There comes a point when the daily grind becomes so monotonous that only time away can truly refresh the perspective. My break came during my recent trip to South Carolina, a place I am growing to love. Being away from home and my daily routine gave me time to think about life—nothing earth-shattering, just reflections on the last year.
During my first trip to South Carolina last year, the pastor at Coie’s church preached from 1 Thessalonians 4:11 on the Sunday I joined them. Coie now has a picture hanging in her dining room of flowers in a mason jar with the words of 1 Thessalonians 4:11 written beside them: “and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands…” Yesterday, the day after I came home, my dad preached from 1 Thessalonians 4:11. The timing of these sermons, my trips to South Carolina, and the opportunities to reflect was not lost on me.
The truth of Scripture, combined with the idyllic backdrop of South Carolina and the reinforcement when I got home, gave a fresh focus to my musings.
Minding my own business and working with my hands is not so much a struggle for me as aspiring to live quietly is. Discontentment, often cloaked as hopes and dreams, pushes this rebellious heart to be bold, make a statement, or do something wild. Living quietly seems too good, sounds too much like being a stick in the mud, and hints too much at becoming a wallflower.
But this is not true. Living quietly means I accept with joy and contentment the life the Lord has given me. I forsake visions of grandeur; I forsake all notions of self-importance; I forsake the world and its cares; I forsake frivolity.
Regrettably, I spend far too much time and concentration deliberating about the way my life looks—the job I have, the company I keep, the things I like. Truth is, I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and as a believer, my life is fundamentally and radically different from the world anyway and always. I can spend as much time as I want worrying how I look to the world, but I will never fit in. I can’t fit in. I should not seek to fit in.
God, in his love and grace, allowed this trip and the last to South Carolina to be woven with reminders to aspire to live quietly, to follow Christ and trust him. Whether it was the serenity of my surroundings or the break from the mundane, the Lord firmly impressed on me the importance of living quietly and being content. This is not the dedication of the rest of my life to the mundane or unexciting, but it is a matter of obedience. I must obey (and can do so boldly) because aspiring to live quietly is good and right and mandated by God.