We live in a noisy world.
Devices ding, ping, jangle, and whistle. Media delivers a non-stop monologue. And then there are those blessed people whom God has placed in our lives—those who call us Mom, Dad, Husband, Wife, Grandma, Grandpas, Co-worker, Boss, Friend, Fellow-church member, and Passerby.
And if outside noise isn’t enough, there’s also a whole lot of noise in our heads. Sometimes it’s productive, because it reminds us of important stuff we need to do, but most of the time, it’s just environmental overflow from the hubbub around us. It elbows its way into the quiet spots in our heads like a 300-lb. man squeezing himself into the seat beside us on an airplane.
Today I’d like to share three reasons we need quiet times in our lives:
1. Quiet allows us to hear God’s voice.
As I study God’s Word, I see times when he thunders from the mountain top or shouts through a storm. Most often, however, he speaks to his children in the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit in our souls.
Think of Elijah on the mountaintop and David in the open fields, or Daniel in his prayer closet and Jesus during his early morning worship times.
Sometimes he shouts over the din or our lives through an accident, illness, crisis, or family emergency, but often, even then, his voice is muffled by the chaos around us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Be silent, that we may hear the whisper of God.”
2. Quiet allows us to hear our voice.
Quiet spaces in our minds are open fields where God can plant the seeds of creativity and inspiration. When we still ourselves, turn off our devices, and wait in quiet reflection, it’s amazing what we think.
On a recent early-morning walk in the woods, I cleared my mind of clutter and invited the Lord into my consciousness. As my thoughts wandered, I began to connect Scripture with an idea for a blog post. Then I thought of a lovely gift idea for my daughter for Christmas. Before the walk had ended, I had the solution to a problem I’d been wrestling with, another blog post idea, and the basis for a women’s ministry presentation.
Peter Drucker, an American businessman, said, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
Building times of quiet thought into our days allows us to hear our own voices and leaves room for our creativity to blossom.
3. Quiet restores our souls.
Psalm 23 reminds us that God the Good Shepherd invites us to lie down in green pastures, leads us beside still waters, and restores our souls.
Listen to the words the psalmist chose to describe the place where God refreshes us: lie down (not race around), green pastures (not black asphalt), and still waters (not raging rivers). Peaceful, hushed places, whether they’re on the top of a mountain or the corner or your bedroom, are restorative and invigorating.
Keep in mind that the place is less important than the presence. When we carve out time to sit in stillness before the Lord, we gain a fresh perspective, spiritual energy for the day, and hope for the future.
I hope by now you’re convinced that intentional periods of quiet are healthy, productive, and necessary. But the same busy world that steals our quiet also often prevents it.
How can we build times of quiet into our lives?
Here are three ideas:
1. Make an early morning quiet time a priority.
You may not naturally be a morning person, but it’s worth retraining your biological clock. There’s a reason Jesus, probably the busiest soul on the planet, met with God early in the morning. I’ve found that if I wait until nighttime/bedtime to have my quiet time, I fall asleep in the middle of it.
2. Look for moments of quiet during the day, and instead of pulling out your cell phone to check Facebook, open your Bible app, and meditate on one verse of Scripture.
Or think about what you read that morning in your quiet time. Ask God to speak to you. Then direct your mind to conscious listening. Jot down what you think you heard. (Hint: One way to know if it’s actually God speaking is that what you hear always agrees with Scripture.)
3. Turn off the noise.
When you’re driving, walking, or working around the house, instead of turning on the TV or your Ipod, listen instead to the silence. You’ll find mental room to think and pray if your mind isn’t pulled in a thousand different directions based on what you’re hearing from an outside source. Don’t be afraid of silence.
"Make time for the quiet moments, as God whispers, and the world is loud."
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to build quiet into your days. Do you have a suggestion on how to capture or create moments of silence? Have you experienced on of the benefits I’ve listed above, or maybe you’ve thought of one I haven’t? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Today, why not begin your day with a few moments of silence? And after you've stilled your soul and rested in God's peace, allow Kari Jobe's "Be Still My Soul" set the tone for the rest of your day.