Does Quietness Scare You?

After living in a family with both parents and my three brothers, going to college and living in a dorm full of girls, and then getting married and having a family with four daughters, quietness was something that hit me hard after Bob went to heaven and I moved into a house to live all alone for the very first time in my life.

I moved from a world of busyness to a total and complete quietness that was frightening.  That silence has stripped away all pretenses and masks.  Henri Nouwen says it well when he said, “It seems that a person who is caught up in all that noise has lost touch with the inner self.  The questions that are asked from within remain unanswered.  Unsure feelings are not cleared up, tangled desires are not straightened out, and confusing emotions are not understood.  All that remains is a chaotic tumble of feelings which have never had a chance to be sorted out. When there is no one to talk to or to listen to, an interior discussion may start up–often noisier than the noise we just escaped.  Many unsolved problems demand attention; one care forces itself upon the other; one complaint rivals the next, all pleading for a hearing.  Sometimes we are left powerless in the face of the many twisted sentiments we cannot untangle.”

This is exactly what I have been going through for the last four years. All of those questions from within that began clamoring for a hearing were very overwhelming at times to the point that I thought I might be going crazy. That was when I knew that I needed professional counseling to help me sort out each thing one at a time and deal with it in the right way.  My personality is such that when I am faced with things, I want to immediately take care of it all.  But, that has not been the way that God has worked in me.  He has made me slow down.  As I can handle it, He continues to bring one thing at a time to light.  He gave me the time and the quietness I need to just sit and process without interruption.  I believe that many of the diversions in our lives — some that we look for in the things outside us — is an attempt to avoid confronting what is going on inside.

Henri Nouwen again says, “To be calm and quiet by yourself means being fully awake and following with close attention every move going on inside of you.  If requires the discipline to recognize the urge to get up and go as a temptation to look elsewhere for what is really close at hand.  It offers the freedom to stroll through your own inner yard and to rake up the leaves and clear the paths so you can easily find the way to your heart.  Perhaps there will be fear and uncertainty when you first come upon this ‘unfamiliar territory,’ but slowly and surely you will discover an order and a familiarity which deepens your longing to stay at home with yourself.”

Can you picture yourself having the courage to face your real self inside and taking all the time you need to clear up all of those inner cobwebs that have become so thick that you have to literally rip them apart?  In a way I was forced to do that.  It was nothing that I would have ever dreamed that I needed to do.  It was just so much more comfortable to stay in those familiar rooms with boxes stacked to the ceiling and only a tight pathway to walk from room to room.  But, now I can say that it is so much more freeing and totally cleansing to face down everything inside, open each box one at a time and discard the contents, uncover the windows, wash them until they are sparkling clean so that the sunshine can come flooding in, and wash the floors of your heart until they are shining.  Is it hard?  Oh yes!  It’s tremendously hard and so very painful.  It also takes a lot of time.  Is it worth it? YES!  YES!  YES! It is worth it all!!  Are the rooms of my heart completely emptied and swept clean?  Not yet.  I would venture to say that it will be a continuing work in progress.

Can you stand to be alone from time to time with your eyes shut pushing aside all of the noises and just sitting calmly and quietly? Will you have the courage to face your inner self so that the real YOU can be revealed in all of the glory that God designed you to be?

The Construction of My Design

After the death of my husband I sold our home out in the country and moved into a new home in town close to one of my brothers and two of my daughters. There were two changes inside the house that I considered making, but just never had peace about doing them.

In the last six weeks two new family members have been added – two beautiful grandsons. My oldest daughter is in the process of rearranging her home to accommodate her mother-in-law. I again began to think about those changes here in my home and after getting an estimate and counseling with my financial adviser, the work has begun to add a bathroom to the 2nd story and finish a large bedroom/den type area that will make more room when my other two out of state daughters and their families come to visit.

As I am observing the process of this kind of construction, I am seeing the order of each step of the process that has to be taken in order for everything to be completed correctly. The Lord is pointing out to me that this is how the story of my life is working.

The electrician comes to install the wiring. The homeowner looks at the room along with the contractor and the electrician to get a feel for how the furnishings in the room will be laid out in the future. The electrician can then decide according to code where each outlet and light fixture can be installed. He completes those installations. Work then stops so that the inspector can come inspect the work to make sure it is up to code and just right. Until he signs off on that completed work, nothing else can be done. Should he find mistakes have been made, then the electrician must go back, correct those mistakes, and go through another inspection.

Before I was born, God had a design plan for the construction of my life. Step by step He works on that design. But in that process I have a free will to make choices and decisions in my life. When I am unsure of decisions I need to make, my heavenly Inspector comes along to show me what is wrong and how to make it right. Once I make those corrections to the course of my life then everything works in harmony together creating something beautiful.

How carefully God works on my life to make it lovely. At times there is construction that entails hard work with hours of clean up afterwards.

I look back at the life of my husband and all the steps God took to complete his design. No matter what happened, Bob always stayed focused on God. During the last few months and especially the last few weeks of his life, that focus was even more pronounced to the point where I felt a disconnection from Bob. That disconnection hurt for a long time until I realized that it was necessary for me to decrease so that God could increase as the end of his days drew near. After all, it’s really ALL about God.

My heart is so thankful that the construction of my life is being done by the Master Designer. I can be assured that I am not going through the process alone without guidance. If I make a mistake, my Inspector will come alongside me, show me exactly what needs to be corrected, take a look at my corrections helping me to get them just right and then say “Well done, Candy!” All I have to do is focus on Him the very best that I can knowing that He loves me no matter how imperfect I am.