Five Steps to Quiet
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31 (NIV)
“I want honey in my tea! And a lemon slice too! Oh, and can I use Great-Grandma’s teacup, pretty please? I’ll be careful,” my then five-year-old daughter sweetly asked as we were enjoying our afternoon mother-daughter ritual.
Each day while her two baby brothers napped, we pulled out china teacups and saucers from my collection and sipped herbal tea while I read a book out loud to her.
This afternoon she was asking permission to use an heirloom piece that had been passed down through four generations in my mother’s family. While I knew my little girl would be careful with the antique pink and white china cradled in her little hands, something else made me deny her request. I tried explaining it to her.
“Sweetheart, I know you’ll be careful, but we can’t have hot tea in that cup. It has cracks. See?”
I showed her a few tiny, hairline fractures on the side near the handle. It wasn’t cracked all the way through and could actually still hold water without leaking. However, if hot liquid were to be poured into it, the crack would give way, causing the petite cup to shatter. (Been there. Broke that!)
There was just no way for the fractured piece to withstand the stress of a steaming beverage.
Our emotional lives are much the same. When we don’t allow time to rest and regroup from the stresses of life, we allow cracks in our spirit that make us emotionally and spiritually fragile. We keep going at break-neck speeds, rarely slowing down long enough to be refreshed.
Mark 6:31 highlights the fact that even Jesus Himself found it important to get away for a while, to slow down and cease activity. The Bible records this event, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’” (NIV).
Jesus urged His disciples to get to a quiet place. In doing so they would find rest. Being alone and quiet would restore their weary spirits.
For many of us, the stretch between Thanksgiving to New Years Day is a whirlwind of activity. In our fast-paced society, we rarely are intentional to create a quiet place and spend time resting. As a result, stress chisels away, creating tiny cracks that although barely visible, could cause us to shatter under the go-go-go pressures of everyday life, much less the holidays.
Let’s purpose to take time to slow down, get away, and rest. To find solitude in a hushed place alone with our Savior, even if only for an hour.
If we make time to answer Jesus’ call to go away with Him to a quiet place, we can crack-proof our spirits, making them strong and rendering us ready to handle life. A few quiet moments spent with Him can help make us strong enough to fulfill God’s assignments for us this season.
Dear Lord, help me intentionally carve out time to reconnect with You in a quiet spot. I know You are waiting. I want to seek Your face and find true rest. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
How do we get to a quiet place so the cracks in our spirit don’t cause us to break?
~ Get Alone.
While it is possible to read the Bible or pray with others nearby (and sometimes moms with small children don’t have much choice!) it is best if you can get alone. No other people present. Find a quiet room out of the main traffic of the house. (I go into our master bedroom’s large closet sometimes and shut the door!) Withdraw for a while.
~ Get Quiet.
Being alone isn’t enough. It is possible to be alone but not be quiet. Especially if you insist on taking along your phone. Having it buzz and beep at you is not being quiet. So turn off the TV. Silence the radio. Put the phone away for a while. Try just sitting in silence for a while and asking God to calm you and speak to your heart.
~ Get Real.
No sense in trying to fool God. He knows your thoughts before they are even formed! Talk honestly to Him, telling Him of your feelings, desires, hopes and regrets. Ask for His guidance. Seek His forgiveness. Beg for His wisdom. Talk to Him as if you were confiding in your best friend. Being real and raw is the place to start rather than saying what you think sounds “religious” when you pray. I’m not saying to throw respect and reverence out the door, just to be honest as you pour your heart out to the Lord.
~ Go Deep.
Yes, read the Bible during your time alone with God, but also learn to utilize some great classic books of the faith to understand the concepts in scripture or disciplines of the faith that aren’t always so clear. My favorites are Discipline: The Glad Surrender by Elisabeth Elliot, Forgotten God, Crazy Love, and Erasing Hell by Francis Chan, Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis and The Reason for God by Timothy Keller.
Yes, chasing and capturing quiet is essential to our spiritual lives but it is not an end in itself. Our goal in seeking quiet is to emerge stronger, more rested, more focused and ready to live our lives to the glory of God!
Now, how about you? Do you seek quiet? Why or why not? Any tips? Hopes? Other thoughts?
*If you long to resist the rush, halt the hustle, & find a little calm in the chaos, check out my latest book Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus.
Thank you for the reminder. Quiet is so necessary – to stop the busy-ness and sit before God to hear Him.
My study is my “waterloo!” I have books, my overwhelming recipe project, Bible Study magazines that need to be “gone through” & articles filed, as well as other seemingly important papers needing filed, treasures from grandkids etc……….and the list could go on & on.
How my heart has been CRYING OUT for time alone with Jesus! Or, should I put it another way – Jesus has been crying out for time alone with me, His beloved. I took 2 days off work after Christmas, supposedly to have time alone with Him. Did I have it? NO! Social and familial obligations, etc kept beckoning to me and I got pulled away, For many years I have thought of going away during the holidays escape the hustle and bustle of the holidays – family gatherings, little presents to prepare, food to cook for family potluck, the endless attempts at de-cluttering, etc. After my husband’s demise in 2006, I was afforded freedom to do anything I pleased with my time, the holidays which he always loved to spend with family. But with the 2 grandkids around, I just didn’t have the heart to stay away. I always felt that any amount of time I can spend with them and sow godly seeds would be very important. Perhaps, now that they’re older and prefer their cousins’ company, I can disappear during the holidays, get away from the “madding crowd!” Maybe next year?
Thank you for reminding me about making time alone with Jesus AND De-cluttering. My room and garage badly need that!
Wonderful post both here and on the devotional page at Proverbs 31. Thank you Karen. I had a real wake up call when I realized that I am just exhausted and need to do something to refresh. It feels like taking another moment in addition to all I am already doing is asking for the impossible, but I know it must be done. I used to get up at 4:30 am to have quiet time with God and just be alone with my journal. I haven’t done that in a while. I think this will be a good first step, and I am going to seek God to help me with the rest of the details as I go.
Getting along is something I am desperate for but not possible most days. I am the mother of 5 kids. The oldest is 5 almost 6 and the baby is 8 months. Most nights I am up at least twice often more.
What about mommy’s like me. Any recommendations for us. I hit the floor by 7am running and don’t stop till 11pm or so. And that is a day when I never left the house. (I am homeschooling my 5, and 4 year old) .
Some days I get some time if the baby sleeps later. I don’t let the older kids come out of their room before 8am. They can get up and play, but not come out. I try to have my alone time then. But when the nights are bad with baby getting up earlier is challenging to say the least.
Any advice would be appreciated.
A very tired mommy
I don’t have any amazing advice except that sometimes when quiet isn’t
possible I find music or a good sermon on my phone with head phones in a pretty good second.
I wanted you to know that
I will pray for you.
Praying too Amy, quiet is restorative & you need to care for yourself to be able to keep caring & giving to others & you sound like you have alot of needs to fill! I have been working on practical strategies lately and you are always welcome to stop by :)
Sending cyber hugs sweet mumma xx
Remembering that this is a season in your life may help. My second son needed me all the time nd I didn’t get any alone or quiet time until after he was two. I felt like I desperately needed it but God gave me strength to endure. If someone else can watch the kids for a while then great! If not, perhaps you could work a room time or quiet time into your routine. Hugs mama and know that this season of life will pass and you will come out the other side stronger. Weary, but stronger. Keep praying and clinging to God and His promises.
Good reminders! Thanks for sharing. Now…on to some quiet time.
I enjoyed some quiet this morning while rocking my newborn at 4am. Love my Bible app on my phone that allows me to read in the dark and one handed! I often have a prayer time during my baby’s nightwaking hours (makes me much less resentful for the sleep interruption!) and am also planning to schedule a weekly solidtude hour during which my husband will watch the kids. Not sure exactly how it will work but, since Im not quite ready to leave my littlest, I will likely go sit in the barn. Not always quiet with the killers and cows but it is heated so that’s a bonus :)
I just realized my auto correct was at play. Not killers. Milkers. Very different!
Hi Tessa, when I read your post that said “killers and cows” in your barn, I thought, “Oh, I wonder exactly WHAT she has in her barn?” LOL Thanks for the correction. I don’t have a barn, but live in a farming community. Several years ago, we had two ponies at our next door neighbor’s farm. I used to love winter feeding. I love the point where everyone is fed and quietly munching hay. After feeding, I used to stand in the doorway and look at the beautiful, starry night sky, with the soft background sounds of horses chewing hay. That is one of my favorite memories of a quiet moment, pondering God. It reminds me of this poem, which I love: http://airmiles.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/out-in-the-fields-with-god/
That’s beautiful! I am so looking forward to warmer weather so I can go out and just enjoy the peace and beauty of God’s creation.
And yes, so sorry about the confusion! No killers here, unless you count the cats who just love the barn mice :)
Karen, love this post! On school vacation so I got to spend a few hours with the Lord this morning. Reading, blog posts, praying with my devotionals, but so glad to read this because I really need now to put it all down and rest with Him….in true quiet!
Absolutely love this article of being quiet before God. Copied and pasted it to word to have when I need to go back and refer to it. Thanks for sharing this. Have a wonderful new year.