Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Quiet Heart

I've recently been diving into the idea of "biblical womanhood" and what it means to be a woman of God right now - in the time and culture and place I live, and also in the season of life I'm in.

One theme that keeps emerging is that of "quietness" - often paired with the idea of gentleness and peace. I've really been struggling with this idea. Does it mean I have to literally be a quiet person? Because let's be honest - I'm just not. Sure, I went through that really shy, awkward stage as a teenager, when having to talk to someone at all was terrifying. And yeah, I am an introvert and I need my alone time. . . but none of this adds up to me being a quiet woman. In fact, around people I love and care for, I can be downright noisy (and sometimes even boisterous and obnoxious). And we have fun, and we talk and laugh and it builds our relationships.

So what is this business about living a quiet life? And how do I strive for that and pray for it to come about in my life? Here are some questions I've started asking myself on a regular basis, to help determine if my liife is marked by quietness, gentleness, and peace:

- Am I being loud, talking a lot, or telling personal stories only to gain attention for myself and be in the spotlight?
- Are my mind and heart "quiet"? Am I anxious, worried, stressed, etc?
- Do I take time to listen, to sit silently and just be present for my friends?
- How are my non-verbals? Is my tone of voice gentle? Is my posture and bearing one of peace, or am I being defensive, worried, withdrawn?
- Do I spend time each day in silence, listening to God? Do I take quiet time in His Word?

This is my starting point - not trying to change my personality, not trying to just be quiet for the sake of obedience, but in understanding what ways God calls me to a quiet life. He tells us that as women, we can "win over" those in our lives without words, but through behavior. Wow - what power there is in the "unfading beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit" (I Peter 3:4).

"My" Song: Lessons from Group Therapy (at Work)

At work, we do "group" with the girls - essentially, an hour of group therapy every day to help them come together and learn and grow together. Lately, we've been privileged to work with a music therapist! She does all sorts of neat stuff, from drum circles to composition tutorials to song analysis, and much more. I've gotten to participate with our clients, and the last two weeks, we've worked on song analysis. We were asked to bring a song to group that we felt like described us or our life.

Um, fun fact: there are so many songs. Like, in the world. That makes this a very difficult task! But I started by looking through some of my playlists, and found this one from growing up that I've always liked. When I looked up the lyrics, I knew it would be my choice for group.

Here is a link to listen to it: When I Go Down, Relient K

I'll tell you flat out
It hurts so much to think of this
So from my thoughts I will exclude
The very thing that
I hate more than everything is
The way I'm powerless
To dictate my own moods

I've thrown away
So many things that could've been much more
And I just pray
My problems go away if they're ignored
But that's not the way it works
No that's not the way it works

When I go down
I go down hard
And I take everything I've learned
And teach myself some disregard
When I go down
It hurts to hit the bottom
And of the things that got me there
I think, if only I had fought them

If and when I can
Clear myself of this clouded mind
I'll watch myself settle down
Into a place where
Peace can search me out and find
That I'm so ready to be found

I've thrown away
The hope I had in friendships
I've thrown away
So many things that could have been much more
I've thrown away
The secret to find an end to this
And I just pray
My problems go away if they're ignored
But that's not the way it works
No that's not the way it works

Any control I thought I had just slips right through my hands
While my ever-present conscience shakes its head and reprimands me
Reprimands me
Then and there
I confess
I'll blame all this on my selfishness

Yet you love me
And that consumes me
And I'll stand up again
And do so willingly

You give me hope, and hope it gives me life
You touch my heavy heart, and when you do you make it light
As I exhale I hear your voice
And I answer you, though I hardly make a noise
And from my lips the words I choose to say
Seem pathetic, but it's fallen man's praise
Because I love you
Oh God, I love you
And life is now worth living
If only because of you
And when they say that I'm dead and gone
It won't be further from the truth

When I go down
I lift my eyes to you
I won't look very far
Cause you'll be there
With open arms
To lift me up again
To lift me up again