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I have a confession to make. I don’t have a quiet time. That’s right, the standard for evangelical spiritual growth is not in my vocabulary. Not because I dislike the idea of having a time of the day set aside for being quiet but because the term “quiet time” has turned into something powerless and reeks of church speak (terms that have very little meaning outside the church).
I am sorry, but my time spent talking to, listening to, and learning about God and his kingdom needs a term that packs a little more punch than “quiet time”. This term sounds like something I would do to my daughters to punish them or settle them down before bed.
Also, for anyone who has grown up in the church, the term has been used so frequently and with such “preachiness” that it instantly conjures up feelings of guilt in individuals who have failed to live up to all the requirements of a ‘quiet time’ (at least 15 minutes, first thing in the morning, chapter a day, etc.). I don’t know if I can come up with a better term, but the one that I have started using is “Spiritual Enrichment”.
To me, the term Spiritual Enrichment accomplishes two things. First, it helps explain the goal of the activity – to grow, to be enriched, improved. Second, it reminds us that what we are doing during this time is a spiritual activity and not just a time when we try to be alone with our Bible open. We are spiritual beings, that is part of the life that God breathed into us in the Garden of Eden and later at Pentecost. Evangelicals get nervous when talk turns too spiritual but denying our non-physical side is denying what makes humans unique and what made God so proud in creating us.
So, on this blog at least we will not use the term “quiet time” but will replace the idea with the term Spiritual Enrichment. I am not sold on this term so if anyone else has an idea on what we can call it please let me know.
“We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.” – Trevor Hudson, A Mile In My Shoes
We can have access to all of the greatest new ideas and resources in Christian living but if we are unwilling to think back over what God has already done in our lives then we are missing some of our greatest opportunities to learn. Understanding how God has already worked in my life has given me great comfort. I have learned to not be so hard on myself and realize that my experiences in the past are directly related to what I am capable of learning and receiving from God here in the present. That is what growth is all about.
If I am willing to be used by God and be moved by the Holy Spirit then I must accept where I am now in my spiritual life and seek guidance as to how to move forward in the reality of my current situation. The framework of your experiences is the best location for achieving growth in the spiritual life.
What experiences require your reflection? Make a list of three experiences that have had the biggest impact on your Christian life. Here are mine:
Breakdown of 2000
Sept. 11, 2001
birth of our youngest daughter
Three things you can do now:
1. Read my About story to find out why I am doing this.
2. Sign up for a special newsletter on the ideas and issues addressed on this blog by emailing me at scott.jeffriesATgmail.com. Type newsletter in the subject line.
3. List in the comments to this post the parts of your spiritual life that frustrate you the most. You can post anonymously if you would prefer. I will use these comments to shape future posts.
Hacking has traditionally been a computer geek term for working around long, time-consuming problems. Increasingly, the term life hacking is being used to describe ways individuals make improvements in their life. Whether it be at work, school, the gym, or at home, life hacking is a cultural phenomenon. While there are many secular life hacking blogs and sites my research has not shown a life hacking resource devoted to Christian Living. So, Christian Life Hacker is born.
This blog is not about taking short cuts but instead it is about taking small steps to growth that even those who feel the most spiritually inadequate can find tiny successes that will enrich their lives and connect them with God.
Here is an excerpt from the About page. I encourage you to read the entire thing so that you can understand where I am coming from and what we can hope to accomplish together:
Coming down from the spiritual mountain top was necessary and the only way to truly grow into this new life that Christ had given to me but it wasn’t easy. I had to find a way to grow spiritually on flat ground and not just on the highest peaks. I had to overcome my tendency towards spiritual frustration and defeatism. I had to learn that more knowledge and collecting spiritual paraphernalia did not equal true growth. I had to learn how the Holy Spirit works in our spiritual lives. I had to learn that there are no merit badges in the spiritual life only an increased sense of God’s love and his will being done. I had to learn that more spiritual activity did not equal more Christlikeness and that little efforts done with a well conditioned heart could bring great spiritual benefits.