Paul Brandt, in his book “The Gift of Pain” points out in proper usage, pain warns us from things we should not do and pleasure draws us to things we should do.
Pain warns us not to leave our hand on a hot stove. Without the presence of pain, we would quickly cripple ourselves, as is illustrated by the deforming results of leprosy removing a sense of pain from its victims.
Likewise pleasure draws us to activities we need for survival. When our body needs food, it is a pleasure to eat. When we are thirsty, relief and pleasure come from drinking. There is pleasure associated with acts of reproduction. Without the motivation of pleasure these activities would likely be neglected with deleterious effects on us and our posterity.
There is certainly times, many times, when a greater good requires us to endure pain or forego pleasure. But this requires us to balance the cost of increased pain or foregone pleasure for something of greater value–perhaps less pain in the future or a future pleasure that is greater than what we turn away from.
When structuring a quiet time and habits for a quiet time, it is good to keep in mind how God made us. If we structure a quiet time so it is painful to carry out or that it requires foregoing pleasure, there must be the promise of something far better to motivate us to get through the pain or deny the pleasure.
But why is it necessary to fight against our natural pain avoidance and pleasure attraction? Why not have our natural inclinations work for us. If you want to establish a quiet time, choose it in such a way that it brings you pleasure and not pain.
Is it painful for you to rise up early? Schedule your time with God at an hour that is easier for you. On the other hand, if you delight to be up and watch sunsets, plan to meet the Lord in that time and enjoy it together.
Do you love to read? Make reading a large component of your meeting with God. Do you like to sing? Include a singing/worship component in your worship time. Are you a creature of habit? Establish a daily pattern of walking with the Lord. Do you like spontaneity? Leave a little extra time to go on adventure with the Lord, exploring different places and scenery for your meetings with God.
Think with the Lord about when it would be most enjoyable and efficient to meet. Schedule your time with Him then. This will increase your pleasure, reduce your pain and make your meetings with God more frequent and rewarding.