My life sometimes feels full of noise! From morning to night, it is hardy ever quiet. Being a mom of six, this is probably not surprising, but it is not just the noise of early rising children that fills my mind. My mind is also full of the tasks of the day – or ones coming up. I fill it with the noise of the pressures & expectations I feel others have of me, or by saying yes to everything and volunteering in everything. When that happens, I often find it’s harder to hear the still, calm voice of my gentle Savior – His voice of peace, comfort, and joy. God longs to speak with us, but He will not yell.
Just like he does with us, God wanted to speak to Elijah.
“And he said, go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire A STILL SMALL VOICE.”1 Kings 19:11-12
Our lives can be just like that, with strong winds breaking us in pieces or earthquakes and fires. We can lose God’s voice in all of that and get discouraged.
That is the time to be quiet so we can hear HIM. This may require us to say no to a few requests, hide in a closet, or when I just can’t escape the noise in the house, turn on some peaceful, Christian music that will not only calm everyone, but bring my mind to the Lord.
Creating a quiet physical space is so much easier than quieting our minds! Our minds are constantly replaying our to do lists, troubles at hand, pressures, hurts… We also fill our minds with social media, tv, news… – we NEVER let it rest!
But God is not going to yell over all of that to speak to us! He wants us to be interested in listening to HIM, to sit at HIS feet – like Mary, even though we have a house full of guests and a mile long list of chores to do.
Growing up with six siblings (five brothers!!!), and now with six children of my own, there has been a LOT of noise! But I’ve always been able to find a quiet spot, outside or in a closet, where I could get alone with my Savior. Once I am alone in His presence, in order to really hear His voice, sometimes I may need to ask Him to help me forgive someone, or share a concern. I may need to give someone or something over to Him, as I have done all I could. After giving it all to Him, I find praising Him, either by writing down what I am thankful for or by song, always stills my mind a little and helps me focus on Him.
There is a passage that my husband and I often talk about in relation to our quiet time.
“And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.”Exodus 34:2-3
I feel we can use this command in our own lives when we go meet with the Lord. I see several practical steps He lays out for us that we can apply.
1.Be ready in the morning
God told Moses “be ready in the morning.” I do find my mind is most able to rest and listen to God if I’m able to get up earlier than everyone else. This isn’t always possible, but I try to as much as I can. But there are things we can do to prepare ourselves to rise earlier, like setting an alarm, getting to bed earlier – plan it in! Things may break this plan, but without a plan, it won’t happen.
2. Create a Space
He then says “unto mount Sinai.” Set aside a dedicated spot for your quiet time with God. Having that automatically can set your mind to focus on the Lord.
3. Come Alone – No distractions, No noise
He then told him to present himself – no one else with him. Just us and the Lord. No distractions, no phones, just you and the Lord. He ends with “neither let the flocks nor hearts feed before that mount.” Why? Because they are noisy! Sometimes if the kids are really noisy during our quiet time, my husband and I will joke that the cattle are lowing today! haha
Creating a quiet heart to hear God’s voice can be very challenging, but it is that still small voice that will carry us through whatever we face, and will give us strength to do whatever He asks us to do.