Mark and I have a small sign in our home office that reads, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life” (1 Thess. 4:11). I often think of how differently modern culture would write this statement…
Make it your goal to live a loud life.
Make it your goal to live a big life.
Make it your goal to live a famous life.
It’s deeply reassuring to Mark and I as introverts that instead we’re invited to live a quiet life. Why does it seem there’s so much opposition to doing so?
In the book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, author and journalist Dan Harris meets with various people to talk about what keeps them from taking time for solitude and reflection. Some of the reasons he heard included…
“Opening yourself up to vulnerability is hard. It’s scary.”
“Some days I just don’t really care for being in my own head.”
I’m also doing an online life coaching course and yesterday the lesson was about the power, and great discomfort, of silence. The instructor, Kain Ramsay, wrote a statement on the board, “Try searching your heart and being silent. Even for just a minute. Not easy, is it?”
As an introvert, I thought, “Well, sometimes it is easy.” I find silence much simpler and more manageable than making small talk at a dinner party.
I mention all this because I often hear from fellow introverts who feel guilty for having or wanting a quiet life. But I had this ah-ha moment: Many people choose a loud life because quiet requires the courage to confront their own thoughts, hearts, and souls. In other words, a quiet life is not one of retreating but great courage.
It’s in the quiet that we often hear the whisper of God.
It’s in the quiet that we create, innovate, dream, plan.
It’s in the quiet that we realign with our truest selves.
It’s in the quiet that we have room to think about how to serve others.
It’s in the quiet that our inner wells are filled so we have more to pour out.
Certain seasons or situations can make actual physical quiet almost impossible. For example, we might be chasing toddlers, in the middle of a big project at work, or in social justice conversations that call for speaking up. In those cases, the goal can be learning to (slowly, imperfectly) cultivate quiet on the inside when we’re surrounded by noise.
Even in seasons and situations like these, a rhythm of quiet solitude can be helpful. That may mean scheduling quiet like an important meeting, sitting in our car for five minutes, or the introvert classic—briefly hiding in the bathroom.
Quiet moments aren’t selfish, instead they’re essential for a lifetime of loving and serving well.
So let’s never underestimate the power of a quiet life, one that doesn’t make headlines or get a million likes, looks ordinary on the surface, isn’t trendy or the next hot topic. If you, as a fellow introvert, have ever felt guilty for loving or pursuing quiet then it’s time for a change in perspective.
A quiet life is brave.
A quiet life is intentional.
A quiet life is revolutionary.
A quiet life is about value not volume.
A quiet life is a worthy, even holy, goal.
Cheering You On,
Author and Your Introvert Coach
If you’d like a sign like mine, you can print this one free…