I don’t think there is a single person that couldn’t benefit from more rest and quiet. Not just sleep, although I would enjoy more of that too. I mean resting from all things that keep us busy. And from the activities that overwhelm our minds, distracting us from life and the people in it. There are too few moments of silence throughout my day, making me feel anxious and too stressed to deal with my people.
It wasn’t difficult to choose this month’s theme, Rest. In a couple of weeks I am speaking at my church on the theme of “Freedom from Noise”. It stems from a nudge from God that I have needed to add some silence into my day. With four children and all of their schedules to keep track of, writing, caring for my home and family, etc. the moments of quiet are few and far between.
Lately, any time there is quiet, I feel the need to fill the void with music, a podcast, or hop on social media. It is as if the silence is something I want to cover up. I don’t want to be stuck with my thoughts, worries, and obsessions. As I fill the void, my mind grows more tired. Whatever I am hearing, I am not really listening to. With the constant input, my mind races from one thing to the next, never slowing down. Even when I lay my head on my pillow at night, my mind continues to want to stay busy and engaged. Its as if my brain forgets how to slow down because of the severe lack of moments of rest throughout my day. Should I wake in the night, my brain starts cycling again and sleep doesn’t often return.
There are plenty of forms of idols in our lives, but I have become more convinced that the need for noise is one of mine. The more I am putting into my brain and senses, God is getting pushed out. My focus shifts from Him to the voices going in my ears.
In Psalm 131, King David shares a Psalm of Ascent, a preparation of a heart for worship:
“God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain. I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans. I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content. Wait, Israel, for God. Wait in hope. Hope now; hope always!” Psalm 131 The Message
David knew how to look away from the world and focus his heart and mind on God. I can’t worship God when my mind is clouded and busy, when my heart is not content and soul is not at rest. I want God to be able to speak to me any time He chooses and I want to be ready to listen.
I have started making small changed throughout my day to clear my mind and cultivate a quiet heart. In the car while running errands, I leave the radio off. I am gradually scaling back my social media time. Walks with my dog are spent with no ear buds, but talking to God and enjoying the beauty around me.
This weekend, I am taking a mini trip, out of town, alone. No husband, no kids, just me. I have known for some time that I needed to break away from everyday responsibilities. I will be focusing on my time with God and nurturing old friendships. I intend to enter this weekend with silence and mental rest.
How do you build moments of silence and rest into your day? God is present with us in the crazy, but we need to be able to hear Him in the quiet. I encourage you to create space for your brain to slow down and experience God. When our brains are full of too much input, we forget to be still and focus on Him.
I hope you will join me on the journey this month to find rest from the noise and rest in Him.