Nov 5, 2014

Silence and clutter

Since we have come back from Costa Rica, the house has seemed barraged by noise and clutter.  The kids seem noisier and wild.  They reeeeeeally decided to bring the wild home with them.  The copious amounts of stuff we brought with us got dumped in the entryway to mock me day after day while I had zero time to unpack and put away.   We fly standby.  We bring carry-on bags. We pride ourselves on our light packing. How the heck did we EVER manage to get all this stuff in these bags and on a plane???  We don't even bring that much stuff, but yet there it was.  An literal explosion. The piles of daily living just went right on top of it.
On Halloween, I managed to clear out the main living space and I snapped this picture.  This is my "V" for victory shot, you all! However, the kid's rooms and the playroom behind me were still piled high.  Ouch - but I mean, lets not shoot for the moon.

But you know, I've had this kind of chaos in my house before, and it didn't translate to my heart.  This time my heart felt full of chaos and the buzzing of thoughts right along with the house. My heart felt frazzled, busy and cluttered.  I became a noisy dramatic mom in my discipline and interactions with my children. Because clearly, when the kids bring the wild home with them, upping my own voice tone over the din ought to calm everyone down a peg, right? Strategy fail.  I wanted my heart to be able to live in a place outside of circumstantial noise.

I yearned for quiet.  For silence.  For a centering.

I have been intrigued lately with daily meditations done by Benedictine monks.  I have looked into their prayers and quiet meditation on God's Word.  While I am not Orthodox in Christian practice, I feel drawn to taking time for moments of reflection and silence before the Lord.  I feel barraged by clutter, even in "holy" spaces that block my way to being with God alone. I feel the barrage of ideas on social media, the noise of family living, the buzzing of my to-do list, the chatter of relationships I pursue.  The chatter of life was obscuring God's invitation to live in His presence and His love for me.

Do you ever feel the same?  I said, "Self - Whoa Nellie!" and pulled the reigns up short.  I knew what I needed.  I got back to the basics.  I needed to go back to a healthier way of living in communion with God.
My quiet times have looked different this week.  They really are quiet and meditational.  They are more of an invitation to enter God's presence than to jam more knowledge about Him into my overly cluttered heart.

 I begin with silence.  Have you ever tried to Just. Be. Silent?  It's tooooough!  Oh my goodness!  Training the soul to stop and be quiet and sit in God's presence alone is no joke.  So much clutters the path to God's presence.  But it's more than just silence.  It's an invitation to let HIM speak.  A giving up of my words and requests and emotions within my pedal-to-metal thoughts and letting Him enter in with nothing blocking the way.  It's waiting for Him.

Next I take a small chunk of scripture and just chew on it.  Read it.  Read it again.  Chew the words around in my mouth.  I stop on phrases and wait.  Again, the waiting and invitation for God to speak into His very own words in His way just for me.  And He SPEAKS.  He speaks to the heart and shows up.  He exposes what is there, my desires and actions.  It is a very quiet voice that thunders in it's power to transform.  Truly it's a humble submission to the power of His presence.

I love ending on a short devotion, prayer, thought, quote, or poem by other Christians through the centuries.  Some are current and some have long been in the presence of our Savior, but all of them have tasted and written about the sweet presence of our Lord, and focus my mind on who He is.

And I pray.  I hold out with hands open what I have to hold out to Him.  Emotions, thoughts, actions, puzzlements, joys, requests.  They all are poured out to Him and I ask Him to take them, transform and do what He will with them.

In one day of re-centering around the Lord there was a dramatic difference in my soul.  Peace descended, motivations of the heart were exposed, love started refilling a heart running dry.  Truly, it was a gasping for His Spirit that nothing else can quench.

How do you invite the presence of the Lord into your life?  The practice of silence can be so difficult but is such an important exercise for the soul.  Certainly, I have begun to wonder if there is not a more important practice for learning submission so that God can transform.
"Be still, and know that I am God".

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