… make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.
I Thessalonians 4v11
Several days ago my heart caught on this phrase and grabbed hold of someplace deep in my being. A place that longs for a quiet life.
I read the words over and over, looking for context, searching for clues. Like a blinking marquis, I cannot tear my thoughts away from what I know are words meant for me. I am convinced that the Spirit is whispering these words to me, that the longing I feel is His allure.
Not so much a command, as an invitation.
I sense a beckoning. A tantalizing summons into a life freed from this seemingly incessant pattern I keep falling into— of stress and conflict and fret-filled worry. Of angst and uptightness and all the confusion that comes from that feeling that, as busy as I am, I am doing nothing well.
For a long time now I have sensed this summons into life that isn’t about catching up or getting ahead or striving for better. A life of rest, of peace that comes from keeping to a pace that works for me.
It is a life of beauty that I crave.
Of not needing to apologize every few moments for bumbling and fumbling awkwardly once again. For being me. I want to go to bed at night satisfied with the way my day unfolded and what I accomplished… and what I didn’t cross off my self-imposed to-do list.
I want to know that every part of my day mattered, that I stuck to the path laid out for me by God, the One who says:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go:
I will counsel you with My loving eye upon you.
The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him;
Though he may stumble, he will not fall,
For the LORD upholds him with His hand.
Sometimes I know that quiet. Early every morning when I cozy up in my chair by the window, as I watch the sun peak tentatively through the woods, with steaming tea and my bible open… that is for me a quiet place.
It is there that I realize how un-quiet I march through the rest of my day.
Especially if something or someone interrupts my list. Or if I cannot manage to do all I think I should. Or if I am not as there for someone who needs me because I am working hard to be present in my work.
What I long for is a consistent sense of rightness about my days, and my weeks, and my months and seasons and years.
A life of sweet balance between achieving and loving well.
My bookshelf tells the story:
A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle,
Keep A Quiet Heart by Elizabeth Elliot,
The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan,
Choosing Rest by Sally Breedlove.
These are books I relish, reading the words over and over, barely scratching the surface of what I know I want… and what I know I do not yet own in my every days.
I dare think that my own longing is yours as well.
I do not have pat answers for living this Quiet Life. No ten steps guaranteeing that I’ll never get upright again. But I have picked up some treasures as I’ve tried, as I’ve brought my longings to this One who promises to direct my steps just because I delight in Him. I want to share some of those jewels with you in the coming weeks in the hopes that some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from others will make sense to you.
And I invite you to speak into my life the wisdom you have acquired in yours. I want to learn and I think you do too. And I am not so naïve as to believe that there is one magic formula, which, when followed, produces bliss. Or peace. Or rest or quiet or calm in the crevices of my soul.
I hope that you will share some of your wisdom with me.
For now, let me leave you with this:
“If God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called to His purposes… you can relax.
If He doesn’t… start worrying.
If God can take any mess, any mishap, any wastage, any wreckage, any anything, and choreograph beauty and meaning from it, then you can take a day off.
If He can’t, get busy. Either God is good and in control, or it all depends on you.”
From The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan
From a heart yearning to stay in the Quiet,