Keeping a Quiet Life in an Anything but Quiet Society

      “But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead
a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need”
1 Thessalonians 4:10– 12

       The idea to have a quiet life is cemented in a passage that starts with love (1 Thessalonians 4:9–10). Love is patient and kind according to 1 Corinthians 13:4. It is hard to be patient and kind when you are running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It is hard to fulfill your duties of wife, mother, keeper of your home, etc. when you are busy everywhere else. It is hard to speak truth to your children when you are constantly out and about and in public. It is hard to be in various ministries for Christ when you’re committed to too many things. A quiet life is an attitude, mindset, calling, and demeanor of a wise, daughter of the King, intent on living deliberately as an example of Christ. A quiet heart lives out James 1:19: “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.”
      Paul draws our minds to this truth again in Ephesians 5:15–16: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” And as 1 Timothy 2:1–4 puts it, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
     In Keep a Quiet Heart Elisabeth Elliot writes, “Jesus slept on a pillow in the midst of a  raging storm. How could He? The terrified disciples, sure that the next wave would send them straight to the bottom, shook Him awake with rebuke. How could He be so careless of their fate? He could because He slept in the calm assurance that His Father was in control. His was a quiet heart. We see Him move serenely through all the events of His life–when He was reviled, He did not revile in return. When He knew that He would suffer many things and be killed in Jerusalem, He never deviated from His course. He had set His face like flint. He sat at supper with one who would deny Him and another who would betray Him, yet He was able to eat with them, willing even to wash their feet. Jesus in the unbroken intimacy of His Father’s love, kept a quiet heart.”
     Matthew Henry said, “It is the most desirable thing to have a calm and quiet temper, and to be of a peaceable and quiet behavior. This tends much to our own and others’ happiness; and Christians should study how to be quiet. We should be ambitious and industrious how to be calm and quiet in our minds, in patience to possess our own souls, and to be quiet towards others; or of a meek and mild, a gentle and peaceable disposition, not given to strife, contention, or division. Satan is very busy to disquiet us; and we have that in our own hearts that disposes us to be disquiet; therefore let us study to be quiet.”
     This is not personality and cheerfulness; this is demeanor and peaceableness. The God who commands the wind and waves to obey Him rules our every moment (Mark 4:41). From the inside out we are resolute in His sovereign plan for our lives; this is where this peaceable demeanor comes from! Psalm 46 is our guide; even if the world around us falls apart or melts, we are called to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). This is our anchor and obedience in every storm.

How Can You Keep a Quiet Life?

1. Are you maintaining a steady trust in God’s sovereign control over life, or do you still try hard to control your life? Evaluate your view of trials and you’ll know if you are trusting in God or self. If you spend more time dwelling on “If only” rather than “Yes, Lord,” then you may have great need to work on trusting God (James 1:2-8).

2. Be very careful about how many outside activities you are involved in as a mom with young children. Your family and home need you more than those outside your four walls during these heavy training years. Also be careful about inside work and hobbies. Are there any activities in your life that need to be removed for your heart and life to be peaceable, and to allow breathing room in your family life to keep first things first (Romans 12:18)?

3. Evaluate together with your husband, how many outside activities your kids are involved in. Kids don’t need to be at every activity known to man. They do need family and church. They need to learn to work and that they aren’t the center of the universe. They need faithful discipline, which can’t always happen well in public. There are great things your family can do together for fun, family bonding, faithful examples to the world and in training for adulthood, but carefully evaluate the long-term commitments or costs both in time and money ( 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12).

4. Don’t try to be everybody else. The comparison game is a joy-killer (Galatians 5:26).

5. Evaluate what season of life you are in.  As kids get older and your season changes you may have new and different opportunities, especially in church ministry (Galatians 5:13)!

6. Allow ample quiet time for spiritual disciplines and spiritual growth above other commitments. This applies to both your own heart, and the example that your family sets in the world. Can the world see what is most important to your family (1 Peter 2:2–3)?

7. Evaluate your time spent on social media. How many hours do you spend a day? A week? Do you need to set limits for yourself in this area (Psalm 90:12)?

8.  If you have other requirements or work in your life that do keep you on the run, remember that God is fully aware of these pressures in your life. Entrust your heart to Him and work with your husband or an older woman on how to streamline your life to keep a quiet heart (Proverbs 3:5–7).