Sometimes insomnia is a gift. Lying awake in the quiet of the night forces you to take stock, to feel feelings you won’t admit to during the day, to think thoughts that you would never otherwise have time for. You have time right now though; it is three o’clock in the morning and everyone is asleep! So, you think your thoughts and maybe even pray a prayer. Maybe you drift back off to sleep and maybe you do not.
Either way, the quiet gave your soul a little more room to breathe than it had yesterday.
That’s not actually how any of us view insomnia though is it?
We wake up and groan and toss and turn for hours. We mentally complain and list all of the ways that this is going to ruin the day (or is that just me?). The quiet is annoying, a menace.
At least, that is how I have viewed quiet.
But, if you read my blog post last week, then you know that God is teaching me how to stop and listen for him. I’m learning that I can only listen, really and truly listen, when I am quiet.
Quiet is not an enemy. Quiet forces us to look honestly at ourselves and at God.
But, quiet probably is not a big part of your life. It hasn’t been for me. I need to make room for quiet to give myself some breathing space and some listening space. Otherwise I don’t pay attention. I may miss things God has to say to me or show me. I may not appreciate the good parts of life. Hustle will hold my soul prisoner.
Here are four ways God is showing me to make room for quiet in my days.
No Music in the Car
For me, this has made the biggest difference in my days. I spend a good portion of my day in the car (living out of town will do that to you), and I usually listen to music or a podcast that I enjoy to pass the time. While this is not inherently a bad thing, the car is one of the few places that I can be guaranteed a quiet space. I need to use that.
So, when I am running errands or driving to school or work, I take this time to stop, pause, and listen. A lot of times I will be in a bit of a rush to get to the next appointment. But, this time in the car allows me to at least gather my bearings and calm down a bit before I get frazzled.
This time has also become a place of prayer for me. You don’t have to bow your head and close your eyes to pray. In fact, if you pray while driving, I would highly advise against it! But, God can speak to you in the car just as easily as he can at church or at home and with your eyes opened or closed.
Pausing at the End of my Quiet Time
This may be a big, fat duh! to a lot of you. But, I often race from my quiet time to the shower or to whatever comes next in my day. I say, “Amen” and it is off to the races! But, I need time to process what God has shown me in my Bible reading. I need time to mentally sift through that information and allow it to saturate my soul.
Enter a time of pause.
This isn’t me sitting for fifteen minutes and meditating or anything intense like that. This is literally just a few moments, sometimes not even a full minute. But, taking that time to pause allows me to express gratitude to the God of the universe that he would see fit to spend time with me. That time to pause gives the Holy Spirit more time to work in me, to renew me, and to change my attitudes and thoughts.
Even if I lose a few extra minutes of a hot shower, pausing to make room for quiet is totally worth it.
Schedule Buffer Zones
If you have kids or are in general a really busy person, this may seem difficult or even impossible. But, I promise that it is totally worth it. Let me explain what I mean. When I have an appointment or work, I leave about ten minutes earlier than I need to. When I have a task to do, I give myself about ten percent more time than I expect to need. This almost guarantees that I have a little bit of extra time every day that is not eaten up by hustle.
Am I as productive as I could be by doing this? No. Could I “better” use my time and accomplish more? Yes. But, I am not going to. I consider the trade off worth it. I am less productive, but I have more breathing room. I do not accomplish as much, but I have more time to see God in my day.
Do not believe the lie that doing more in a day makes you more successful. As Christians, success is not defined by results but by God.
Take the time to wait.
This kind of falls into scheduling buffer zones, but I think it warrants its own mention. We spend a lot of time waiting in life; lines are just everywhere. When you are in line, you have two possible responses. Be patient or be impatient. You are going to stand in line just as long with either attitude, but this attitude can determine the rest of your day.
What does your attitude have to do with quiet? Well, consider the choices you make based on your attitude. If you are impatient, you are probably going to try and “pass the time” by being on your phone or something similar. You may not be speaking, but the impatience of your soul is loud. But, when you are patient, you are calm. Your soul is quiet. You may be content to just stand in line. You may notice more and have the opportunity to see God at work. If you are impatient, you will probably miss it.
I hope that this week you will try at least one way to make room for quiet into your days. I promise that it’s worth it. Are there other ways you make room for quiet? Let me know in the comments below!!
My Prayer for You
Lord, I thank you for the time I got to spend with these precious readers today. I pray that you release them from the chains of noise and hustle that so often bind us. Please renew and refresh us through your Holy Spirit. Teach us how to quietly abide in you.