In case you haven't heard, this weekend is National Day of Unplugging, a day created to challenge people to walk away from their devices for 24 hours. While it sounds easier, there are many who struggle going just one hour without their iPad, phone, or other electronic devices. We are definitely connected to our devices and that is not a healthy thing. I read this quote from Elisabeth Elliot and chose to included it in the Spring 2022 magazine. Mrs. Elliot said:
The devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds. He will not allow quietness.
Let those words settle in your mind. Satan is not our friend, everything he does is meant to keep us from doing what is right and good. He has had a long time to study man and discover the things that will prevent us from deepening our relationship with God. A large part of that is noise, hurry, and crowds. Why? Because all of those things prevent us from being still and knowing God. Remember what I said before. We can only know God in the stillness, there is no other way.
We Run from the Silence
Sadly instead of embracing the moments of silence we run from them. Think about it. What is the first thing you do in the morning? Reach for your phone to check for messages and browse social media? Do you turn on the radio or listen to a podcast when you get in the car? When you come home do you turn on the TV or call a friend? Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this, but if we do this to block out the silence all the time it might be. Why do we work so hard to avoid the silence, what drives us toward the noise and away from the quiet? I believe it is because we fear it. Silence forces us to listen, to face our true selves and we dread that confrontation. Perhaps this is why God tells us in Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God”. Real change cannot happen until we learn to linger in the silence because it is in the quiet place that we truly become who we are meant to be. Why? Because it is where we meet with God and He has the opportunity to speak His truth, His purpose, and His reflection into our hearts and minds. This principle is vital for us to grasp because it comes from the One who created us, the One who knows what we need to do in order to deepen our relationship with Him. The first step in knowing Him is to dwell in the quiet place, free from distractions so that our heart can be ready to learn about Him.
Free from Distractions
Satan also knows the secret of the quiet place which is why he works so hard to distract us. There is nothing he loves more than a distracted Christian. Remember the three things? Noise. Hurry. Crowds.
Noise is everywhere, you almost can’t escape it. Music blaring in grocery stores, dings from text messages, and even videos running when you pump gas. We are bombarded everyday with noise and it can keep us from the quiet place.
Crowds are another distraction, lots of people gathered together in one place often means you can barely hear yourself talk let alone think.
While hurry is not necessarily something you would include on a noisy list, it is one that goes on the distraction list. When our day is too full we will miss out on the quiet place as well. We spend our time rushing from one event or errand to the next never realizing that we forgot to spend time with the Lord.
These three things that Satan likes to monopolize can be overcome with the same tool, intentionality. To escape the noise you must be intentional about turning it off. To leave the hurry behind you must be intentional about hitting the pause button. To avoid the crowds you must be intentional about walking away when necessary. Jesus gives us this example, on many occasions He walked away from the crowds so He could be alone with His Father. It is not wrong to step away from people for a time, in fact, you could say it is necessary to refill our tank, our spirit by spending time with God.
To enter the quiet place, we must be intentional, it is up to us to carve out that daily time to be still so that we can begin to know our God. To know someone means you spend time with them and God Himself invites us to know Him. How amazing is this. We have the privilege to come into His very presence, that is what happens when we sit still. Our God longs for us to know Him, but He will never demand or shout to get our attention. He speaks in a still small voice which is easily lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Preparing for the quiet place.
So how can we prepare ourselves to be in the quiet place? First is intentionality, second is to remove the distractions such as your phone, music, and television. I know that it is hard to resist checking your phone when you see it light up from a text or email notification so consider placing your phone somewhere else. Music and television can easily distract us as well which is why they need to be turned off or choose a location that is quiet.
Personally, I enjoy sitting in my favorite, comfortable chair in my room with my tall floor lamp beside me. It is a quiet environment that allows me to stay focused on what I am studying. Creating a place where you can go and spend that time with the Lord is important so I encourage you to find a corner of your own. It can even be outside, sometimes being surrounded by God’s creation is the perfect setting for your time with Him.
A Final Ingredient
I believe there is one more ingredient for being in the quiet place and that is reception, and I am not talking about the phone, but our heart. God tells us to be still so we can know Him. We cannot know Him until we are receptive, a willingness to change. Change can only happen when we allow it, when we let truth penetrate our heart and mind, then we will begin to alter our behavior and our thinking habits. This is another reason Satan wants to keep us from the quiet place because he knows its power. He will do all that is necessary to hinder our ability to be still, even if he has to portray it as a place of dread.
But it is the exact opposite, it is the place where our soul finds the rest it is seeking because we meet God there. I will warn you, you need to be prepared to face some resistance. Satan will do what he can to disturb our ability to have those quiet moments. For instance, as I was trying to prepare for this, my cat, which is usually well-behaved, decided it was the perfect time to run around, and make a lot of noise plus a neighbor's dog chose to howl and there were a lot more vehicles driving through my relatively quiet neighborhood. All of this noise was quite this distraction for me as I was trying to collect my thoughts about being still! As they say, the struggle is real, but I will add that the reward is great when we choose to persevere.
Take a step away from your devices
For those who are curious about National Day of Unplugging or wondering why I even mentioned it. I believe that our technology has become a big stumbling block in our ability to sit still. We are often more connected to it than to those around us and especially God. I have heard it said that if we treated our Bibles like we do our phones we would see more growth in ourselves. That is a true statement. Can I encourage you to consider taking this 24-hour challenge? If you find yourself struggling to put your phone down for 24 hours you might want to reexamine your attachment to it. God made us to connect with real people and with Himself, not to a bunch of screens. Take that break and choose to spend it differently. Here are some wonderful ideas:
Remember, dwelling in the quiet place is essential and requires us to be intentional, remove the distractions, and be receptive to what the Lord wants to teach us. Lean into the stillness, don’t be afraid of it, and I promise when you do it will bless and refresh your soul in ways you never knew where possible.
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I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.