It is reasonable to believe that the One who made the worlds, including this one and us who live in it, is willing to teach us how to live. He "became flesh" in order to show us, day by day, as He walked the lanes of Galilee, and the streets of Jerusalem, how to live in company with God. - Elisabeth Elliot
I always knew Christ was fully God and fully man, though that is one of those aspects of theology I didn't think too much about. It is too much for the mind to fully grasp, one of those things I just took on faith that I would understand one day but it didn't matter too much to me now. All I needed to know is He was my life, how his humanity and deity merged didn't change how I felt about following Him.
But then I was sitting in the place where this God-man preached and lived and I was being taught about His life, much like He taught His followers. As the cool spring breeze drifted off the Sea of Galilee onto us in Capernaum, we listened to the teacher talk to us about the humanity and deity of Jesus. Something shifted for me in that moment.
He talked about how Christ was fully Human and how his deity was "veiled" while He lived on this earth. He never stopped being God but to live fully among us, He became fully man as well. And not just fully man but the embodiment of the perfect human. He had to stay connected to the Father to receive His "marching orders," how to live His life. In the words of 1 John 1.1, "the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us."
I always knew it was my life's goal as a follower of Christ to live a life that looked like His. But somehow when I really knew that He didn't come to earth just to save me but to show me the perfect human life, how one can really "live in company with God," I saw Him in a whole new light.
The Second Adam lived as man was created to live before He fell out of communion with God. He lived as we one day will live when all is restored.
Sarah Bessey says it so beautifully in her soon to be released book Out of Sorts, "Because He was fully and completely human, he is our perfect example of the humanity we were meant to embody as we move through this life."
We see how He moved through life with a heart that was never troubled because He stayed in constant connection with His Father, knowing He was in full control. He grieved with people. He had compassion on His sheep without a shepherd. But He lived with a heart so intertwined with the heart of God, that it was not at unrest.
A quiet heart, like the heart of Jesus, is one that keeps company with God at all times. He had that quiet heart and our perfect Jesus living in us offers it to us as well. May we look to Him to show us how to have and keep that quiet heart!
Saturdays on 31 Days of a Quiet Heart I will be highlighting a quote or idea from the book that inspired the series, Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot.
I will be giving away a copy of this book during the last week of the series, so keep reading! The series isn't based on the book but God used it to inspire the thinking that lead me to seek after the qualities of a quiet heart for this month. That is something I always saw exemplified in Elisabeth Elliot's writings and something I always admired in her and yearned for in my own life. I will keep diving into some thoughts inspired by the book.
Stay with me - 4 more Saturdays to go!
I soaked in the sounds of the morning drifting in past the darkened stained glass. The shuffling of feet and the turning of pages in a Bible were the background music of my prayers. In the early morning of the monastery I sat next to monks and retreatants with heads bowed while my pen flew over the page, recording my prayers in the journal that lay open in my lap.
This glorious scene, the perfect time and place to meet with God, happened over a year ago at a rare weekend retreat at a monastery. I had two whole days to do nothing but journal, pray, seek God.
That was the last time the stars have aligned in such perfection.
Usually, the scene is more like this - I catch a few minutes while the kids are eating breakfast to read a devotional app on my phone. I hear God's voice speaking to me through the blog of a woman I have read many times before but never realized she was so much like me until her words leap off of the screen at me that day. I pray with the kids over dinner and choke back tears at the sweet, sincere prayers of an innocent six year old.
I have always aimed to have this perfect "quiet time," thought if I could achieve this quiet space, carved out for me and God, I could have this heart that is still before Him and communes with Him throughout the day. There was a time when early morning, candles lit, I met with Him.
And then, I had kids. And a full-time job. And a writing ministry.
My heart started to shrivel as I held onto this ideal of this perfect quiet time that only looked a certain way. When I didn't live up to that standard, I felt like I couldn't hear God anymore.
I started trying to find new ways to meet with God, outside of a Bible cracked open, a journal beside me.
I was listening to Katie Orr the other day speak about this idea of a "perfect quiet time" and how it "doesn't happen every day. It might not happen every year." This is a beautiful podcast from a mom who is helping ladies dig deep into the Bible in just a few minutes a day but what I love most about the recording is that her kids are screaming in the background! Quiet time is when we make time to be still, not when everything falls perfectly into place.
I am still working on retraining my ear for those little voices throughout the day that come from a song, a child, an interaction with a friend. I am clinging to the promise in Jeremiah 29.13 (the message) from God - "when you come looking for me, you'll find me."
I am finding that quiet time can happen in the noisiest of moments. It is when your heart is still in the Presence of God, no matter what you happen to be doing.
One thing that I have been inspired by lately is the way visual art can be such a beautiful representation of God and of what He is saying to us. My sister, an artist, sketches these creative little representations of the sermon each week on the bulletin as she hears the message preached and posts them on social media. Those little pictures stick in my mind and remind me of God's Truths. I am no artist (my mom is an artist as well and my sister and niece got all of those genes. I am a dancer and writer but can't draw a straight line with a ruler) but I am trying to sketch out things to remind me of what God is saying to me.
Instead of just journaling I have this unlined sketchbook where I am writing prayers and sketches and whatever God lays on my heart. Okay, don't judge me by my art but here is a little glimpse:
If you feel inspired to sketch something and send it my way on social media, I will post your sketches on the weekends (words, prayers, pictures, whatever creative way you find to practice keeping a quiet heart) on the blog.
Thank you for joining me on this journey!
Quiet is something I only know in the late moments of the day when the two wild ones are asleep. Many days I am awoken by four year old wonder, a steady stream of words and questions in my ear. All day they fight for our attention, a tangle of words tumbling over one another. They want to be heard and to make their presence known.
Even in the final hours of the night, he creeps into her bed and we hear hushed laughs coming from her room. Only when they both drift off to sleep is all quiet in our home.
Sometimes I crave those moments but even then, all is not quiet in my mind. To-do lists and deadlines loom, tomorrow's worries tease the corners of my thoughts and replays of today's mistakes linger.
Real quiet is more than the absence of noise. It is something inside the heart.
It is peace.
Look up the definition of peace and you will see the words quiet, tranquility. Quiet and peace are one and the same in the heart and mind.
So often I spend my time looking for the absence of noise instead of perfect peace. All of the busyness of life can stop and still there be no peace. Avoidance and distraction can masquerade for a while but only God can really bring the perfect peace I am looking for.
Isaiah 26.3 says, "you will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" Keeping my thoughts off of my fears or my worries isn't going to bring peace. Keeping my thoughts fixed on God and His truth is where the quiet will start to take hold of my heart.
"God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing," said C.S. Lewis. Today I need to stop looking for peace in the world, for an absence of chaos and noise. There is no such thing. If a quiet heart is at perfect peace, a quiet heart is stayed on Him.
When I started A Voice in the Noise, one thing I felt was a need for a space that was a place of focus in all the fuss. I felt like there was noise everywhere, competing for space in my head. I needed to hear a voice break through it all. I needed to hear His voice.
When I thought about what I wanted to write about this October for the Write 31 Day challenge, I just started praying about what I wanted to hear from God on for a straight month. What am I needing most from Him, yearning for Him to teach me?
I have a small bookshelf by my bed and on it are the books I want to read but haven't found the time to. Every now and then I will grab one and spend a few minutes in it, spare minutes that are hard to come by. Lately any time I have for reading is spent on blogs or magazines at which I am submitting or reading friend's writing in and in books by exciting and ground-breaking new authors.
The simple cover on this book definitely didn't scream exciting. But the title leapt out at me just the same. I didn't make it past the introduction before I took a deep breath and knew this was the thought on which I wanted to spend the next month. The book that inspired me was by one of my heroes of the faith, Elisabeth Elliot.
In the introduction she shares a prayer that she wrote in 1947, which is my prayer today as well:
Lord, give me a quiet heart
That does not ask to understand,
But confident steps forward in
The darkness guided by Thy hand.
For these 31 days, that is my prayer for myself and for all of you reading. I want to learn more about having a quiet heart before the Lord. I want to receive from Him - not His answers, but Himself. I want to stop all the noise in this space and get to a place where I can confidently step forward, knowing that I am guided by His hand.
Please pray for me as I write, that these words will be what I am learning from trying to truly have a quiet heart before my Savior. Some people write all their 31 day posts ahead of time but I want to truly be on this journey with you and will be writing every day and posting it the next. It is a little nerve-wracking having people join me on this journey when I am committing to write for 31 days and I don't have the words yet. I am trusting Him to show up and speak. And I am grateful for those that will be coming along with me.
I usually send weekly emails on Monday, even if I post more than once a week. For those of you that are following along on my email list who will be getting daily emails for a month, thank you. These will be shorter than my usual blogs. At the end of the 31 days I will be giving away a copy of the book that inspired me to seek God in this way, stay tuned for the giveaway!
Let's spend this month together working to keep a quiet heart...