places to sit every time the timer rings. Choose a new subject to discuss with God every time you change your chair.
- Do 15 jumping jacks before you start your quiet time and then every 10 or 15 minutes if you’re having a hard time sitting still.
- Try doing Bible studies others have written. I have quite a few of these on my blog if you’d like to try them at this link: Topical Bible Studies.
That’s about it. I’m guessing we’ll discuss this more on the podcast. I’m trying a new method of writing down what I’ll talk about first and then recording the podcast. We’ll see how it works!
I hope you all have a great day, and I hope these ideas help with your quiet time! Let me know how it goes in the comments below and also share any other ideas you have that will help others!
Resources We Discussed On the Podcast
- Audio Bible App
- How to Truth Journal
- The Renewing of the Mind Project
- Topical Bible Studies
- Ask a question you’d like me to discuss on the podcast
- Set up a coaching interview or a victory interview
P.S. Here is another great article I just read on this subject: Bible Reading Tips for the Easily Distracted
Deanna burris says
Great article Barb. I start each year with a plan, but sometimes God changes that plan! I’ve been struggling this year with direction because I’ve been dealing with a cancer diagnosis, surgery, and now chemo treatments. Through much prayer (and your timely article helped too) I’m feeling a direction from the Holy Spirit. ?
Barb Raveling says
Oh I’m so sorry to hear about the cancer, surgery, and chemo, Deanna! So sorry you have to go through all of that! Praying for healing, peace, comfort, and feeling close to God. And for not being nauseous. :(
There’s no such thing as learning styles. Research over the last couple decades has debunked the idea as pure myth.
Barb Raveling says
Oh, that’s interesting! I learned about learning styles back in the old days when my kids were homeschooling. Although when I googled it just now, even back then it looks like some people doubted the validity of it. I guess whether they’re valid or not, it’s still helpful to try different things and see what works. Thanks for letting me know about the new findings!
Joanne Cetnar says
Thank you for a most interesting article. Even though the experts now say it doesn’t make a difference, when I started reading about the different learning styles and it took me back to my college days and I feel very hopeful that this will make a difference for me, bcause it sure did many years ago. The idea of ” mind mapping” the bible absolutely makes sense to me. My stress level is falling just thinking about it. This article is God’s answer to my prayer. Thank you again.
Barb Raveling says
Yay! So glad it’s God’s answer to your prayer, Joanne! I love being involved in that! I’m praying it will make a difference!
Great ideas, Barb! I love your diagramming of Scripture. I’ve seen others do this but I’ve never tried it myself. You have inspired me.
I never thought about applying learning styles for my quiet time. Those methods were so helpful
when teaching my children years ago. I’m excited to try it.
Barb Raveling says
Great, Georgene! I hope it helps!
Tracy L Stoutjesdyk says
I am new here and have a few issues around food and eating that I’d like some help with. Would you be willing to share your email? I have searched everywhere for a way to email you and have found nothing.
Thank you so much for your Taste for Truth podcast. I believe I have now listened to every one but I still have two questions that don’t seem to have been addressed yet.
Barb Raveling says
Hi Tracy! I’m glad you enjoy the podcast! My email is under the podcast and resources tab but I’ll also include it here: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll look forward to hearing from you. You can also record your question here if you’d rather and I can answer it on the podcast: https://www.speakpipe.com/barbraveling. I’ll look forward to hearing your questions!
I am doing day 7 in the 30 day weight loss devotional. Up until this point I was with you. You gave a comparison between elegantly thin woman and the pleasantly plump woman. You said ” And when that woman eats what she wants elegantly thin isn’t what she ends up with.” Page 42. This is exactly what people do all the time, compare thin women with large woman. Why is the thin woman elegant and the plump woman pleasant. I have many thin friends who eat any and every thing just because they can and w ont gain weight. They have no boundaries at all. They may appear elegant on the outside but they full of junk inside. I also know beautiful elegant plump women who are beautiful inside and out. Yes I am overweight and I am trying to break bad eating habits, but I don’t have any health difficulties and despite my size I could be just as elegant as the thin woman. That’s exactly the attitude we fight with being compared to thinner women because we think thin is more attractive, but is that what this is all about . You even described the plump woman so negatively, sensible shoes and stretchy pants. Wow. That was really a low blow. I wish you could see my big girl sexy underwear, 3 inch heels and beautiful dresses. I don’t want you to make me feel bad about my size, I can do that to myself. I don’t want you to make me feel bad about how I am now, just help me to correct some of my bad habits so I can eat healthier and live longer. I have enjoyed studying your material, but please don’t make it seem that just because a woman is thin that makes her the model woman because it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter how many boundaries we set, some of us will never be as thin as Audrey Hepburn nor do we want to be. I just want to break some bad eating habits and be emotionally and physically healthy whether I am a size 2, 12 or a 20.
Barb Raveling says
Hi Annette! I’m so sorry that lesson hurt you. Please forgive me as I didn’t mean to imply that you have to be skinny to be beautiful and/or elegant and didn’t realize that story could be taken that way. It’s hard when you’re writing a book because you’re not talking face to face and you don’t get the chance to clarify things so I’m glad that you left a comment for me.
I am also upset when the culture says we have to be skinny to be beautiful. I believe that we’re all beautiful no matter what our size – and also that beauty depends much more on our insides than our outsides. I talk about that sort of thing in the lessons in Taste for Truth on body image which you may not have gotten to yet and also in Freedom from Emotional Eating.
I think I just wrote that example because when I think of elegance I think of Audrey Hepburn. It may also help you to know that I don’t think of non-elegance in a negative light. If you were to meet me, you would see a pleasant, non-elegant (but thin) person who always wears unstylish shoes and stretchy pants. In fact I don’t think I even own a pair of non-stretchy pants (even my jeans have stretch in them) and I never wear my stylish shoes because they’re too uncomfortable! So I don’t see the plump matron’s clothing choices in a negative light.
Anyway, I hope this helps! My guess is that we’d be on the same page if we sat down and had a visit. But this is the next best thing so thanks for letting me know!