An Ambition of a Quiet Life

 

When someone asks you what your goal in life is, what do you say?  For some it would be to raise a happy and healthy family, for others to make enough money to be comfortable, another might say travel. There are scores of other responses people give.  I have never once though heard someone say their life goal was to live quietly (though I have seen it lived out in others – perhaps that’s why they don’t mention it, because they are living it!)

Young woman shushing

Yet reading I Thessalonians 4:11 this week that is exactly what I read.  “Make it your ambition to live a quiet life.”  That stopped me cold.  A quiet life might be what could best be described as the opposite of my life.

“Make.”  So this idea of living a quiet life may not come naturally.  It may need to be something I work on and make purposeful. There are no  qualifiers of “live quietly if your schedule or life situation allows.”  Hmmm . . . if God says a quiet life is an ambition I should have and my life feels anything but quiet, what can I do right now to begin to make that my ambition?

This question was particularly insightful as I was preparing to travel to our Home Office for two weeks.  I love my coworkers there and those who gather from other Area Ministries around the country.  I can safely say that we each have a goal to serve Jesus and people with disabilities well.  But we are still people and have to deal with our flesh!

One of the temptations that kicks up in me when I travel to these gatherings is that nasty sin of comparison.  As I hear what a colleague in another area did I sometimes feel the need to communicate how we also do that, or perhaps even something “better!”  Or I may hear an idea brewing and want to be the first to make that happen!  That, I am pretty sure, is not what God had in mind when He had Paul pen I Thessalonians 4:11.

So how then can I live a quiet life when my days are rarely quiet?  I think I saw part of the answer one morning this week.  We are in the LA area now.  One morning I went to the patio area of the hotel for coffee and my quiet time.  I sat just a few hundred feet from a major highway, yet in this little “paradise” I only heard quiet;  the waterfalls on the property, and only saw lush green foliage.  quiet1

I think this may be a simple picture of I Thessalonians 4:11.  The world is rushing and buzzing around me (and soon I’ll be part of that freeway traffic) but as I entrust more and more of my ways and soul to the God who created me, who knows all that is going on and who loves me deeply I am cocooned in His safety and stillness.  A good lesson for me to keep in mind these weeks and beyond.

quiet2Life around me does not have to be still to lead a quiet life.

I don’t have to be right about everything.

I don’t even have to be able to chime in on everything.

There is much I have yet to learn.

Sounds like a good way to ambitiously make myself walk the path to a quiet life.

Great Expectations or Great Reality?

In early December I had foot surgery.  Prior to surgery the Doctor told me that I would need about 2 weeks of no weight bearing and full elevation with icing to get the best results.  He went on to say that I should be prepared to experience swelling for up to a year, especially as my foot is used more.  He advised that the more I held to the first two weeks restrictions the quicker my healing would be.  In truth, I would still need to elevate and ice after the first two weeks but not as fully.

I heard those instructions and thought I 12342872_10207828617014225_2806519151968490185_ncommunicated them clearly to my husband.  I also thought that I could work an alternative healing plan., which I also communicated. I had in mind that I’d stay home for 2 days from the office and then return in one of Jerry’s old wheelchairs that would allow me to keep my foot elevated and iced while moving about the office.

It didn’t take long after I was home and recuperating to realize my plan would not work. The Doctor’s plan was best and was what I needed to follow.  Surprise!

That experience brought to my attention several situations in recent weeks and months where my expectation and my reality (or life in the present) do not match up.  It has taken awhile, but I finally realized it is not my present that I need to adjust, but my expectations and attitude.

You see I set both myself and Jerry up to feel I would be further along than was reasonable. I was left feeling disappointed when I wasn’t. Then the doctor tells me he is very pleased with my progress and I am definitely on schedule if not ahead of schedule.  Wahoo!!!

It’s good to have a goal and expectations to strive for.  But for me I think I need to temper those a bit more with realistic expectations (not just in this area, but most all ares of my life) which would reduce a lot of frustration I suspect.

Funny, as I am writing this Jerry is listening to his Bible app.  Truly at the same time as I typed the above paragraph I heard the app read, “Don’t think you are better than you really are.  Be honest in your evaluation of yourself . . .”  Romans 12:3 NLT

Coincidence? I think not!