Do you hear it?
Ya’ gotta’ get up awfully early to hear that around here.
I got a good chuckle the other day when I looked up my word for the next month.
This next month will be anything by quiet.
My home will be filled with guests, beginning with the usual bustle of regular visitors, pop-in neighbors, kids playing, and sleep overs. Then, in a couple weeks,my college roommate comes with her family to visit. (Between the two of us, we’ll have about a dozen kiddos ranging from preschool to high-school running around. I can hardly wait!!!) The month will end with my family from out of town arriving for Thanksgiving and hunting season.
I’m anticipating a month of entertaining with a house full of family and friends, with sleeping bags in the living room and late nights of board games, laughter, and the sound of memories being made.
Sounds more like a party month than a “quiet” month.
I love how the LORD times everything perfectly!
“Quietly.” I know this is just the word I need.
The title that came to mind that I ordered to read this month was Elizabeth Elliot’s Keep a Quiet Heart, along with the phrase from 1 Peter 3:4, speaking of true beauty, “…a gentle quiet spirit…”.
Quietness on the inside is not conditional on the decibel level outside.
Living, Enjoying, Adding, Praying … attentively, simply, quietly… What a wonderful way to spend a L.E.A.P. year! (I wonder if anyone has ever delighted in this quadrennial occasion as much as I have this year?!)
And this month, I do intend to L.E.A.P. quietly!
LIVE quietly – 1Thessalonians 4:11 “…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…” (Sounds like an excellent goal for more than just a month or a year.)
ENJOY quietly -1Chronicles 4:40 “They went … to seek pasture… They found rich and good pasture, and the land was broad and quiet and peaceful…” (Aaaah, another example of seeking and finding! Ah, LORD, help me not just to seek quiet, but to enjoy quiet this month.)
ADD quietly – Ecclesiastes 9:17 “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” (If I have something to add, LORD, help me to do it quietly!)
PRAY quietly – 1 Timothy 2:2-3 “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” (Especially timely for us in America this coming election month. LORD, have mercy and allow us to lead quiet lives.)
As I look back on the monthly themes of the year, I wish I could tell you the post-story of each; how ironically, yet perfectly, each fit with the Divine appointments on my calendar. But, this is what all of life is meant to look like as we, child of God, live seeking and doing His will. He knows all thing! He controls all things! He even allows those disturbances and disruptions that ultimately establish and strengthen our character, our faith, and our hope in His sovereignty and perfect love.
I don’t know what you’re facing as you anticipate this next month, and I’m only guessing at what lies before me. But, our Gracious Heavenly Father knows. He planned the hope-filled future, that is still a mystery to us: “all the days ordained for (you and me) were written in (His) book before one of them came to be”. (Psalm 139:16, and see Jeremiah 29:11-13)
And, I’m confident, we’ll LIVE better, ENJOY more, ADD significantly, and PRAY more insightfully if we’re quiet, where we can hear that still small voice that whispers, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21).
Let’s remember that the LORD did not speak to Elijah in wind, earthquake, and fire (1 Kings 19), but rather in a “gentle whisper” (v.12). — So, let’s not be in a hurry or assume my Father has nothing to say when we find ourselves surrounded by clamor. Let’s be calm and keep seeking, quietly waiting for the LORD to speak… and He will.
I intend to start my days quietly, to seek the LORD and to listen; to go through each day with a quiet heart, resting in the peace that passes understanding as I present my requests to God; and to end my days quietly, pausing and quieting my heart in His presence before closing my eyes to sleep in His watchful care.
I’m sure, at the end of the month, when all the guests have gone home, like in the tale of the old man whose house seemed small and loud who followed the strange advice to fill his house will all sorts of noisy animals only to remove them to find his house as it was before only quiet and spacious, my house will seem remarkably quiet.
But, I think the adverb “quietly” is meant for me in the midst of living this month… finding, making, treasuring, seeking the quiet heart, the quiet moments of stepping back to observe, or taking a brief walk alone outdoors with the LORD, or savoring a pillow-conversation with Handsome or a whispered private joke in the midst of a mob.
Especially with the Holiday season approaching, filled with busy, city sidewalks, shopping centers and grocery stores with “…children laughing, people passing, …” and “shoppers rushing home with their treasures”, I want to be quiet enough to take in the wonder with a receptive heart. “Above all the bustle” I want to hear and see, as if things were in slow-motion and I had super-senses to really take in the moment and hear the Great Narrator’s commentary on the scene. I want to be undisturbed, all here, …quiet.
So wherever you find yourself this month:
- squeezing through grocery-cart-traffic on isle 9
- in a minivan loaded with preschoolers or talkative teens
- on the floor in a sleeping bag at your in-laws
- in a bedroom mediating between bickering siblings
- on a subway overhearing a political conversation
- or standing in line at the polls
- out on your porch on a silent night when the first snow falls
- or lying in bed wide-awake at 2 am for whatever reason
My Personal Challenge –
This month, my goal is to
- speak softer and with less words, thinking before I speak and pray
- breathe slower and deeper, not allowing any circumstance or fear to disturb the peace I know when I’m consciously trusting God and abiding in His presence
- create and guard my “quiet place”, uniquely indulging in the discipline of a “QUIET-time” each morning
Also, I’m collecting 29 new verses (and keeping my eye out for related quotes) about quietness/peace/rest/calm to adding to the small notebook I started a while back on this topic. One verse to write out and mediate on for each day.
Here’s verse #1
Like the months before, I can see the that the LORD has been preparing me for this theme. The day before I looked up my word, the LORD put this verse on my heart to pray for a friend…
Exodus 14:14 (a pretty easy reference to remember – Why not memorize this one?) “…you need only to be still, stay calm, keep silent, hold your peace, be quiet.”
Turns out this verse was really for me. (or maybe even, for YOU?)
If you’re reading this, I am praying for YOU! For those of you who subscribe, I often am even praying for you by name. — Be encouraged friend. Keep living, learning, seeking, and finding. I pray that you will obey whatever the LORD impresses upon your heart today and that you thrill in the adventure of life with Him! — Blessings to you today and all this month as you L.E.A.P. quietly.
As always, I am your praying friend and fellow Seeking One,