Every once in a while, I pull back, escaping the chaos and busyness of life. Two or three times I’ve said, “I’m going away” to my family, checking myself into a bed and breakfast overnight. This happens when I’m pulled to my limit and know I may snap if I don’t have hours of quiet and sleep just to myself.
It’s a simple luxury, having quiet.
Last week was one such day. With my school year ending and kids coming home all day, every day, along with teacher-hubby, I needed breathing room to myself. I also needed to rest and reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going. And where I need to be.
My time was cut short by a pleasant surprise (my daughter came home from Virginia for the weekend). As I wrestled with the joy of being with my family and having time, alone, with God (and myself), I learned many things.
1. We need quiet. The morning I left for writer’s group in another city, of where I was going to stay, I turned off the radio. Not only did I crave time alone, but time with silence. When I met with my writers group and learned my daughter was home, I couldn’t just rush right home. The need for quiet was an ailment needing treatment. I still needed quiet.
2. We live an unhealthy life of “on demand.” In the three hours I was with my writing peers and the hour which followed, I received phone calls and texts from people I loved and wanted to talk to. But I couldn’t get away. Even though I was hours away from people, people still found me. It reminded me of Jesus, of whom people followed no matter where He went.
3. We need to disconnect and pull away. Jesus modeled how we need to pull away from even well-meaning people; even family. And phones. Luke 5 describes how I felt last week. Like I needed to run away from everybody. When the calls and texts came, I hungered for quiet even more. I realized it was crucial for me to pull away from people – all people – and be quiet.
4. We have to turn. It. Off. I decided to still take the afternoon of quiet before I returning home to see my daughter and enjoy the whole family being home. Yes, I felt guilty, but I’ve also learned if I don’t take care of myself, I’m not healthy (if mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy). I found a beautiful park by a river and sat. I turned off my phone for several hours.It was only when I turned the silver-god off, my spirit completely rested. No demands. No one can reach me. It impacted me deeply.
5. When you’re quiet, you can hear God. I spent those hours with just my Bible, journal, and a blanket by the river. I heard children playing, birds singing, trees rustling, and the Holy Spirit. No, it wasn’t an audible voice, but as I asked the Holy Spirit to speak to me, He did, through His Word. I didn’t go anywhere other than Psalm 23. And I learned so much from quiet and still waters.
6. Quiet isn’t a privilege, it’s an essential need. While I’m finishing up the book on balance, busyness, and not doing it all, I’m living what I write. Life is so busy in America. You can’t get away from it. But you also can’t wait for retirement, ill health, or for your children to leave home to receive quiet. It’s essential for body, mind and spirit.
Psalm 23, as experienced last week, is transforming my understanding of God, His desire, and our misplaced priorities. To reclaim quiet in your busy world, make a commitment today, and in weeks to come, to shut off the phone, spend time (anytime) alone, and real God’s word. Psalm 23 is a great place to start. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you in quiet.
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