When Tina Dula asked me to be part of this blog series, I immediately knew the answer was “yes,” and I immediately knew what I wanted to write. It has been interesting reading through the guest blogs and soaking in each experience and insight, learning about all these unique God-journeys and the ways they converge. It’s encouraging and beautiful to know that my journey echoes many of these themes and will, at the same time, lend a completely separate expression of God’s heart. The church at its best, I say.
Earlier in the month, Tina wrote about asking God each year for a word to land on her heart as her word for that year. My husband and I have the same practice. It’s not a weird or spooky occurrence. There are no floating consonants and vowels hovering over our heads or anything. It’s really about centering our hearts and seeking God for one word or phrase to encompass what our focus should be for the year.
This year my word, as Miley says, “came in like a wrecking ball.” J
My word is quiet.
I could probably just wrap it up and close in prayer at this point. Truly, I’ve never known a word to be so humble and unassuming, yet so completely intrusive at the same time. I’m only a few weeks into 2014, and already quiet is wrecking everything in the very best ways.
As for this particular blog series, here’s where quiet has intersected, for me:
Quiet helps cultivate a thirst for the precious and reveals what is pressing.
I have taken quiet and held it as a child that I locked in the attic long ago. I have had to nourish it back to life. It’s still a weakling, pitiful and sunken in the cheeks, but it’s alive and that’s a good start.
Scripture is abundant (sometimes annoyingly so) on the subject of “quiet.” Here are just a few passages that are currently eating my lunch.
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
– Proverbs 29:11
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! – James 3:18
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
– Psalm 37:7
And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. – Exodus 14:14
Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. – Proverbs 13:3
Quiet, for me, has meant less blogging for readership. It has meant infrequent, if any, interaction on social media. It has meant saying no to jobs or opportunities where other people see that “no” as utterly foolish. It has meant seeing my desire for justice, especially for things to be “right” on my behalf, and lovingly placing duct tape over my mouth. It has meant offering no explanation, no pleading of my case, where I would otherwise leave no stone unturned in making sure my voice is heard.
In other words, it has been excruciating.
BUT, I have never been more fulfilled. I have never had more intrinsic joy and peace. I have never loved my children and my husband more. I have never been more excited for other people. I have never felt more purpose.
Embracing the idea of quiet has helped me long for the precious; these moments with my family; these infant stages of budding ministries; these few and deep friendships that have emerged; the daily bread of communion with Jesus. It has also cast a spotlight on what I held as “pressing” in my day-to-day. And guess what? Turns out, it wasn’t all that pressing after all. “Pressing” has moved from making sure my social media presence was enough but not too much, to making sure I tickled my boys, loving Jesus by loving my friends and my community, and asking how I can propel the Kingdom of God in my house in the suburbs. Everything else falls into place after the precious takes priority.
I am now beginning to truly thirst for the precious things, not the pressing things, and in my quiet He is singing over me. He’s always been singing over me. I’m just now still enough to hear the songs.
I pray this for you. I pray that you’ll be able to find a steady quiet in your life, and that God will reveal what is pressing and create a thirst for what is precious.
Candi is a singer/songwriter, author, and homeschool-teaching-mom/wife/friend/cupcake baker extraordinaire. She and her husband Jonathan are the founders of a nonprofit called Sycamore Abbey, with a mission to bring ministry leaders back to life and equip them to encourage vitality where they lead. She is a woman seeking to find the extraordinary in the everyday. Learn more at candipearsonshelton.wordpress.com, or follow her on Twitter @CandiPShelton.