I have been reflecting on quiet lately. Being hard of hearing is not quite as silent as you might think. My ears ring sometimes. With my hearing aids on, I hear lots of noises but I'm not always able to pick out specific sounds. Everything blurs into one mass of white noise. Sometimes turning my hearing aids off is a relief. Quiet becomes a safe place rather than a frightening one. Sometimes it's lonely, but at the same time, sometimes I need the lonely.
I've also been thinking about the quiet of my heart. A verse that keeps popping up in my life is 1 Thessalonians 4:11, but I'm big on context, so here's verses 9-12:
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
I grew up in a culture of Christianity that dreamed big things. If God called you to do something, it was going to be Big. And Awesome. And Everyone Would Take Notice. And if you weren't doing something Crazy, then maybe you weren't really a Christian. Or something. That's how I felt sometimes anyway.
I tend to expect Huge Things when I feel called to do something. Like if I feel called to, I don't know, make Rice Krispie treats for my neighbors, then I assume something Big is going to happen if I do. Like we'll be BFFs or conquer the world together or something. Or even with this blog, I confess I expect a lot out of it. I write here for a lot of reasons but mostly I write because I feel like that's a passion the Lord created in me. So sometimes I think that means that I have to say Amazing and Meaningful and Deep and Rock Your Face Off things ALL the time. Which is really very arrogant, unrealistic and exhausting!
I admit I'm tempted. I'm jealous sometimes of people who live what I call loud lives. Everyone knows their name. They do Great Things, like write books or lead seminars or preach sermons or heal bodies or feed the poor. I don't do these things. And I often battle the whisper of doubt that nags at me, "You're not good enough. You're not cool enough. Your life is not loud enough. You must not really love Jesus because you haven't rescued all the children in China."
But that verse keeps popping up. The truth is, I'm more at home living a quiet life. My place is behind those who are on the front lines, to pray for them and lift them up and serve them, so that they can do the Big Things. My job is to take care of kids so their parents can have a break. To type words to the internet so maybe somebody else somewhere else knows that they're not alone in their hearing aids. To be faithful to my work, honor my bosses and respect those in authority. To make the neighbors feel welcome. To be faithful to all the things in between. To aspire to live a quiet life.