How Chasing the “Perfect Quiet Time” Backfires


I love how C. S. Lewis said it: “God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on.”

C. S. Lewis got this idea from the Bible. The biblical authors often use food metaphors to describe our relationship with God’s Word (Psalm 119:103, Matt 4:4, etc.) While having our own personal copy of the Bible to “eat” from every day is a modern phenomenon, God’s people have engaged with His Word for daily meditation for millennia.

But there is an aspect of the scripture/sustenance analogy that keeps me from falling into a perfectionist trap.  I call it the Melting Pot vs. Granola Bar metaphor.


If I close my eyes and imagine the fanciest meal I can think of, the pinnacle of dining experience, I think of the Melting Pot. Growing up in Tampa, Bern’s Steakhouse also comes to mind. This is a meal with multiple courses, ambiance, and decadence. An extended, uninterrupted time in the Bible is like a meal at the Melting Pot meal for me. I’ve got my concordance, commentary, Bible dictionary, not to mention my tea and my instrumental hymns playing in the background, and I’m digging in. The words are jumping off the page and I’m finding truths I’ve never seen before. The Bible speaks directly to me as Jesus meets me in the pages of His Word. I walk away refreshed before the ink even dries on my journal pages.


But how often do I actually get to go to the Melting Pot? Personally, I haven’t been in years. So, because I’m a perfectionist, the trap I fall into is, “Because I don’t have time to REALLY study today, I’d rather wait until I do.” But we don’t do that with food, do we?  We know that we can’t eat every meal at the Melting Pot.  Sometimes, you just have to grab a granola bar on your way out the door. Most days, even if I can’t even pull out my journal, I’m able to read and listen to a passage of Scripture in my YouVersion app. When life gets really crazy, the audio Bible will read a passage to me while I brush my teeth – the spiritual equivalent of a granola bar.


The granola bar is better than nothing at all. Sometimes we can incorporate memorization and meditation on God’s word into our granola bar day. Write a verse that you’re memorizing on a notecard and keep it with you or make it the lock screen on your phone.  Try to memorize it as you go on a walk or vacuum. Tape it to your steering wheel or write it with a dry erase marker on your bathroom mirror. Understand that some food in your spiritual system is better than no food.


Your enemy has tactics:

  • Distraction – Satan will do everything in his power to keep you away from spending time with your Savior.
  • Accusation – Satan is going to bait you to not spend time with God, and then condemn you when you take the bait.
  • Shame – Satan wants you to feel like a failure for not spending “enough” time with God.

So, remember, not every voice in your head is the Spirit of God. (1 John 4:1)


We can’t live on granola bars alone either. It’s important to make time to really dig deep into the Word of God. Those steak dinner quiet times might not happen every day, but when they do, they strengthen and revitalize our relationship with God through His Word.  The point is, don’t skip the granola bar just because you don’t have time for the steak dinner. Find a way to “eat” daily and stay spiritually strong.