In the Quiet Place

Often when we speak of a quiet place we refer to serene scenes by a lake or a cozy nook next to a warm fire. Rarely would we describe wind or pouring rain or storms as being quiet places.

When we think of quiet moments we think of ourselves alone with a book or our Bible. We don’t usually associate huge crowds or the hustle and bustle of dredging out a life as quiet moments.

But I wonder if more people aren’t in their own private quiet place in the midst of swirling winds and expanding crowds.

Think about the last time you sat in an emergency room with a sick loved one or friend or your daily commute on mass transit. Didn’t you seclude yourself into your own quiet place even in the midst of the chaos around you? And wasn’t everyone else doing the same?

We are encouraged, even commanded to retreat to our closets and be quiet before the Lord (Matthew 6:6.) Jesus retreated often to a quiet place to pray and commune with His Father (Matthew 14:23). It is important for us to have the quiet place and to visit there often. It refreshes us. It shores us up. It renews heart, soul and mind.

The question is and the Love One Another Challenge this week is…

Do we actually retreat into various shapes and sizes of quiet places when we should not?

Are we supposed to be so self-absorbed and guarded that we do not see and do not care about the hurting and dying world around us? Jesus retreated to His quiet place after long hours of engaging and investing in peoples lives every day. I think modern day believers are much better at taking their quiet places with  them wherever they go so they won’t have to notice and impact lives.

Is it possible the modern believer has made an idol of his/her “personal space?”

I hold no claim to living outside my personal space. I confess I value it (translation; I idolize it) a great deal. The result is I miss so much.

I miss the check out clerk who looks weary and could use a kind word and a smile.

I miss the mom juggling three kids and a dozen shopping bags who could use a hand with the door.

I miss the lady sitting right next to me in church who dabs her eyes more than once during the closing hymn.

But, God has taken His two-edged sword and patiently clipped away my personal space. At first it was really…really scary and I kept scurrying back to my shrinking take-a-long personal space (quiet place.) And God would shoo my out again. This has been a long arduous process, but I am so thankful God remained (and remains) faithful in giving me courage to do away with this idol.

The result?

My days are more meaningful; full of smiles and laughter and, yes, some tears. But, my days matter! Isn’t that we all want? The legacy we want to leave; that our days mattered?

And my nights? Well, I sleep much more soundly. Why? Because after a full day outside of my own space, I retreat to the true quiet place with my Lord where I am calmed and restored.

The Challenge…
This week ask God to shrink your personal space and open your eyes to those around you. People trudging through wind and pouring rain and desperately wishing they weren’t alone in their portable quiet place.

photo credit: VinothChandar via photopin cc

Laughter is Good Medicine!

Life has been a tad bit stressful for many of us recently.

So in honor of the theme of this week’s posts…

Did you hear the one about…

I did hear that one. It was kind of funny. But, the one about the dog…

Ha! That one just kills me every time. It’s so funny!

Hey now! No dog jokes! This is a canine friendly site.

Quit your belly aching, Mutt! We serpents take all the abuse!

[Photo Credit in order of Photo Presentation)

(photo credit: Bill Gracey via photopin cc)

(photo credit: netzanette via photopin cc)

(photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar via photopin cc)

(photo credit: Christmas w/a K via photopin cc)
(photo credit: Utpalendra Kumar Deka via photopin cc)

Alone?

By Elaine Baldwin | @elainehbaldwin

My son recently passed a critical field test in his Marine Infantry Officer Training. This field test was unique in that each man had to complete the approximately eighteen hours alone. They were not allowed to ask for directions or help or ask the Captain of a particular check point to rephrase his instructions. Each obstacle and challenge had to be successfully completed without any assistance. And there were very few indicators given to the men as to how well or poorly they were doing. It was only at the end when the names of who did not pass were read that anyone dared give a sigh of relief.

I asked my son if the rest of the training would be done in isolation like this. He responded, “Oh no. There is no way we’ll ever make it through the next twelve weeks or a battle without help from each other. This was just to test us individually so we know we can do it on our own if we are ever separated from our unit. But now we must be one cohesive team of Marines.” And he added, “The goal is to never be separated from your unit.”

That got me thinking. How often do I get separated from my unit (those within my circle)? And how often am I the one who chooses to be separated? How often do I make the choice to do life alone? How often do I make the choice to back away from someone so they have to do life alone?

We are not meant to be separated from those around us and go at life alone.

God designed us to embrace life with others.

So this week’s One Another Living Challenge is to do life with others. Be intentional about it. Look for ways to help others and for them to help you.

It may be a phone call or letter to someone. Or it may be a quick hug before AWANA starts. Or it may be walking a dog or feeding a cat. Or it may just be hanging out together. However God shows you to do life with others this week, do it. I know some of God’s leading may be scary, but usually those are the most rewarding when we step out and do them.

How can you do life with someone this week?
photo credit: WilliamMarlow via photopin cc