Have you ever heard health professionals say, “listen to your body’. While sound advise, how many people listen to their bodies? When the 2:00 pm slump hits how many say, “I’m tired, I am going to take a 15 min nap”? Instead I find it is more often “let me get some coffee and push my body beyond what is healthy for it right now”. I think people should say, “listen to your soul”. How often do we know we are needing something, something to fill us, and we stuff it down and turn around and do the exact opposite?
Things have happened to me since I became a mother. I have learned things about myself…either that or I have been exposed to things I never was before becoming a mother. Things that I can not stand. Like noise. It drives me batty. Maybe it’s because with kids it usually is repetitive noises that they make, and not wanting to always be saying shhhhhh….I try to take it until I just can’t take it any more. Like the child who still bangs his foot against the counter stools in the kitchen while eating…or the child that will sing the same line of a song over and over and over again…or video games- good gracious I banished those to the basement years ago because I couldn’t stand the repetitive noises they play. And while I have learned to cope with some of these noises, I stress a quiet home.
But quiet scares most people. Especially moms, because that’s when trouble happens…like when our 3 year old daughter dumped a wholesale-store size container of powdered garlic into our son’s blond curls when he was two…they were too quiet that day. Quiet means you have to hear what’s happening in your head – scary place there, I know all too well. That is why so many people fill their quiet with noise…television, video games, videos, social media, and lets not for get material things. It’s filler…fluff and can make you feel like you did a good job on the cover up, but when you turn it off, or your new shiny items aren’t new any more, you quickly realize it was just a cover up. That stirring, that needing of something…an undeniable knowing that your soul needs your attention…your God needs your attention. I am thankful that I have learned what fills me, and what it looks like… I am thankful I have learned to listen to my soul.
The Bible is packed with verses on a quiet mind. It talks repeatedly about how Jesus left to go be alone, have solitude, seek rest. Why do we feel guilty when God in the flesh taught us to do that. Is it because we are afraid of falling behind? Of not keeping up? Because maybe if we get quiet it would be scary for someone around us? If it’s what we are craving and yearning for – soul rest – than why do we run? Matthew 6:6 tells us that when we pray we should go into our room and close the door! Leave the crowd, the kids, the noise – and close the door… now I get it and going and closing the door isn’t always the easiest option especially with little kids running around. But maybe in the continual prayers we quietly whisper to ourselves…could that be the start of the quiet we so need. And that’s when I knew I needed to create a quiet home, heart and mind. A toddler, a kindergartner, and a first grader…and a new baby – and I needed quiet. And it’s a challenge even today sometimes, and I’ve been intentionally working on it for 10 years. For me it’s music instead of tv, it’s reading and praying and journaling…it’s sitting in silence even if it’s just for 5 minutes at a time…it’s kids devices away helping prepare a meal…it’s playing with toys instead of electronics…and it can be hard to start…but the quiet joy that fills those moments…that quiet…it fills me in a way nothing else can.
It sets the tone of our home, it sets our days up (not that there isn’t a chaotic morning thrown in here or there), it sets our schedule (very uncluttered) and it creates peace. There are things people think my kids should be doing, instead I give them space. I allow there to be quiet in their schedules, a lot of quiet. All this quiet has healed a part of me. The quiet has allowed me to be open to hearing what God is saying…what He is calling me to…the quiet has given me rest. Rest from stress, rest from an anxious heart, rest from over thinking. It is intentional, and when I get off track, everyone feels it. The stress levels go up, the noise goes up, the tension goes up…and we have to be intentional about leveling it back out. Only the Spirit of the Lord can fill those spaces, and restore a stressed out soul. Soul fitness is perhaps what we need…feed it with the Word of God, through reading scripture and worshiping through music…watching His masterpieces he creates for us in nature unravel. So go now…go listen to your soul….be quiet and relish in inviting Him to your quiet place.
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