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So it’s almost Christmas Day and perhaps in October of this year you had visions of silent nights and blissful days in December as you relished moments with family and friends and quietly contemplated the meaning of the season during your down time.
But maybe once again your Christmas season is rolling out to be less like “Silent Night” and more like the song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” or even “ten pipers piping …and a partridge in a pear tree!” (ie. crazy).
But perhaps loudness and crazy activity doesn’t bother you much.
Maybe you love the hustle and bustle and sights and sounds of Christmas all packed into one big loud party-filled December.
After all, the first Christmas may not have been as silent as the song suggests, either. (If you have any experience with new-born babies, you’ll know that your nights are not often silent. And along with animals and shepherds, it might have a been quite a bit of a hub-bub?)
But, whether you like the flurry of activity this time of year or not, maybe deep down you do long for some more silence… a little more hushed holiness during your days and nights…if that is possible.
This coming January, we will start off the year by thinking about the idea of “quiet” and why it might be important to some degree for all of us, no matter whether we are extroverts or introverts.
(If you haven’t read about the “Loving My Actual Life” Monthly Challenges yet, you can read about them here or sign up here. These monthly challenges for 2017 are based on the experiment documented in the book by Alexandra Kuykendall called Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me.
What Does “Quiet” Have to Do with Loving Your Life?
I’ll admit, begin an introvert, quiet often has a lot of attraction for me, especially in this season of toddler-time. And a friend of mine with a new-ish baby relishes the very few moments she has found for quiet time by herself lately.
But if you are an extrovert or in other stages of life, maybe quiet doesn’t have the same “pull” for you. Perhaps you love lots of activity and frequent interactions on the average day.
But in reality, all of us can benefit from some moments of quiet stillness in our lives.
Why? Quiet is actually surprisingly very good for our bodies and minds. Check out this excellent article about the scientific benefits of silence–including stress relief that leads to better health and even the new growth of brain cells. I want that!
The physical and mental reasons in themselves are excellent reasons to get more quiet.
But even more importantly, quietness can benefit our spirits.
Because I believe that not only is God real, but His voice is able to be heard even in these postmodern times. At the same time, it is often a very “still, small” voice.
If we are always running around, taking in all the loud voices around us–the TV voices, the radio and podcast voices, screechy kid or coworker voices… or even our own voices (out loud or in our heads)… we may not be getting the quiet time we need to hear well what God might be saying to us–including His direction, His encouragement, and His wise advice.
This may be a really new idea for you. God speaking? Out loud? You might be someone who wonders if God even exists. How can I be so confident?
There is definitely lots of mystery to it. It’s not so much about hearing with your physical ears than with your “spiritual ears”.
And I’m just learning, too. God can often seem to be silent in my own life, as well.
But perhaps one of the reasons we don’t seem to hear Him much is because our lives have become so busy and loud that we can’t hear Him or recognize when He is speaking.
So whatever reasons you choose to add more silence to your life this January (or to use the silence you already have more meaningfully)…whether for body, mind or spirit… I’d love for you to join us in the January Loving My Actual Life challenge as you set from one to three goals for adding more “quiet” into you life this month.
I know some of our lives are less conducive than others to finding times of quiet… babies and toddlers in the house, anyone?
Or some of you may be teachers with all the marking and planning and interacting day in and day out.
And there are plenty of other life circumstances and that make it difficult to find quiet. Pretty much all of us seem to be really busy for one reason or another.
But perhaps there are some ways that all of us can add just a little bit more quiet to our lives …for our physical, emotional, and spiritual health
…and therefore begin to enjoy our lives more in 2017.
So, if you are on board and want to give it a go for the month of January, join us and begin to think about a few ways you could include more quiet in your life. I’ll include lots of tips, ideas, and resources on the Hub Page to inspire you.
I’d love to see you there, and I believe more quality quietness will impact your life more than you realize.
If you sign up for the Loving My Actual Life Monthly Challenges, you’ll receive an e-mail with a link to the Loving My Actual Life Monthly Challenges Hub Page where I’ll include a bunch of tips, ideas, and resources that will get your creativity flowing about how you might find more quiet in your life, as well as what you might do or not do in your quiet time to make it meaningful.
P.S. For now, whether you join the challenges or not, here is a resource you might want to look into as you think about next year and your hopes for 2017. It’s called the 2017 Goals Planner created by Marva Smith of sunsparkleshine.com. This planner will help you to be more purposeful in 2017 as you plan meaningful goals for yourself and keep track of them as you go.