Where do you find quietness? Are you in a season of life where the noise is actively around you, in the shape and constant hum of small children? Or maybe your season lacks quietness because it’s nothing but work work work? Or perhaps your season of life finds your home more, perhaps with actual quiet, but no less busy.
Moments of quietness for me are rare, like a rainbow colored unicorn with wings; the times when two kids are in school and my littlest is playing alone, the dog isn’t barking, someone isn’t ringing the doorbell, my phone isn’t beeping, I’m not trying to make a meal, or put in another load of laundry. So I try to seize the moment, to start practicing the art and discipline of being still before Jesus. But then, in that perfect quiet comes a different noise; the noise and distractions in my head, and I feel disappointed and frustrated that while my surroundings are momentarily silent, my head is not.
So I sit, and I wait.
I wade through what’s stressing me out about the upcoming day, then what I need from the store, next I think of all the things I could be doing right now, then someone pops to mind. In the middle of all that, noise, I try to find Jesus. I close my eyes, I open them. I sit down, I lay down, I kneel, I stretch my hands up. I turn music on, then I turn it off. I try to find a place and position that will usher me into a quiet moment with Him. I think about a verse I found the day before, saying it from memory as best I can, hoping that will help. Maybe I should just read the Bible, this sitting quiet doesn’t seem to be accomplishing much. I feel like I’m putting too much pressure on myself, I’m forcing the issue. (It’s been like 3 minutes).
And then two things occur to me. First, this is a habit and discipline I’ve fallen out of, so, I believe it will take a little practice to figure it out. The not doing, the not talking, the not journaling, the not devotionaling, the not worshiping. Listening. Because, secondly:
“His voice demands the silence of the soul”
That quote is from an amazing little book called ‘Streams in the Desert’, by Mrs. Cowman. It’s about Isaac in a passage in Genesis we’ll look at in just a moment, “God spoke when there was no inward storm, He could not speak when the mind was fretted, His voice demands the silence of the soul. Only in the hush of the spirit could Isaac hear the garments of his God sweep by. Be still and know.”
There you have it. I need to learn how to be still.
No wonder it can be so hard to hear from Him sometimes, I’ve lost the ability to be quiet; in my surroundings, my mind, my heart, and my soul.
You wanna know the rest of that passage, the first part of the story about Isaac and what was happening? There was a quarrel over water and wells, and Isaac chose the hard work of breaking down his tent, for the 3rd time, (anyone who has camped, ever, knows how unpleasant that process is) and found another location, away from everyone and drama, and the noise, and found a new spot. And God again gave him water, this time free of arguing since it was so far from everyone, and the verse says, “And the Lord appeared to Isaac that same night”.
I don’t think that was a coincidence.
He kept moving away, to get to some quiet. To get to some peace. His surroundings were filled with fighting and arguing over water, and the guy was just plain worn out. He didn’t want to move, again, to dig another well, and have someone lay claim to it, again. But he did, and in that final and last act of exhaustion, the Lord came. He met him there.
I know we are exhausted. Life is full, busy, not quiet. No matter who we are, where we live, what our jobs are, what our home life is like, life is not quiet. Too many things grab and pull for our attention, affection, concentration.
I’m convinced quiet will not come find me, I have to seek it out. And guard it. Protect it. Nourish it. And invite Jesus into it. And I know, I believe, I have seen, God to be faithful; so that when He sees us trying to make a quiet space, He will meet us there. We can learn to be still, and we can know God better and more fully through that stillness.
So I will not give up. I will keep looking for that sparkly rainbow unicorn, stillness of my soul, and hope that the more I look for it, the more I seek it out, the more I guard it, and feed it and make time for it, the more it will appear.