My thoughts lately often turn to the subject of quietness. I’m not talking about the external quietness that we so often desire. I get more of that sort of quietness than many people do, especially you moms with young children or those of you that work outside the home. No, I’m talking about the inner quietness of my heart…….the quietness of contentment and peace, no matter what distractions I have around me.
This type of quietness is hard to achieve outside of having a deep faith and trust in God. Yet even though I may give myself daily to the Lord, beginning each morning with a new resolve to stay totally in tune with God and trust Him completely, I often find my heart……my insides……..my thoughts……..churning and stewing over this and that until I drown out the still, small voice of God that calls me to quietness.
Life happens. The world keeps turning and the news doesn’t get any easier to hear on most days. Friends are hurting, neighbors need us, obligations demand us, chores press in on us……….life. Even the dog needs to be fed!
And for me, there’s Aaron. Last Monday he was in a terrible mood, but with God’s help I was able to be calm and to defuse him. A stop for cheddar pasta salad worked miracles, believe me! I was full of thankfulness, and was thinking over and over about how much God speaks to me through these lessons with my son…………lessons about God’s great love to me when I am most unlovely. Boy, was that ever driven home the next day when I exhibited my unloveliness! I totally lost my temper with Aaron, and then was full of guilt and remorse. That day, I was the one who needed extra love. And my heart was anything but quiet.
We never know what a day will hold. There was Wednesday, after the upheaval of Monday and Tuesday, when Aaron had a doctor appointment. We went to lunch at Chili’s after his doctor visit and just had a delightful time together. Who would have thought that two hours after this picture was taken, Aaron would be laying in his bed having a huge seizure during his nap? As usual, there was no warning……..nothing to prepare me or him for that. And there again was another disruption to my quiet heart.
On Saturday, we had a funnier disruption. I was sitting on the patio, taking a break after doing some yard work. Aaron joined me as Gary continued weed eating nearby. As usual, Aaron was talking up a storm……and the more he talked, the more he rocked in the patio chair. I looked down for a second and suddenly heard a grunt. Looking up, I saw that Aaron’s chair had fallen backwards and he was laying in the grass…….laughing, thankfully. One minute he was rocking and talking……the next he was flat on his back, feet up in the air, and thankfully unhurt. Funny, but unexpected.
I remember when our children were young that there were many times I thought, “Oh, if only I had a day to myself.” Now the kids are grown and gone, except for Aaron……but he’s gone to his day group every weekday……..during a good week. Anyway, now I find myself thinking, “Oh, if only I had a day with Andrew and Andrea. Too bad they live so far away.” Then there are those evenings now when I think, “Oh, if only Aaron wouldn’t keep talking to me or asking me to do something with him. If only I had an evening with no expectations or interruptions.” And many times when I think, “Oh, if only Aaron wasn’t so grouchy……or so loud……or so demanding……..or so whatever.” In other words, I tend to be pretty demanding myself of what I think will make my life just as it should be. And out the window goes any hope of a quiet heart as I try to manufacture the perfect life that will create the quiet heart I crave.
I just started reading the book Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliott. She said, talking about developing a quiet heart in this loud world, that “The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.” Wow!
So often I want the different set of circumstances……when in reality, the circumstances I am in are the ones that God wants to use in order to develop in me a quiet heart……..a heart of trust despite what’s going on around me. A heart of acceptance for what He has allowed and even ordained to be in my life.
Elisabeth also said, “Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. My assignment entails my willing acceptance of my portion.” It’s how I respond to my circumstances that will dictate my level of quietness and peace………not the circumstances themselves. Like Paul said, “I have learned in whatever state I am in, therewith to be content.”
I’ve walked with the Lord for a long time, and still I have so much to learn. I sure am glad that God is patient, even when I’m not. I still want to tell Him that He’s using the wrong measure for me. “Lighten up, Lord!” I sometimes say. Instead I should be accepting and even thankful for what He measures out in my life. That’s when I know I will experience a truly quiet heart.
For quietness really is surrender, even while life spirals around us. It’s Who we surrender TO that makes the difference……not what we’re kept FROM.
Be quiet…..and know that I am God.