Curt Vanderstelt, youth pastor at Mariners Church, knows why finding quiet time to connect with God can be so difficult.
“Satan doesn’t want God’s people to read God’s word,” Curt said. “The more he can discourage us from looking at the words of life in the scriptures, the more influence he has on our thoughts, attitudes and emotions. The biggest hurdle for me is overcoming the traps that Satan has for me, telling me that the Bible isn’t relevant, that I don’t have time, that I don’t need to do it.”
Ironically, a ministry spent studying and applying God’s word to the youth and adult leaders at Mariners means he must be extra diligent in nurturing his own relationship with God. For Curt, quiet time is not about the youth, the adult leaders, his family or friends. It’s intensely personal.
“It’s easy for me to read the Bible for you and tell you what it says,” Curt explained. “It’s hard to open it up and take time for me to look at it and make my own connection with God.”
So, he has carefully tailored his quiet time to meet his specific needs.
“I like to take small sections of the Bible and spend a lot of time, reading, thinking about it and praying about it, sometimes even rewriting it to place myself in a passage,” Curt said. “God’s word is very personal. The book of Hebrews says it’s alive and active. God’s intention is for his Word to enter my life and cut out parts that shouldn’t be there and add or strengthen parts that God wants me to develop. By personalizing the Word, it keeps me focused on me and not on everyone else that I also care about and am leading.”
Journaling helps revelations from his quiet time last. “A lot of times I’ll write what I’ve learned on a piece of paper and put it in my pocket and revisit it throughout the day as a reminder that God’s word is constantly with me and in my thoughts.”
Like most worthwhile endeavors, developing a relationship with God can be challenging but is worth it in the end. “It’s going to be work. It’s going to take discipline. You may need to set aside other activities or disengage from friends and family to have your time in God’s word,” Curt said. “But the time, the effort, the discipline is always worth it.”
By Dan Page, Volunteer Storyteller
Find quiet time resources here.