Quiet as a core instead of a sanctuary {#wholemama}

  

“Lie down! You’re supposed to be sleeping!!”It has been the refrain of my days during naptime. if I’m lucky, it’s only the beginning little while. 

But today, on the day for quiet, ooh how it irks me, tromping has been the name of the game. 

during naptime. 

They tromped right out of their beds and were racing around the livng room in a mood of unmitigated premajor meltdown wildness. I would have been ok with this except for the slight fact that they couldn’t stop from talking to me and crashing into me as I sat innocently on the couch trying to catch my earned quiet moment. 

I took them to the ppool this morning in an effort to wear them down more then not, but alas. 

Wildness persists, and I am sitting with my iPad and keyboard in the doorway to their room barking, “Liedown!” in my most fiercely tired mommy voice every time I see their little whackamole heads popping up above their bedframes. 

This may or may not result in sleeping (after-note: it did! mercifully) but if it’s the way to get a semblace of somewhat quiet and get this blog post written, I’m down. 

And so are they.

——

Yesterday as I was mulling over the word “quiet” I realized I have a less than helpful relationship with the word,

It’s a tough word, full of expectations and desires and needs. This word has gotten me all worked up. I can’t get it all worked out at the moment, but quiet is something I’ve been struggling with on a variety of levels.

I seek quiet like a raging monster sometimes. I need these kid-free and request-free moments free to write. Or even just to read or to take a nap. During naptime this makes sense, but lately I am recoiling away from them for peace and quiet during their waking hours too. 

I want to be whole and full and happy, but my world is so loud these days. My one and a half year old has an ever exhuberant volume level that so far has yet to find a switch. My 3 year old just needs attention and doesn’t yet know the words to keep his sister off his back. and toys. and then also they are human and get violent when unattended. 

I wish I knew how to be a better mama, but the loud and not listening wears me down and cracks my surface of control. I can’t go on. I move to social media and books. 

In the quiet, but not in the quiet. 

Filling my head with other things for moments of escape.

—- 

I am beginning to wonder if my constant need to consume things is related to an uncomfortable relationship with the quiet in my head. Or maybe it’s the loud in my head. Or maybe it’s just being so accustomed to the loud of the online world. 

I have the inclination that quiet is a good thing to cultivate, but not in the the raging monster sort of way. 

I want a quiet that springs from the middle of who I am in a happy smile instead of the harried shrug (complete with crazy eyes) that speaks of constant want. A scarcity of quiet in a loud world. 

Maybe there’s a different quiet when your world is loud. Maybe a stillness we could call it. Maybe it comes from deeper places of knowing who you are and how God has put you here, empowered, for just this little life. Yours. Not the other person’s. 

Maybe quiet is an invitation away from the loud the world provides and into a quiet that is more peaceful. 

Admist my grasping after quiet, I seek to be heard. I want my voice to be listened to even though I am quiet and enjoy quiet.  

And this is the more nuanced problematic relationship with the word. The pieces will come together eventually, but here are some. 

I’ve adopted quiet as part of my personality, I’ve been described that way so often it just comes naturally. and so does quiet, and so I am. 

But. 

I get louder when my children don’t listen. I need to be heard and they don’t listen, so I go online where someone does. It’s a trigger. I’m quiet, but I’m not. An insecurity of voicelessness. 

And. 

“Women should be silent in the church” grates on my senses and leaves me gasping, stretching, and clawing my way back to my personhood. So I look for new ways and get louder, but quiet still. 

So.

One of my love languages is listening. 

If you’ll listen to me and engage in meaningful conversations with me while being generous with your wisdom and your story, I will love you forever. most likely. 

This is the kind of person I want to be when I grow up (because it seems that growing up is a forever process).

I want to be so secure in my own quiet core I can take in the words of others in meaningful ways. I want to be like my grandma, and my sister-in-law who bless my socks off with how they turn the conversations to things that matter. In real life. The things I am apt to gloss over in favor of avoiding risking my own sense of self and equanimity of the moment. 

Rejection juxtaposed with vulnerability.

it’s harder in real life, but I am too quiet sometimes. 

So, at the edge of all these musings, I wonder is quiet really an invitation to loud for me? At least what feels like loud to me right now?

I am left with questions still.

Is something of this realizing I am too quiet? And that quiet is not my inner state, simply moments instead of peaceful wholeness? How can I help my soul to bear the breaking volumes and enthusiasm of my children?

I need quiet to be whole, but I need to engage my world and my people.

Maybe quiet is an invitation to loud and generous. 

Maybe it’s a core of retreat to move out from instead of an overvalued sanctuary from overwhelm.

true quiet. 

joy quiet.

peace quiet.

—–

How does quiet feel to you?

—–

Link up with us or read more thoughts on quiet here (click the frog!) or at Esther’s (Don’t miss her interview with Micha Boyett!):

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19 thoughts on “Quiet as a core instead of a sanctuary {#wholemama}

  1. Listening is a love language, isn’t it? A spiritual discipline, too, in a way. It teaches us to explore the benefits of quiet as a way to create space for others or for the Spirit. It’s one of those things for me that when practiced, I often find my need to insert my will into a conversation just slips away and I’m at peace with hearing and being instead of weighed down with the need to be doing or saying something/anything. It’s good for us to love ourselves through the language of listening, too. This is why journaling/writing is so important to me. Thanks for sharing you thoughts.

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  2. Such a good post, Erika. I think scrolling through social media fills our minds in a way that, rather than providing true quiet, simply fills up those important empty spaces that give our thoughts room to breathe. I’ve been doing less and less of it, especially in the morning as it seems to set the wrong tone for my day.

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  3. I love your many musing words. :) And on another note, our (almost) three year old has pretty much given up on naps, except when he falls asleep in the car during that time. Just today I reinstated quiet time ala the GATE at the door. Pure magic, even if it wasn’t AS quiet. :)

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    1. Haha! Yes! We totally did that for awhile too when we had our two in different rooms, but now they share in preparation for our 3rd and naptimes are more complicated since the one year old still needs them.. Oh and my 3yo can now take down the gate. O.o easily.

      We might have to consider separate napping/enforced alone time locations at some point though. These threenager’s are tough! Two was easy. :)

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  4. I think you’re on to something, with that uncomfortable relationship with the quiet in your head. That’s right where the contradiction is for me, too. I want quiet as long as it is going to be all peace and little self-awareness…but the core kind of quiet is both, peace that comes through integrity, which is also self-awareness. I love that you’re processing all this!

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  5. I love this. For so many reasons. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably, so real. I wish I could say, I don’t do that. I don’t seek quiet away from my littles during the day. But I do. I get tired of the noise, of the crazy. And just as you said, seek out a place where people actually listen to me. Where I can be heard. Thank you for the reminder. For the challenge. And for sharing, me too.

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  6. “Maybe it’s a core of retreat to move out from instead of an overvalued sanctuary from overwhelm.” I think that is the key. If we can have that peace in our inner core, then it is easier to meet the loud, rambunctious, overwhelm of what it means to be a mother. We do need times of quiet to establish that inner core, but if we are open to see and snatch those gifts of quiet that come sometimes in short spurts, we can use them to keep ourselves grounded with that peace that comes from deep within, that peace that we know in our spirit that comes from God. Thanks for your thoughts, Erika. Your words take me back to when mine were young and I had those same struggles.

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