I will probably never be accused of being quiet. It was one of the things that really bothered my dad. He was always telling me to turn down my volume. He made a point to remind me to be quieter whenever I went out or to someone’s home. I laugh loud. I talk loud. I am just loud. So it was really hard for me to grasp what Paul was saying to the Thessalonians: 11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life (4:11, NLT). In terms of Myers-Briggs, I’m an ESFP. I have ADD. So I’m an extrovert, who thinks out loud, and acts impulsively. How am I supposed to live a quiet life?
Just as shalom, peace, is not merely the absence of conflict, quiet is more than just the absence of noise. In a small but insightful book, “Nurturing Silence in a Noisy Heart”, Dr. Wayne Oates points out that the noise of daily life can keep one from listening to, and attending to, the whispers which are truly important. Ken Gire picks up on the same theme in his book on the reflective life: “The reflective life is a life that is attentive, receptive, and responsive to what God is doing in us and around us (p. 11, The Reflective Life).”
Keeping those thoughts in mind, I can begin to believe that a quiet life is achievable for even me. It also reminds me of one of my favorite parts of the Christmas story. Having just delivered the baby Jesus, laying in a stable surrounded by shepherds, being serenaded by angels, Mary held it all as treasure and pondered them in her heart. Mary demonstrated the reflective and quiet life. Will we be attentive and reflective or busy and noisy? The quiet life awaits.