Over the past year I’ve had several women tell me they struggle with perfectionism in quiet times. This manifests itself in a few different ways.
Sometimes people will feel like there’s no use having a quiet time unless they can have a long one. Or they might struggle to figure out what to do during a quiet time or feel like they have to pray a certain way in order for God to listen to them. Or they may want to come up with the perfect Bible study system or perfect book to go through.
Perfectionism can ruin quiet times because it makes us not want to have them. In today’s blog post I want to take a look at what it would look like to truth journal for this problem. Let’s do that with an email a reader sent me. Here’s what she wrote:
“I’ve been struggling with my quiet times and this morning God showed me why….PERFECTIONISM. I went through the perfectionism questions with my quiet time in mind.
God showed me some things as I answered each one. I identified a few lies (there are probably more):
- If I don’t connect perfectly with God, I am wasting my time.
- If I don’t connect perfectly with God, I’m not holding up my end.
- I’ll never get this right so I’ll never change and become the woman God wants me to be
- I have disappointed Him…again.
- I should be able to have a productive quiet time because I have been a Christian a long time…what’s wrong with me.
I need to do a little thinking to come up with the truths to address these…these lies are so ingrained in me, it feels like I am trying to turn the Titanic.”
Can you relate to this reader? Let’s take a look at some truths for each lie. I’ll list what I would put for the truth, but I’d love also love to hear your thoughts if you have any other truths (or lies) you’d like to add to the discussion! Here goes:
5 Lies That May Be Ruining Your Quiet Times
1) If I don’t connect perfectly with God, I am wasting my time.
Truth: This isn’t true with other people and not with God either – it’s impossible to connect perfectly all the time. Relationships need both quality and quantity time – some of that time will be incredible and some will be just kind of so-so. That’s life!
2) If I don’t connect perfectly with God, I’m not holding up my end.
Truth: While it’s true that connection problems are always our fault, not God’s, we’re incapable of always being perfectly present with Him. We also struggle with sin and idolatry and both of those struggles will affect our time with Him. Thankfully, God loves us no matter what and knows our weaknesses and still loves us. That’s what grace is all about. So yes, I’m not holding up my end, but I’m not capable of always holding my end. Thankfully, I don’t need to be because God IS capable.
3) I’ll never get this right so I’ll never change and become the woman God wants me to be.
Truth: I won’t do it easily, not perfectly, and not as quickly as I want, but if I keep pursuing God I WILL become the woman He wants me to be – it will just happen slowly over time.
4) I have disappointed Him…again.
Truth: Not surprising – I’m a sinner! I will disappoint Him at times but so does everyone else in the world. Thankfully He expects it, knows it’s going to happen, and still loves me. He knew Peter was going to deny Him, and He still had him play a major role in the church.
5) I should be able to have a productive quiet time because I have been a Christian a long time…what’s wrong with me?
Truth: There may be a number of things wrong. It could be sin or idolatry causing the problem, or it could just be that we haven’t found something to do with God that keeps our minds active and involved. It could also be the time of day we’re having our quiet time. It’s best held during a time when we have enough energy to focus on Him and His Word.
Did you recognize yourself in any of the above lies? If you don’t feel like having a quiet time, try renewing your mind before you have a quiet time. You could either truth journal or journal through some of the questions I’ve written to help with quiet times. Here are some other ideas to help with a consistent quiet time: 6 Steps to a Consistent Quiet Time. If you want some more ideas for some things to do during your quiet time, click here.
Discussion: Do you have any tips for having a consistent quiet time, or are there any other lies you believe that make it hard for you to have a good quiet time?