Like a long distance runner, we can see the finish line of the race up ahead, but fail to recognize that each and every task that we commit ourselves to has its own separate finish line, time frame, and a deadline. We can be competing in a dozen time pressured, stress producing races at the very same time. Very slowly, if we are not careful, our lives can become over committed and driven to complete a myriad of responsibilities and commitments. The skill of multitasking is a necessity in the business world today. However, a continuous life of multitasking, isn’t God’s will for our lives.
The other day I realized that several times I had spoken to, sent texts, or e-mailed my co-workers, friends, and family the often used acronym: ASAP- As Soon As Possible. I was adding the phrase to my time pressurized responsibilities, “I will get back to you ASAP”, “Let me check on that and get an answer to you ASAP”, or “I will be home ASAP”. We often are aware that we will be late, miss a deadline again, or find ourselves in another disappointing tense moment with our partner for once again being late.
Recently I have been convicted that this is not pleasing to the Lord at all. I began to list out the many tasks and responsibilities that are on my plate every day and found a pattern: My life was slowly slipping away from me and I was becoming a resource asset for those who have needs or requests for my help or professional advice. I was beginning to live the lives of others and was failing to live my own life.
The Quiet Place can slip away from us so subtly that sadly we don’t even realize that it is gone. The very nature of God is peace. He desires us to develop a life that has quietness as a norm and not an occasional moment that is grasped desperately during times of stress and overload.
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you.” I Thessalonians 4:11
“That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” I Timothy 2:2
Too many of us find ourselves mirroring the despair of the Patriarch Job as our lives grind down with excessively overloaded schedules and commitments, "I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil." Job 3:26
What can we begin to do to quiet our spirit and slow down our lives to regain the inner peace and calmness that God is pleased to see radiate through each of us?
Be Teachable - Learn from God the pathway to Quietness
"Teach me, and I will be quiet” Job 6:24
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, "Come with me to a Quiet Place and get some rest." Mark 6:21
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters,” Psalm 23:2
Be Committed - Cultivate an inner Quiet Place
“But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Spiritual maturity is measured by cultivating “a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” I Peter 3:4
In the still moments of personal solitude, we can pause to worship God and renew our strength. Inner peace is often hurriedly prayed for during times of stress like it is quick fix to ease our personal pressures and mounting tensions. There is certainly nothing wrong with praying for God to give inner peace when all is chaotic around us. However, God desires that we display and radiate an inner peace that has already been cultivated from our times in the Quiet Place, so that we can stay calm in the midst of the storm.
“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: in quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 (See also Zephaniah 3:17, Mark 4:39, Mark 6:31)