Quiet is something the soul craves and the mind rejects. When my life lacks quiet, it crushes my soul. Myquillyn Smith, in her book The Nesting Place, claims that quieting a room is one of her favorite things to do. I wonder if quieting a room can help me learn how to quiet my heart.
To quiet a room, Myquillyn follows these two basic steps:
1. Find a holding area.
2. Remove everything.
As I read these simple instructions on quieting a space, I decide to let God teach me what quiet is and isn’t, how quiet feels, and why quiet is good for my soul. Being honest about what’s in our hearts isn’t easy, but it’s the first step towards freedom.
Quieting our hearts is intentional surrender.
God begins the work within us, but we have to cooperate. Quieting is the opposite of striving. God helps us evaluate all we have allowed into our hearts. He shows us what needs to be removed, what needs to stay, and what needs to be rearranged.
During a recent season of quieting my heart, God began to one by one remove all the things with which I had adorned my heart in an effort to make myself look better.
The idea of a holding area reminded me that even though I felt empty, God wasn’t finished. His quieting would rid me of fear and shame and anger and myself, so that He could fill me with peace and passion and purpose, and most importantly, Himself.
Quieting our hearts is revealing.
Quieting a space allows us to see what is underneath all the stuff. When we quiet our hearts, we’re uncovering. Coming out of hiding. This takes time, and is very uncomfortable. Quieting our hearts reveals when we’re relying on our own effort instead of Jesus.
Many of us are afraid of quiet. We fear no one will like what’s underneath—or worse, that God won’t love us without all the effort we believe it takes to approach Him. But it’s His love that quiets us, and His love can never be earned. Our effort only gets in the way of receiving His gift.
Quieting our hearts is an intimate blessing.
God longs to fill our hearts. He repositions only what is good for us and what helps us glorify Him. He shows us what’s really there underneath all the effort. That’s where real beauty is found. Underneath. In a quiet heart without any unnecessary junk, I found this: I am fearfully and wonderfully made. So are you.
Jesus loves you. He loves the real you, not the try-hard you. He loves the you that you sometimes don’t. Jesus loved you long before you knew Him. Long before you loved Him. Jesus loved you first. Trust that His love is enough and experience the blessing of a quiet heart.
Quieting our hearts isn’t just a one-time thing.
We’ll need to let God clear the space of our hearts over and over again throughout this life. It will require intentionality. It might even feel uncomfortable; surrender usually does. But it will always be a blessing to have Him quiet us with His love.
“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.” Psalm 131:1-3