If I look at the last 5 years of my life, my quiet times with the Lord have actually been some of the most inconsistent of my life and much of it by choice. For a season early when we first moved to Texas some 5 years ago, I began to read more sporadically and attempted to began to live a life motto I felt the Lord had given before we had moved: worship as a lifestyle. I can connect, engage with, and enjoy God when I'm outdoors, on a run, with a friend, drinking coffee, reading a good book, cooking, etc. For so long, I had operated under a system of feeling guilty when I didn't read my Bible. It was something I had struggled with for decades. So, moving to Texas was somehow a journey into embracing God's GRACE on a more regular basis for me in this area. And God used my sporadic reading times to really draw me closer to Him. I did read my Bible, just not every day, for a set amount of time. Instead, I'd purposely focus on God and think or pray when I was doing any number of activities every day; yes, sometimes even in place of reading the Word. It was powerful. Yet, over time I began to realize that I was moving into a habit of becoming LAZY and not reading; I entered spiritual deserts; I struggled. There must be a balance to reading and enjoying God through His Word and not feeling like I-should-do-this-because-I'm-a-Christian. It's a really tricky balance for me, not one that I seem to have found. All I know is this, being in the Word on a *regular* basis is key to nourishing my soul.
In July 2009, after being very out of the habit of regular quiet times, I started anew. And for 3 months I was up regularly at 5:30am, reading, and getting my day started before the kids were up. Then, fall/winter hit and thus came kiddos getting sick, not sleeping well, and me finding out I was pregnant and just NOT wanting to get up. Especially since it was now DARK outside. I hate daylight savings for that reason alone.
But, today, I was up early once again (with a warm mug of Trader Joe's sweet and spicy tea) and my time was actually incredibly refreshing. I was able to pray, journal, and read the Word. The kids are still sleeping and it's almost 7am. Starting my day before the kids wake up is really one of the KEY things for me that makes my days function 10 times better.