Wednesday, June 5, 2013

a quiet heart is a humble heart {how to keep a quiet heart: Part 2}

Lately, I’ve been exploring how to keep a quiet heart.  

I’ve been trying to protect pockets of quiet in my day.  Early mornings.  Naptime.  An hour in the evening.  Strategically trying to use those pockets of quiet to connect with Jesus, instead of scrambling to get one more post online or finish downloading the latest episode of Survivor.  

I’ve been practicing awareness of the presence of Jesus, trying to stay mindful of the fact that He really is with me every moment.  I’ve been trying to weigh down the moment with being all here, instead of letting my mind flee ahead into my to-do lists or stacked-up agendas.

It’s really hard.  It takes a discipline I don’t have yet to consistently choose Jesus and quietness over scramble and flurry.  A lot of days, I don’t succeed.  (And I’m noticing those are the days I feel scattered, frustrated and discouraged by bedtime.)

This afternoon, I’m teetering on the edge of resentment that my precocious five-year-old couldn’t doze just a little longer so I could have some uninterrupted writing time.  He woke up at the slightest rustle of noise, right as I was lighting a candle and sinking down into my writing chair, to come and ask me the inevitable, pleading question: “Will you play with me?” 

I had just sat down to write this post.  I wanted to explore this quote I found a while ago by Andrew Murray:

“Humility is perfect quietness of heart.  It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me.  It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised.  It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a sea of deep calmness, when all around and above is trouble.” 

-Andrew Murray, Humility

Humility means to expect nothing.

When I start expecting things to go my way, my quietness of heart is ruffled.  Inevitably, my demands aren’t met.  My expectations are shattered.  It’s actually unrealistic and selfish to demand that I have my cake and eat it too: that I should get to rest on my bed for half an hour, and then have some uninterrupted time to write as well.  

Murray defines “humility” as “perfect quietness of heart.”  Does that mean that perfect quietness of heart requires humility?  

Could I reverse that definition to discover a humble heart is one of the roads to a quiet heart?

It’s Sunday, which means Daddy is home and theoretically available.  Feeling slightly guilty (for sending my interruption on to my husband), and also slightly justified (since Daddy wants to spend more time with the boys on the weekends anyway), I send Will out to the veranda where Daddy is relaxing,...

A little uneasy, but doggedly determined to hang on to my expectations for the afternoon, I make myself a cup of tea and sit back down at the computer to keep writing.  I pick up this little book of Andrew Murray’s again, its pages chock-full of sentences that cut straight past all my fluffed-up reasons and excuses.  Like this one, which my eyes fall on:

“Pride must die in you, 
or nothing of heaven can live in you.”   

Andrew Murray, Humility


I can hear Will resignedly playing with Ruby out on the veranda.  My hubby is goodnaturedly downloading another game for Will’s Leappad, and Will has momentarily let go of his desire to play with me...  

Suddenly, it hits me.  It’s my lossI lose, by not accepting his invitation to play.  I lose time with him that I can never get back again.  These words I’m so committed to writing down can be written another day, and if they’re no longer in my mind maybe they weren’t worth writing anyway.  

Regardless, writing down words cannot be more important than time with my son.

It’s my arrogance that thinks my agenda for the afternoon is more important, more valuable, more worthwhile than God’s agenda for me: which includes time with my son.

Without another word, I quietly click Save and close my computer.  I make my husband a cup of tea like mine and carry both mugs out to the veranda with a tin of snacks and a pack of UNO cards.  I sit down on the floor with Will and Ruby, and I spread out the UNO cards.  

Will’s face lights up.

My heart’s a little humbler.  And a little quieter.  It feels good.



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