Good morning! I do hope you have had a chance to read my review of Emily Ryan’s new book Guilt Free Quiet Times: Exposing the Top Ten Myths about your Time with God. It’s such an amazing book! It will certainly bless you!
It just started snowing here, and it’s one of those days that would be perfect to curl up around the fire with a good book. Alas, I am a mom with a to do list a million miles long. You know Christmas is 3 weeks away, and I haven’t even started yet. Ahh!!
Today, I am honored to have Emily join me for some girl talk about her new book. Let me introduce you to Emily Ryan with a video she and Laurie Cole put together.
Any one whose spiritual gift is sarcasm is awesome in my book! Grab some coffee, curl up and get cozy, and let’s get this show on the road!
Stephanie: What inspired you to write Guilt Free Quiet Times? Does it have anything to do with the fact that you are a mom of four? I’m a mother of one, and I struggle to get my quiet times in!
Emily: That definitely had something to do with it! Sometimes it feels like you get a child with a side of guilt when you become a mom!
But I guess the big inspiration came when I realized that I was slowly beginning to resent motherhood because I felt like it was “interrupting my spiritual growth.” For example, I’d sit down to read my Bible and then become angry and if my child woke up early from his nap. Well, newsflash – I don’t care how much you read your Bible, resenting motherhood is not a sign of spiritual health!
When it comes to motherhood, the “guilt” that most of us feel is straight from Satan. God brings conviction, not guilt. The difference is that guilt shows you the problem; conviction shows you the solution. If you’re feeling convicted because you’re watching too much TV, there’s an obvious solution to change that. But God will never make you feel guilty for being needed as a mom.
Stephanie: We moms so need to hear that! I absolutely love the intro to your book, the part you call the “fine print.” You make it clear what this book is and is not. How did you come up with the concept of “exposing the ten myths?”
Emily: A few years ago, Laurie Cole did a short video series on three common quiet time myths. Unfortunately it’s not available anymore, but it was the first time I ever heard someone officially say that your quiet time does not have to follow a certain set of guidelines. It was so amazing; I began to wonder if there were any more “myths” that were masquerading as truths. I quickly came up with the top ten, but easily could have added a few more.
In all fairness, I don’t think that people spread quiet time “myths” because they’re being judgmental or condescending or holier-than-thou. I think that most people are truly trying to be helpful. But the problem comes when we take their suggestions and try to apply them to our lives as rules.
While there are several examples of people withdrawing in solitude to meet with God, the phrase “quiet time” isn’t even in the Bible. God doesn’t want your relationship with Him to be kept separate from the rest of your life. He wants to be integrated into every detail.
Stephanie: We need to keep that in mind at all times! I have always struggled the most with myth #5- “You must have your quiet time every single day.” I always feel immensely guilty when I make a stretch doing my quiet times every day then something happens and I miss it. Or I’m doing an elaborate study like Beth Moore for my quiet time, and then one day all I have time for is to read a single verse!! I feel so defeated when that happens! I feel bad that I can’t sit down and consistently, everyday spend time with the Lord in a quiet time setting. I found so much comfort in the truth you wrote throughout the book (life-changing!). What myth have you struggled with the most?
Emily: That’s the myth I’ve struggled with the most as well! After all, we’re taught that we’re supposed to have a “daily quiet time.” Daily is part of the name! Then we have stories like Mary vs. Martha drilled into our heads and we feel like anything we do other than spend time with Jesus is evil.
But the thing that helps me the most is remembering that my relationship with Jesus is a relationship. Think about your relationship with your husband. There are some days when you connect and talk and dream and pray together. But sometimes your schedules get out of whack and you’re doing good just to both be awake at the same time. There are “business” conversations you have about the bills or about the kids’ doctor’s appointments. Then there are “heart” conversations you have about your deepest fears. Sometimes you get away for a long weekend together. Other times you just blow kisses as you walk out the door.
I’ve never met anyone who has the exact same 30-minute scripted conversation with another person every day, so why do we think that our relationship with God should look like that? When you start realizing that you can connect with God in a whisper, a thought, a tear, a song, or a million other small ways, daily becomes much more realistic.
Stephanie: What tips can you give specifically to mothers to help them have a guilt-free quiet time?
Emily: First, I would say to stop comparing who you are now to who you used to be before kids. Before you were a mom, you probably had more time, more freedom and fewer responsibilities. So you need to remember that this is just a season. It’s not forever. Don’t be so quick to feel guilty for not being as consistent as you used to be because motherhood is a huge, dramatic change with a significant adjustment period. It takes a whole lot out of you!
Secondly, embrace this time as opportunity to include your kids in spiritual things as often as possible. Purchase a kid’s Bible and read all of the great Old Testament stories to them. Memorize Scripture with them through programs like Awanas. Jam out to kids’ music, like the Go Fish Guys, in the minivan. Focus on their spiritual health and you will find yourself growing as well.
And lastly, remember that your kids are a gift from God. He’s not here to judge you for taking care of your family instead of spending time with Him because it’s not a “them vs. Him” situation. He’s the one who gave you your family! He wants to help you be the best wife and mom you can be. You don’t have to have it all together to come to Him. He’s ready and waiting whether your teeth are brushed or not. Remember, as much as you love your kids, God loves you even more.
Stephanie: That is so encouraging! The book is amazing, but I was floored by the very last chapter. My favorite quote came from that chapter and spoke so deeply into my heart “Having the spirit of sacrifice means that everything you do, everything you say, and everything you think are poured through a God shaped filter.” Oh my goodness!! That is exactly what our walk with Christ should look like. God knew I needed to read this. His timing is amazing. There were things you said in the book that just spoke to my soul!! As you were writing and researching, what is one thing that spoke to your soul?
Emily: Honestly, I think that my most powerful insights didn’t come until after the book was written. While I was writing, I was just seeking facts. I prayed and read the Bible and asked a lot of questions, but God spoke to me more on an intellectual level first. He revealed the truth to me, and that was indeed liberating. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). But what has been even more liberating has been responding to the truth.
I have found that in the past several months since Guilt-Free Quiet Times was finished, I’ve had more joy, I’ve enjoyed my family more, I’ve been slower to anger and quicker to repent, and I’ve spent more time with God than I have in a long time. It is amazing what happens when you strip away the guilt and walk in freedom!
Stephanie: Amen!! Thank you so much Emily for opening your heart to us. You inspire me and you are a blessing to so many!
Because Emily is awesome; because it’s Christmas time, and because we love you, Emily has graciously offered to give away 5 paperback copies of her new book Guilt Free Quiet Times. If you just can’t wait, you can order it on amazon, in the Priority Ministry Store or you can get it for free by subscribing to Priority Ministries. This would make an awesome gift for any woman in your life who is trying to draw closer to Christ, so go ahead and get your Christmas shoppin’ on!!
Tell us, how do you feel about your quiet times?
Emily Ryan has served as Priority’s Executive Editor since 2010. A writer since age ten, her first book, Who Has Your Heart? The Single Woman’s Pursuit of Godliness, has been studied in Europe, Australia, North and South America and translated into Bulgarian. She uses her passion for reading and writing to manage Priority’s Glo Girl Blog and works closely with Laurie to write and develop new products.Her husband, Jason, serves as the Music and Communications Director at Sagemont Church. They have been married for over ten years and have four young children, Gideon, Canaan, Adelle, and Solomon.