Intentional Quiet

I am a single woman, I do not have children, and I live by myself. I wake up to quiet and I go to sleep in quiet. I have access to all the quiet I need or want.

As a professional golfer I use to travel nearly 10 months out of the year. Today, traveling is still a large part of what I know, and I find myself on the road frequently for ministry and personal adventures. I am a quiet traveler. I can drive for hours in silence, and I am stealth at putting on a Do Not Disturb sign when settling into my seat on a plane.

Quiet is a part of who I am. My friends can attest to this God-given personality trait and I am quick to confess that I’m an introvert. (I have trained myself to covertly resemble an extravert when needed) I can also be with a crowd of people and create a quiet bubble around me. This is not always helpful or inviting, but it is true.

“Be Quiet” are ambivalent words for me. I need quiet to recharge andbeing quiet reminds me of the space in which I am alone. I long for it and it feels bad. I like being by myself and it can leave me feeling empty and sad.

As I wander into the deeper places of my heart and gain more understanding on how my childhood story of harm has left an imprint, quiet is taking on a new meaning. Instead of being quiet as a break to recharge from the chaos of the world around me, it is becoming an invitation to feel, be curious, grieve, and dream. Four elements in my life that were shut-down and felt dangerous for a long time.

Singleness affords me a large amount of flexibility in how I spend my time. Over the course of the last several months, I have been encouraged by a few friends to embrace the practice of being still and sitting in quiet. First, I had to recognize this is an active process compared to the passivity of shutting myself in behind a locked door.

As I ventured into this new practice of quietness, I quickly noticed how easily distracted I was. I struggled staying present, and my mind frequently drifted into my “to do” list.

Facebook was only a click away, and I justified the “really good” article I found to read. Five minutes of reading the Bible felt like an hour. A blank journal page stared at me thirsty for words. And most importantly, my body and heart struggled to find rest.

For someone who doesn’t have to search for time and space to be quiet, learning the difference between quiet and intentional quietness has been a process. I’m a professional at the first and a novice in the latter. My ability to be quiet has not always been kind to my inner world. It has served as an iron mask covering my fear to truly bless the goodness of who I am.

In my active moments of intentional quietness, I am settling into the contours of my heart, body, soul, and mind…giving myself permission to feel, ache, cry, and rest. Distractions still come and I am tempted to respond. But I can feel the heartbeat of Jesus gently wooing me back into the warmth of His quiet presence. It is a delightful place to be.

Originally written for redtentliving.com on April 11, 2016

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