I’ve been asking the Lord to give me a word and a vision for 2016. I thought it would be something along the lines of hard work, discipline, achieving, doing…. I’ve always felt that I fall short in those categories, so it would make sense to me if that’s what He wanted me to work on this year. Those types of words weren’t at all what He had in mind for me, though.
“Quiet, Lord? But I’m really, really good at quiet. I take quiet to the point of lazy most days. I don’t need to be more quiet.”
But the more I prayed about it, the more I felt certain that Quiet was the word for me this year. I like to think about myself as a quiet person. I can be reserved. I need lots of time to think and reflect. I can’t handle lots of loud noises for long periods of time so I often withdraw after a while to sit in silence and read…. But I don’t have a quiet spirit.
I don’t sit quietly before the Lord and let Him work on my heart. I don’t let myself steep in the tensions of what I’m feeling and what He’s speaking… what I want and what He’s asking. In moments when I feel depressed, overwhelmed, defeated, fatigued, discouraged… I don’t wait quietly for Him. I numb my turbulent thoughts with yet more noise.
More Netflix. More books. More conversation and shopping and learning and doing.
I don’t sit quietly before the Lord.
Stillness? What is stillness, and when is the last time I tried it? I can barely still my mind enough to read the Word most days, let alone to know that He is God and to let Him exalt Himself in me. I busy myself seeking more achievements, more crossed off to-do lists, more credit hours, more church activities, more books read, more noise. My mind is always spinning around what I’m going to wear, how I’m going to do my hair, whether or not I should run, how I can fit three friend dates and two church activities into a three day space, and where am I going to put all my stuff.
This year He’s telling me to take a step back from all the noise and the chaos and the overreaching. I was tempted to take stock of 2016 and convince myself to take and post a picture every year, to learn a new instrument, to do three random acts of kindness a week, to read 100 books, to pay off all my student loans, to write lots of articles and finish writing two books, to train for at least a half-marathon and so on and so on… Those are all good, wonderful, beautiful things. Those are all things that God has put on my heart and… in a sense… called me to. But this year I’m going to be motivated and energized from the quiet parts of my day.
I’m going to seek Him and be still before Him, and when I do act, it will come from a place of peace and rest and quiet. If I write a book, it will flow naturally and freely from the quiet tension of my every day life, and only because I’ve said no to the noise and yes to the quiet. If I fill my life and mind with noise, I leave no room to earnestly seek Him.
And I really want to have room to earnestly seek Him.
So my One Word for 2016 is Quiet.