My home is lit with candles, placed sporadically atop pieces of our mismatched furniture. I'm sitting, looking out our opened sliding glass door. The leaves are turned upside down on this gray morning, rustled every so often with a bustling breeze, telling of storms to come later today.
Quiet. It's my favorite sound ever. Not silence, just quiet. The birds chirping to each other outside. The sound of the washer swooshing our laundry. The absence of mind clutter, which takes a little more intention (denying the junk-food-snacking urge to gobble up our social media things - and then compare ourselves, sometimes mercilessly or judgmentally, to the images of others' lives). In our homes, in our hearts, we always have the option of creating peace places. The same attitude with which we approach a getaway, we can approach our daily lives, our homes. We all know it can't be all vacation or all quiet all the time, but I think we too often forego any peace at all in leui of the burdensome "I have to" mindset. I have to fold all of our mountains of laundry. I have to answer 100 emails. I have to run a million errands today. I have to do more than I can actually do and maintain sanity. I say this as if I'm good at it... I am not.
A sweet woman in my life began a practice some time ago of starting her day with listening. You know those moments between first rousing and actually stepping foot to the floor? They can be filled with all sorts of things. These first fruits of our day can be the pacemaker of peace in our days, if used with life-giving (not "I have to...") intention. She would greet God, and then listen. She would write what she heard. Whatever she heard in her heart, whatever Scripture came to mind, whatever she felt was pressing on her heart - which was the Lord speaking still and soft as He does - she would write down. But only, actually, for 10 minutes.
Sometimes I think we believe we need an overhaul of our lives to create the kind of lifestyle or atmosphere we truly desire. But I believe that, more often than not, it's just a series of small intentional actions that we can start to implement in our lives that will create sustainable change in the direction we want to go. Small changes can be the hardest. We like overhauls because they pump us up, we get hype, and hype is an easy wave to coast on... until it tuckers out. It's easier to endeavor to just change it all, the whole kit and caboodle all at once, than to make small, sustainable changes over time. We think we will get more immediate change or gratification, when what we really get is the disappointing crash. Crash diets versus gradual additions of colors into our meals. "I'm gonna read the Bible in a year!" versus I am going to read my Bible at all, even for 5 minutes, for each day for a week. Then when we do crash, we feel worse for the wear because we "couldn't do it." We couldn't keep it up. OR our goals become our slave-drivers, instead of the changes we wanted in order to give us more. More peace, more time with our family, more health, more joy... whatever our hearts were longing for in the first place out of need. Satan loves the crash, because he loves watching us kick ourselves around. He uses hype, because he doesn't like when we actually make changes that uproot easy footing for him in our lives.
I endeavor to make the small, hard changes. To give 10 minutes or 5 minutes or 2 minutes of my day to listen and let that be a pace-setter of the heart behind the rest of my day. I endeavor to have grace for myself and for others. Whatever goals I have for this coming month, I want to come from a place a peace, from the Holy Spirit of the Living God. I have enough stuff in my life, enough voices wrangling for time and attention, and sometimes the best place to start is just sitting in the quiet.
april in instaphotos