Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Treasuring the Quiet Times


Hold on a sec ... Let me turn down the radio.

In homes with children, quiet is a rare thing.  But even as my son grows older (he's 13), I'm finding that we still don't have much quiet.  The radio, the television, or something else is always on.  Every chance I get, I find myself creating a quiet environment and treasuring the silence.  Sometimes--especially when I'm baking--I like to blast praise music and sing along at the top of my lungs, but usually I first enjoy the quiet.

I think, though, that it's not just the audible noise that distracts me from what I want to focus on.  It's also the busyness of everyday life.  I've written about this before, but I keep coming back to the challenge of keeping my priorities in the right order.  These song lyrics (recorded by TobyMac with Kirk Franklin and Mandisa) speak to me:
Father God, I am clay in Your hands
Help me to stay that way through all life’s demands
‘Cause they chip and they nag and they pull at me
And every little thing I make up my mind to be
...
Everything that I see draws me
Though its only in You that I can truly see
that it's a feast for the eyes – a low blow to purpose
And I’m a little kid at a three ring circus
I love the submission and the plea for help in the first lines, and the confession of weakness that follows, because it's so honest.  It's so easy to get caught up in the urgency of washing clothes, preparing meals, running errands, and so on--and forget that there's more to life than that.  Those tasks may be good and necessary, but that's not all there is.

It's easy to get distracted by what's shiny or urgent or comfortable.  But I don't think that's necessarily what God wants us to focus on.  At least I hope He has a bigger purpose for me than washing socks and taking out the trash!  Amid the distractions, though, how can we hope to hear the still small voice of God?

Before I continue, I have to confess that I am not nearly as good at this as I would like to be!  I try to start each day with a quiet time--praying, reading the Word, and listening for that "still small voice."  I try to start each day by surrendering my agenda and my plans to His.  Yet I have days when I spring out of bed and hurry to get started on my list, without a thought to what the Lord might have planned for my day.

So what's the solution?  If you have one, please tell me!

The only answer I know begins like the song quoted above:
Father God, I am clay in Your hands
Help me to stay that way through all life's demands...
Do you face this same challenge?  How do you handle it?

This devotional--The God Who Speaks--from In Touch Ministries appeared on December 29, as I was writing this post.  Seems like a neat "coincidence" that it addresses some of the same ideas:  "If we are too busy or distracted to hear, His voice will not stop—but we’ll miss out on the riches of an intimate relationship available only to those with receptive hearts and ears."  Click on the title to read the rest of the article.


image credit: Flickr user jamelah

5 comments :

  1. You are speaking my language today! I don't want to miss out, but I find myself jumping out of bed with my agenda so very often.

    You're right -- it starts with that plea and the willingness to sit and listen for His answer. Thanks for this.

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  2. Ahhh - I too find that I get started on "my list" way too many times rather than starting my day listening for what God wants for my day. I have started setting an alarm on my phone so that way if I get distracted, I hear the alarm and I am reminded it is time to sit down and read God's Word.

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  3. It is so true something I need to make more of and enjoy when they do come around. I love the turn down the radio part because it's so funny how we fill in the quiet with noise :)

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  4. "But I don't think that's necessarily what God wants us to focus on." I couldn't agree more! I receive a daily email reading. My computer is always on. I have trained myself to check that email before beginning anything else so that my day begins with the Word.

    Wonderful post!

    Have a great day Melissa

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  5. I was so grateful this weekend that my children were snowed in with their father! I think I would have went crazy if they were trapped with me. I really needed the quiet and should have spent a good portion of it with God. A little prayer, but mostly resting and watching movies. I missed the children, but was so glad to have the time. Lovely post.

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