As I write, I am alone in my office, just a couple of days before Christmas. My adult children have come home from college and I wonder how I survived without their advice and opinions. Our usually quiet evenings have been replaced by sibling rivalry, holiday preparation, and abundant conversation. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is good to have them home and I am enjoying their company. But that wonderful and much-needed presence has again come for a visit – quietness. Oh how I love it… And how I need it. My thought lately has been that I cannot be the man I should unless I make time for quiet. Stillness is an essential part of our growing deeper as we grow older. It is the security of being comfortable with ourselves and alone with our thoughts. It is an opportunity to refocus and to listen to our hearts and to that still small voice. Or, as someone once said, “We will not become men of God without the presence of solitude.”
Make Time for Quiet
Those words haunt me when I get caught up in the treadmill of time and schedules, and the deadline of demands. Does this sound familiar? I fail to coast in neutral and instead find myself to often in overdrive. Thanks to Alka Seltzer, Excedrin, energy drinks, and Sleep Eze, we are able to repeat our nonproductive haste with continual regularity. What do our nervous systems need to do just to stay afloat? Noise, music, social media, news, traffic, on ramps, off ramps, deadlines, and appointments catch us checking our watches rather than checking in with our Lord. Activities (meetings, services, suppers, luncheons, rallies, and clubs – all necessary and nice) have a way of dismissing quietness like an unwanted guest. Yes, many are important and necessary, but not all. If you really treasure quietness you will need to make time for it.
See Things in Perspective
Now, please understand. I am not bitter. Instead, I am being honest with you about an ingredient that cannot be ignored in many of our lives without paying the price. I am sincere about “Be still and know that I am God.” I am concerned that we need to slow down, gear down, and carve out our time for quietness, solitude, prayer, meditation, and soul searching. I wonder how much agitation will fade away, how big God will become, and how small our troubles will appear if we do that. Security, peace, and confidence will move right in.
That is what Isaiah meant when he wrote:
And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence. Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places (32:17-18).
God Longs for Your Attention
That still small voice will never shout. God longs for your attention, your undivided and full attention. He wants to talk to you about your need for understanding, love, compassion, patience, self-control, a calm spirit, genuine humility, and wisdom. He won’t run to catch up. But he will be there when you decide to find the quiet place to sit and listen.
Christian Counseling to Listen to the Still Small Voice
As a Christian counselor, I am convinced that we all need times of quiet in our lives. If you find yourself too caught up in the rush of activities and noise, and need help in discovering ways of listening to that still small voices, Christian counseling can be a great help.
“Perspective,” DSC05806, courtesy of Patrick Denker, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0); “Peace and Quiet,” courtesy of fPat Murray, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0)