Two sets of small feet thunder overhead, impossibly loud for their size. Giggles, interspersed with shrieks of feigned terror. A child’s roar. And a crash.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Shhh!”
A groan, mine this time. The sound of my own not so small feet thudding up the stairs, echoing maternal displeasure. Shushes. Kisses. A brief prayer for the invisible boo-boo. Sniffles. A reprimand to the guilty sibling. Hugs. Apologies. Redirection.
It never gets any quieter.
Dinner echoes with negotiation, admonishment, and the constant scrape of my chair legs against the floor during my 9,000 trips to retrieve something forgotten. Bath time is basically me yelling, “Stay in the tub!” while one kid splashes 80% of the North American water supply on the floor, and the other screams about soap in his eyes.
In the spare quiet moments, I retreat into my phone, dive into a podcast, or turn on a favorite streaming service. At night, I fall asleep to an audiobook. In the car, it’s Baby Shark and Christmas carols.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10
If it’s heathens the Lord needs, then we’re definitely exalting Him at my house!
I realized tonight that even in my cherished quiet time, after the kids and my husband have gone to sleep, I’m so rarely still.
I justify the constant background noise, extol it as edifying. The music playlists keep me moving. My Christian podcasts are inspiring and uplifting. The audiobooks transport me to other times and places, far away from the laundry folding and dish scrubbing of the here and now. Sometimes I even stream preaching and audio versions of the Bible! We’re surely saved and sanctified here!
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire;but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
1 King 19:11-12
I try to surround myself with Godly influences. My social media accounts only follow people of good character that make me smile or challenge me to be better. My music playlists are chock full of artists openly displaying their love for Jesus.
But are all these other voices distracting me from His voice?
Being fully honest with myself, my social media pages, my audiobooks, my playlists, even my beloved podcasts, they’re all just avenues of escape. They’re my mental version of Elijah’s cave.
The hard truth is: I struggle with anxiety and depression, and I often self-medicate in distraction. At night, instead of allowing anxious thoughts to dredge up old embarrassments or flick through the mountain of suddenly urgent tasks I’m probably never going to get done, I reach for one of my escape hatches and let the noise drown out my fear.
What if my meager efforts to distract myself from my fears is drowning out His attempts to deliver me from them?
For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
God provides opportunities for rest and renewing in stillness. Am I refusing them? Is the peace that I need just one truly quiet moment away?
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
It’s always been easier for me to be busy and distracted than to sit quietly. Waiting is hard. Being alone inside my head is hard (my husband would add, slightly terrifying). But is that stillness at the feet of Jesus the one thing that is needful in my life?
This isn’t a “10 Steps to a Quiet Life” guide. Because, frankly, I haven’t figured it out yet. Actually, it’s 11 pm as I type this, and my one year old is right now standing up in his crib yelling out of the open door for no apparent reason.
(Mom Tip: do not put a toddler crib near the bedroom door. They will open it. And announce their success to the world, or at least the neighborhood)
But my heart is challenged to trust that God’s peace is perfect enough to calm even the roiling storms in my head. And though my house and heart are often full of thunder, I’m trying to listen more for His still, small voice.
Is God calling you to “Be Still and Know?”
- Do you leap at any chance to fill quiet moments with mental distractions?
- Are you serving and scrolling more, while sitting at the feet of Jesus less?
- When the day is done, have you found a moment amidst the chaos to truly listen for the voice of God?
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
One of God’s greatest gifts to us is His peace that “passeth all understanding.” In these crazy, busy, noisy seasons of life, I want to make a special effort to push past my discomfort and find a quiet resting place in Him.