I have a problem. When I sit to read, I can’t help but stop to write. I’m sitting here on my porch. The birds chirp, the wind whispers, older boys are busied inside the house, youngest is at a friend’s. All is peaceful. So I pulled out a book my sister said I must read. Quiet.
Quiet. I love quiet. I need quiet. Quiet is often misunderstood. Quiet and I can relate. I sit in the quiet to read Quiet. I get 2 pages in, and my mind takes off. Now I sit and write. In quiet. Because I can’t write unless all is quiet. Quiet is my best friend.
The author opens with a story of Rosa Parks. How she is described as timid and shy, yet courageous as a lion. She referenced Parks’ autobiography Quiet Strength and asks the question – “Why shouldn’t quiet be strong? And what else can quiet do that we don’t give it credit for?” (p. 2 Quiet)
I put the book down. I love a book that challenges me to explore and think. It’s the introvert in me that needs to analyze and understand, to ponder and wonder, to daydream.
So I begin to wonder. Why do we associate quiet with weakness? Sometimes quiet is bold. Sometimes quiet is loud. Sometimes quiet is strength.
Last week Jacob shared a story with me about watching someone speak unkindly towards another person. He said inside it deeply bothered him, but his nature is more quiet, so to stand up and boldly call out this to another is uncomfortable.
“Sometimes, Jacob, we can lead others in quiet ways that have a much greater impact.” I could tell he was baffled. “What if instead of calling out the ugliness of the person’s language and behavior, you simply did the opposite? You did what your heart knows is right. You speak kind words to the person who was spoken to unkindly. You include the person that might otherwise feel excluded.”
He’s a black and white thinker, and there are times that I see him register the gray. This was that time.
“Leadership takes many forms. Sometimes quiet leadership sends a louder message.”
Quiet begs a question. Quiet inserts a message. Quiet instructs the heart. Quiet clears the way. Quiet is underrated.
Much is to be said for quiet. I came to know the Lord 2 months before Steve. He says it was my quietness that led him to draw into the Lord. It was not me boldly preaching and reading my Bible in full display. It was how my life changed radically within days and I quietly led a different life and began to love him in a different way. He drew in. The quiet draws.
Jacob feels internal conflict over his quiet nature. I tell him to let that go. Quiet is ok. He says he wants to boldly proclaim his faith the ways he sees others doing. I remind him there is strength in the quiet of his testimony as well. It’s the way he lives, the choices he makes, the way he speaks, the actions he takes, the heart he displays. These quiet moments share his faith too. I don’t want him to discount quiet. God created quiet. God uses quiet. God speaks in the quiet.
My soul is craving quiet. Life isn’t quite quiet enough for me. So I will look hard for the quiet moments that appear in my day unnoticed. Maybe when I take note of the quiet moments, my soul will begin to soak in the quiet it longs for. Quiet is around me. I’m just usually rushing through life so much, I trample the quiet.
I will look for the ways I see Christ in my children quietly. I will look for those moments of service that occur quietly and fill a need. I will look for that smile that lifted my spirits – that quiet smile. I will let myself pause in the middle of chaos and look to the quiet movement of the clouds. I take note of the rising sun, which comes with such quiet it is often unnoticed.
The unobserved quiet in my life tells a powerful story, sends a powerful message, changes the way I see life.
Look for the quiet messages and moments in your day today and see if you don’t feel blessed.
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