As I get older, I’m learning that if I don’t intentionally prioritize things, my subconcious will do it for me. When I say, “I don’t have time for that”, what I’m really saying is, “Something else has a higher priority than that.”
Right now, my highest priority is a quiet life.
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 NLT
I made this my top priority this past December, while we were in Florida; I was realizing just how burnt out I’d become. So upon our return in January, I made changes to ensure a quiet life. Oddly enough, life has a lot to throw at me to equally ensure it doesn’t happen! I’m amazed at how naturally my ‘yeses’ come out and how deliberate I have to be if a ‘no’ is going to come out.
I really, really hate being busy. I’ve hated it for a long time, but when I saw this verse hanging up at my mom’s house, it was like a heavy burden was lifted— I no longer felt guilty for wanting a quiet life! And it gave me the sovereign permission I needed to start simplifying. Fewer commitments, fewer engagements, less busyness.
If you’re like I was, feeling busy and burnt out, here’s 7 tips I’ve picked up so far, in my quest for a quieter life. :)
1. There are too many good things out there for me to dip into a little of everything.
2. God created me with a unique combination of temperament, abilities, stamina and desires. He doesn’t waste anything and neither should I. It takes time to find the thing I can best serve at; serving in little things while I work it out is better than being a bump on the log while I work it out. I can start with serving the people I share a house with, at the very least. (Doing a chore that isn’t mine, spending extra-quality time with someone instead of mindlessly entertaining myself, etc.) This helps cultivate a servant’s heart (something I really struggle with, for a variety of reasons) so that, when I *do* figure out what I’m cut out for, I’ll have a headstart in having a willing heart. ;)
3. It’s okay for me to say no to lots of things! It’s not okay for me to say no to everything.
4. My blog, friends, husband and family are FABULOUS sounding boards for figuring out what needs to get cut, what my talents are, what my weaknesses are and how all those things play into or against leading a quiet life.
5. Leading a ‘quiet life’, I’m finding, is not dull and it’s not sitting around doing nothing! It’s using my God-given Combination of Everything as efficiently and productively as possible. There’s still emotional stress to my day; there’s still work to be done. But I’m fulfilled at the end of the day, I’m not burnt out, I’m not frantic.
6. The enemy will fight this endeavor of mine. For starters, his top priority is rebellion against God and His ways. But I’m also figuring out that ‘busyness’ is one of his most effective tactics for stifling spiritual growth. ‘Distractedness’ could be another word for it. But being aware that he’s trying to sabotage me is half the battle and renews my resolve to be intentional about how I spend my time.
7. There are seasons of God sowing into our lives and seasons of harvest. The sowing times are the hardest for me; they involve a lot of…nothing. At least on the outside. But it’s also a resting time, a time to take it easy, savor the moments and rest. I’m slowly learning not to be afraid of resting time or feel guilty for it. It’s productive in its own way, although visible results are slow in coming.
Ironically, it’s hard work to have a quiet life. But it’s so worth it…