Updated on July 3, 2016
How I’m making room for quiet in my soul
peace : noun | freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility
I’m an introvert. Some people may not believe that, but it’s true. I have learned how to be socially engaged, how to be involved in conversations at a party, and how to interact with others in extroverted ways. But give me enough time in a social setting, and I’ll be looking for a place to get away from the noise. Often, that’s a trip to the restroom, just to be quiet for a few minutes and enjoy a little peace.
As an introvert, at times I can become overwhelmed when I don’t have some rest and downtime on the weekends. Recently, I had a month-long season of busyness. I found myself snippy and exhausted. I wasn’t enjoying the time with others. I was longing for some quiet. Instead, I found myself fretting over the next event, the next meal, the next week or the next weekend. I couldn’t enjoy the here and now, because I was anxious about all the things I had to do and places I needed to be. I was focused on the destination, not so much on the journey.
And so it is, that as I’ve been working my way through the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5, that I’ve landed this week on peace.
The fruit of the Spirit is… Peace. Galatians 5:22
Alan Fadling, in his book An Unhurried Life, writes about unholy hurry, as he calls it. “Fretting is soul hurry. Peace is a soul unhurried and at rest.”
How, in this crazy, frenetic world, where everyone seems to be grabbing at symbols of happiness and well-being, can we quiet our souls into unhurry and rest? When the calendar is full and the demands are high, can we find a way to have a soul that is at peace, even in the midst of busyness?
I think much of the answer lies in slowing our pace enough to be attentive to God’s presence. Here’s how I’ve been working on that.
Recently, I have been intentionally slowing my pace at some point throughout the day. I literally calendar 15 minutes of margin in my day. I always have my smart phone with me, so sometimes I intentionally remind myself to pull it out and take pictures of beautiful things or things that make me stop and notice. I may capture a beautiful sunset, or an empty tunnel, or a moment between two people. Sometimes I leave the smart phone at my desk and simply take a walk around the building. Sometimes, I stop what I’m doing and read a blog post I’ve been saving, or sit in silence and let my mind wander.
Some days it’s difficult to find 15 minutes of margin. But when I remember to slow down my pace, even for a few minutes, I find that I make just a little space for my soul to find some peace. Even in the middle of a frenetically paced day, I can choose to stop, sit down on the inside, and snap a picture or take a short walk. It reminds me to look up, to look out, and see that there is beauty and peace all around me. I only have to slow my pace for a few minutes to see it.
When the demands and schedules of life press me in, I’m working on projecting peace rather than frenzy. When I find myself spinning, thoughts racing, fear gripping, I’m trying to remember that the evidence of Christ in me is peace.
When I feel myself grabbing for control fueled by the anxiety that I must grab for myself what I should be waiting for God to provide, I’m reminding myself that “hurry rushes toward the destination and fails to enjoy the journey.” (Fadling)
What about you? Do you find yourself yearning for some peace and quiet? How can you build some soul space into your days? Join me in putting some unhurry in your life, will you?