For some time, long before the news of the past week, I have been in a quiet period. I cannot put a starting point on this period, although I could come close, and I certainly won’t intentionally put an end to it. The Quiet (I’ve capitalized it to give this time period a name and because in German nouns are capitalized) was prompted by a choice to withdraw and sort through some feelings associated with a relational pain I had been experiencing. (If you continue to read this blog you will learn I have an attachment to the German language and culture.) As I’m a highly relational person, I suspected I needed to step back and limit my reactions and be more intentional. Changes needed to be made and this was a purposeful step. I’m not trying to be mysteriously vague, but trying to protect my heart and any others, as hearts are to be guarded. They are the wellspring of life. If you are trying to figure out the who and what of my vague words, please don’t read on. Those facts aren’t what is of value.
Focus Diane. This is an important aspect of your life and as it impacts so much, my mind is wandering in many directions. This underscores the need for the Quiet. A little self talk just occurred.
For many years I have thought I was an extrovert as I was encouraged as a young girl to develop and exercise social skills that seem outwardly extrovert. I’m thankful for those skills. I learned early on to try and make new people feel welcome, to volunteer, to get involved, and to speak up. I have spoken in front of hundreds of people and suffered little from the experience. In being able to talk with many people, in varied environments and group sizes I thought that social activities were where I thrived. The more people I was connected to the better. The more stimulation in those activities, the better. In pulling back and choosing to explore the Quiet, I have found I have heard much more of what I have been listening for and I have strengthened myself in the process. I have found I’m energized in much different surroundings than I had expected.
Gosh this sounds hokey.
What I’m working around, but wish to be working toward, is that being in the Quiet has done wonders for me and in me. This is far beyond the introvert/extrovert difference. At least for me it has been. If you want to read a good book about these differences, I highly recommend Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.
But I digress. I’m trying very hard and with great purpose to not tell anyone else what this should be for them. I can speak from my own experience. What I am trying painfully to write from is my perspective. Being in the Quiet has helped me sort through thoughts without quick reaction and without the background noise of daily life. Oh, life has continued but I have chosen to spend more time listening and waiting for a response. I have chosen to spend more time listening so I could choose how to respond. Other people probably have a much better grasp on this than I do. The listening is not so much to what others are saying, although that is important, but the listening has been to what I know to be true, what I have discovered about myself and what is of value to me. The listening has been slowing down my heart to be quiet and respond from a place secure in my thoughts.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still prone to reaction and the biggest regrets I have in my life involve moments where I have reacted quickly and strongly. I have tried to go back and apologize for those moments in my adult life where I haven’t figured out the Quiet. Never assume quiet is weak and loud is strong. I have gained a great deal of strength in the Quiet. I have become confident in knowing who in my circle I can trust to guard my heart and the responses that have come from being in the Quiet.
Wow, this sounds like I’m in a secret society.
Here’s the faith disclaimer again. If you’d prefer to not read about my faith, close this link and I say thank you for visiting. For those who share my faith but don’t understand my disclaimer, talk to me if it bothers you, but I am seeking to keep doors open, not based on who I am, but who Christ is in me. He will take care of those details of whether my words are read or not. It’s not about me. (That’s a title for another blog and probably a book.) This is part of what I’m learning in the Quiet.
Being in the Quiet, has helped me return to a desire to truly know who God is and receive truth from Him. It has helped me enjoy the quietness of my home that has come with this period. It has helped me put things back in order, from a perspective wiser than my own. It has helped me hear truth about where my value comes from. Truth that I have told others about themselves and have tried to underscore in my kids. But in that talking and living, I needed to be quiet and hear it for myself.
This Quiet that I’m speaking of has at times been a literal silence. No music, no talking, just being still for what at first seemed like a long time. I had the luxury of practicing this silence long before I became more comfortable with it and found myself craving it. My home became increasingly noiseless as this system of kids growing up and moving away took place in our family. For years as I saw the nest emptying I started searching for the next thing. I am coming to realize that the next thing for me included the Quiet. I’m still looking for the tangible next thing. I hope I always am still looking for what is next, while striving to live in the moment. In listening I don’t want to become so still that I’m not responding to the world around me and to what I’m hearing.
The Quiet has prepared me for such a time as this. I am comfortable being still right now. I will be still. I will be still and know. He is God and I am listening in the Quiet.
This is a visual of being still and listening for me.
This is part of my Quiet. Königssee Deutschland.
In the stillness the bells on the necks of the cows in the meadow could be heard. Peace.