The ‘by myself’ struggle

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like to be by themselves and those who don’t. I fall in the latter group.

I’ve never really had to be by myself for long periods of time. I’ve always either lived with my family or with roommates and I’ve always either been at work, school, playing sports or hanging out with friends. It’s very easy to make sure that I have activities planned throughout the day so that I have as little alone time as possible.

The only thing that I like doing by myself is reading and even then I have to be in a certain mood to want to go to my room and read rather than spend time with other people.

Normally I wouldn’t say this is a problem. I find things to do to occupy my time and I do my very best to not be bored at any given point. But there are some times when not wanting to be by myself poses a problem. Specifically, when I need to be spending time with God.

People say all the time that their quiet time with God is the most important part of their day. Whether they spend that time listening to worship music, praying, doing a devotional or just reading their Bible, there is a solid chunk of time when they are alone with God.

I have tried several times throughout my life to develop a quiet time routine. It never works out like I want it to.

I’ve tried waking up early to spend a few minutes in prayer, but I am always so tired that I can never fully focus. I’ve tried reading my Bible or doing a daily devotional before bed, but I get distracted or tired doing that too.

There was a period where I tried to take a few minutes out of my day to turn on some worship music and read the one year Bible but, again, I just couldn’t focus. I don’t want to just read my Bible for a few minutes or listen to a few worship songs, I want to really get something out of my time and the ways that I have been trying it just aren’t working.

I always find myself thinking about other things rather than focusing on God’s Word and although I hate admitting that, it’s true.

One thing I’ve figured out about myself is that I do better if I pray throughout the day — I have found that it is more beneficial if I pray short prayers throughout the day instead of waking up and spending 10 minutes in prayer. That sounds horrible and believe me I have tried both ways, but the 10 minute prayer always turns into a two minute prayer and an eight minute thought process about what I am going to have for breakfast.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is just going to take discipline to be able to read my devotionals or pray or listen to music for more than four minutes at a time. And that discipline is going to have to come from somewhere other than myself because, as you’ve gathered, on my own I haven’t been any kind of successful.

But if you have any tips please let me know, because it has been a long 22 years of me getting distracted when I try to sit still for more than a few minutes at a time and I would love to hear what keeps you focused during your quiet time. And if you are in the same boat as I am just know that you are not alone and I will keep you updated if I find any helpful hints about getting the most out of your quiet time.

By Caitlin

Editor’s Note: Caitlin is a contributor to this blog, but isn’t the only writer whose words you may see here. To read more by Caitlin or to see the other writers, visit the authors’ categories in the menu at the top right corner of the screen.


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