On summer mornings, back when pigtails were my hairstyle of choice, I’d steal away under the green canopy of our backyard oak to my black tire swing. I’d climb in and turn slow circles under the tree, making dirt patterns with my feet. In the quiet, my mind was free.
It’s always been there for me, that draw to quiet. Staring out the car window on a road trip with my family, I’d notice the quiet stream with its perfect sitting rocks dotting the water. At church camp, as my cabin group traipsed along the trail, my attention lifted toward the grassy patch tucked next to a small waterfall.
I was drawn to the places where quiet called. Though I didn’t have words for it, I think I could sense God’s closeness, even then.
As I grew older, though, I discovered the pull of striving. Striving offered far more tangible rewards than being still. Performing in academics and extracurriculars led to applause and achievement and award. This shiny new idol served me so well that the days of the tire swing felt foolish and indulgent.
The thing with performing and striving is that it can grow into a monster. Checked boxes brought peace only until more boxes appeared. Productivity was supposed to mean success—except it never stopped. The goal, the prize, the payoff kept moving. I was tired. I began to see striving’s limits.
I remembered that I once found something greater in the quiet places. I began to allow myself to feel the pull again, and sure enough, it was still there.
That draw to quiet was still calling to my soul.
I began to re-learn what I think I knew in those tire swing days: When I choose to sit in the quiet, I meet the loud of His presence. Getting quiet with Him is what quiets the striving.
In the quiet, I find that His peace holds me steady above the clanging of the world.
In the quiet, I encounter a Hope that muffles the unsettled places.
In the quiet, His holy whisper replaces the world’s empty applause.
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).