As a child I watched my mom read “Our Daily Bread” every morning. I would come down for breakfast and there she was. Spending her time with the Lord. Praying for her children. Being still before God. To this day she still sits in her same chair in the corner of our living room with our family dog Bella snuggled with her. Her dedication to her daily practice has always inspired me.
However, daily devotions are always an area where I’ve struggled. I thought that I could only grow in intimacy with God through reading the Bible (chronologically), praying, and journaling – in that order. This is what I was taught devotions were. They had a precise structure and in my head the practice of this specific structure is what made someone a “good Christian”. . And it was a daily struggle for me. I thought I needed to earn my salvation again when in reality Jesus already earned it for me.
I avoided this devotion structure simply because I wasn’t good at it. And because I avoided it I simply wasn’t growing. Yes, I was going to church, doing my small group homework, and praying and journaling on occasion but I wasn’t allowing myself to be fed from God’s word or simply just be in his presence. My mind was trapped in the structure and because I thought I was bad at it I just wanted to avoid it
It wasn’t until the beginning of this year when I tried something different – a more creative way- for me to connect to God. I thought, if God has gifted me to sing and to letter and doodle and draw why don’t I incorporate that practice into my time of worship. Why don’t I make that part of my offering and sacred time with him? Why am I trying to fit myself in a mold I was never meant to fit in? God made each and every person in his image but uniquely and different. Why did I expect connecting with him to be the same for everyone?
So I tried something different. When I woke up at 5am and couldn’t sleep I made myself some coffee turned on the worship tunes and prayed and lettered and wrote notes to people. I sat with God. On my walks home from work I sang worship songs out loud (and probably looked like a fool!) but I found I was finally feeling fes. I was finally growing! There was a renewed intimacy in our relationship and healing in my heart started to come!
Here are a few of the resources that have been helpful for me.
I found a really good prayer journal by Val Marie Paper that guides me through what to pray for each month with different sections for the world, community, friends, family and more (photo below) There are also sections in the back for writing out your own prayers. The sections keep me focused but the blank pages allow me to write freely.
I use a blank notebook to doodle and draw scripture. The key for me is having something with blank pages that is small enough I can throw in my purse. I also love nice thick paper that my felt tip pens won’t bleed through. I was gifted this one that is absolutely perfect. I can’t find it online but found a similar one here.
I’ve also started keeping notecards close because I find a lot of times God speaks to me about people that need some love and encouragement. I make myself prepared for that by having notecards + stamps ready to go to write little notes and send some snail mail.
Overall, allowing myself to have creative freedom with how I’ve connected with God has really improved my own posture for wanting to spend time with Him. I find I don’t dread my quiet time or bible study anymore, but rather see it as an opportunity to use the unique gifts and talents God has given me to offer right back to Him. Because God is who He is I have the freedom to be who I was made to be.
Will your quiet time look exactly like mine? Absolutely not. You are unique. You have your own gifts, talents and desires. I would encourage you to reflect on how God has gifted you and secondly just experiment. I have friends that paint or play an instrument or just go out in nature to feel God’s presence. As you experiment I would love to hear how it goes! What are you learning about yourself and about God? Tell me in the comments or on instagram at @delaina_j!