I collapsed into bed, expecting to fall asleep in 15 seconds flat, but anxious thoughts kept me wakeful. I’d just seen a text reminding me of one more thing I needed to do. Now instead of drifting off to sleep, my mind raced to plan my already loaded schedule. The room was silent, but my thoughts were loud. How could I find inner quiet?
Anxious thoughts crowd peace out of our minds and hearts.
A busy schedule can put your mind in overdrive trying to plan how to get everything done. Trouble and disappointment can send your thoughts on a downward cycle of worry and fretting.
Three months ago, I started a full-time job I love, but learning new rhythms has brought increased stress to my life. How to care for my family, home, job, writing ministry, and my own soul at the same time?
I need a way to quiet the voices in my own head, so I can draw near to Jesus and hear His voice. Maybe you do too.
Let’s look together at God’s Word:
Remember the story of Elijah and the gentle whisper? Queen Jezebel wanted to kill him, so Elijah fled for his life. Exhausted after a 40-day journey, he hid in a cave when God spoke to him. The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” (1 Kings 19:11). When Elijah went out to wait for God’s presence, a powerful wind, an earthquake, and a blazing fire passed by, but the Lord was not in any of those.
At last came a gentle whisper.
Through that soft voice, the Lord spoke to Elijah and gave him the direction he needed for his next steps.
You’re probably not experiencing wind, earthquakes, or fires around you, but you might have them inside your head. It’s hard to hear God’s whisper when we’re fretting over things we can’t control or endlessly stressing over all we need to do.
I’m learning I need to quiet not only the noise of the world around me, but also the loud voice inside my own head.
Two things are helping me tame my anxious thoughts.
1. Instrumental Worship Music
During my commute to work, I usually listen to podcasts, but I realized they were just adding to the noise in my head. I started listening to instrumental worship music instead, and my stressful commute has changed into a lovely time to pray over my day and connect with God. As I pray over my worries, Jesus gives me a renewed sense of peace and calm.
2. Simpler Quiet Time
This may sound crazy, but my quiet time was turning into a marathon sprint to keep up with two different Bible studies. Instead of seeking to hear God’s voice, I was racing to fill in all the blanks!
So I let the Bible studies go.
I decided to go back to my simple “Word for the Day” quiet time, and it has been a life-giving change.
Now each morning, I read a short Bible passage and ask God to speak to me. I choose one verse from the passage to write out and one word to remember that day. Then I write out a simple one-sentence prayer. (You can learn more about simple quiet time ideas in my book, More of God.)
I start the day on a more settled note, trusting I’ve heard God speak to me.
Jesus calms anxious thoughts when we quiet ourselves and draw near to Him.
I’m learning to tame my anxious thoughts with a little quiet. Of course, I haven’t totally banished worry and stress from my mind, but I’m making progress. What about you? Do you need more quiet in your day? How about turning on some music that calms your soul or turning to the Word of God for a few quiet moments with Jesus?
Now it’s your turn: How could you make room for a little more quiet in your day? Do one of these ideas appeal to you?
Need ideas on how to get more out of your quiet time? I wrote More of God: A Distracted Woman’s Guide to More Meaningful Quiet Times to help overwhelmed and distracted women recover a fresh sense of God’s presence, learn to hear His voice, and grow their prayer lives. Click on the image below for more info:
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