Two playdates were arranged today for my two little girls–one here and one at a friend’s house. So things are quiet. And calm. (I invited over a sweet mellow playmate for my youngest–I know what I’m doing!)
And while life has slowed down and is at a much more tolerable pace for me, one thing that I have been lacking lately is quiet. Rainy weather means we’re indoors a lot, the girls aren’t using up their abundance of energy so they’re not sleeping as much, and really, they’re just hyped up or at each other’s throats a lot. It’s understandable. It’s life. It a few weeks out of summer. I can deal. But I admit that I can’t think straight. I was not wired for a lot of noise.
I don’t know what it is about me–I can handle loud, rockin’ praise music or booming speakers when I’m driving around solo, but I can’t handle the clanging of pots and pans or loud conversations or worse–conversations and loud background noise (I constantly have to turn music down or off when I’m trying to have a conversation with someone). Boisterous kids running around on hardwood floors and squealing and giggling should bring me great joy, but at some point it just starts to sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.
You can see that quiet has great meaning for me. I’m able to function better, I’m calmer, I can think clearly. A little quiet gives me strength to tolerate the noise pollution that my family sometimes emits. (My 3-year-old and her friend giggling sweetly in the other room totally qualifies as quiet for me…..sigh…..cute little girls!)
Scripture talks a lot about quiet. Psalm 23 says that the Good Shepherd leads us beside quiet waters (how that soothes my soul so much more than a roaring waterfall!). We are also encouraged over and over again to speak wise and quiet words (Ecc 9:17). 1 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, and 1 Peter all encourage us to lead quiet lives and to have gentle and quiet spirits.
I often think of “quiet” as an outward condition that I long for. It’s a circumstance that I want. I’ve learned that it’s not just something I value, but it is something that has value. But more often I need to remember that “quiet” is also a condition of my soul. I need to be led quietly by my Shepherd, I need to live a life that isn’t obnoxious or hurtful or full of strife. Isaiah 32 says that “the fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.” Quiet is also a fruit of righteousness. It is not something I can obtain on my own, but only by the redemptive and transforming work of the one who leads me beside quiet waters.
Be still, oh my soul.