The Spirit of Stillness
I just got into Birmingham after a long drive north. The only sound I hear is the tapping of this keyboard, my grand-kitty playing with a toy in the floor and the air conditioning. Thank the Lord for air conditioning, kittens and laptops. But for the purposes of this post, I thank Him most for silence.
As I am re-reading this chapter from Emilie Barnes’, The Spirit of Loveliness,
Solitude is for Me
I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for this book. I remember, when my children were little, how very sacred my “quiet times” were. Now, no matter what is going on, I am in control of my schedule. Famous last words. I know, having written that down, all chaos and misery will descend on me like a plaque of locusts. However, if you read my post, The Spirit of Loveliness: Femininity, you’ll remember that I mentioned my Sunday naps. Solitude is for me. Quiet times are a different type of rest. They are a time of learning, meditating, prayer and worship. It is time for me and my Father. And my rest is in Him.
Now, I have no idea if you are a believer. I pray you are. If not, perhaps this little post from an Alabama girl will ignite in you a desire for a quiet time. They can literally be the salvation of your soul. Now, perhaps you don’t think your soul needs saving, or you may believe but don’t have time for a quiet time, nor think they are necessary. I will quote Emilie to make you feel better…
“keep reminding yourself that stillness is neither an impossible luxury nor an unreasonable demand. You need your quiet time in order to have the inner resources to take care of the business of your life. As Isaiah 30:15 puts it, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.'”
Keep Calm and Carry On
There is a popular phrase that’s currently being used in decor, “keep calm and carry on.” I love this and wish I had it written above my front door to encourage a calmer state of mind. How often do you rush out the door only to get to the corner and realize you’ve forgotten something? Am I saying that a quiet time will help your memory? Prior to 50, yes! After 50, a quiet time helps with mood swings and killer instincts.
I’m sorry. My sense of humor is lethal. I think it’s part of the change of life. I’ve changed from a calm, even-temperatured, kind, intelligent woman into a swashbuckling, sweaty, forgetful gypsy, who can’t remember her address part of the time.
How the heck, do I keep calm and carry on after that? Well, here is an example of what my quiet times look like.
I do it the old-fashioned way with the Word, a journal, pen and a formula I discovered in another book I read a few years ago. I guess you’ve figured out by now, that I am a voracious reader. It’s amazing what God tells me through authors that haven’t had the privilege of being canonized or included in the Holy scriptures. He can speak through whomever/whatever He pleases. If He can speak through a jackass, I guess I can listen to a fellow human being. (Numbers 22:28)
Wayne Cordeiro is the author of The Divine Mentor and it was in this book that I found an acronym that helped tremendously with my conversations with the Father. The acronym is this… S O A P.
S is for Scripture
- I start in any book of the Bible and read chapter one.
- Each day I read one chapter until I’ve read the entire book.
- I pay attention to what the Spirit is telling me. One or two verses usually stand out as pertinent to something going on in my life.
- I write these in my journal.
O is for Observation
- I scrutinize these verses. I ask myself the 5 W’s and an H. Who, what, when, where, why and how in order to learn what the Author is teaching.
- I also look for keywords and define them in the Greek so I know exactly what they mean.
- One word of advice – DO NOT take the verse out of context and apply it where it need not apply. If needed, read verses from the previous chapter to be sure you understand what you are reading. Because…. Sunshine, If you are angry with someone and you choose the scripture, Acts 7: 59, 60 that speaks of Stephen being stoned to death, that doesn’t mean God is telling you to kill someone. ALWAYS keep scripture within context.
- I write down what I’ve observed about the verses. Oh… don’t be surprised, when God Himself causes you to laugh. Where do you think humor came from anyway? It’s called J – O – Y !
A is for Application
- This is the personal introspective part.
- What is God telling you?
- How do you apply the verses to your life?
- I write down how I believe God is speaking to me through these verses.
P is for Prayer
- My prayer-life changed drastically when I began to pray HIS WORD to HIM. We are speaking HIS language when we do this.
- I write my prayer in my journal so when He answers I can see how I prayed and most importantly, how He answered.
- Once I’ve completed this, I titled the page and record it in the table of contents I created at the front of the journal.
You will not believe that you can do this in 15 minutes, but you can. Sometimes, you will be drawn in by the Author and not want to stop after 15 minutes. That’s ok. He is also the Author of time and can stop the world from turning on its’ axis if He wants. (Joshua 10:1-15) Just go with it.
It’s amazing how God works. While researching for this article, I discovered something profound. On July 5, 2011 my verse was from John 20:31,
“But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you may have life in His name.”
What God told me in these verses is not important. Apply SOAP, it cleanses the soul. What is He saying to YOU?
As always, comments are welcome, compliments to the Father are LOVED! Have a blessed day and forgive me. This was longer than I promised.
Adapted from: The Spirit of Loveliness. Copyright © 1999 by Emilie Barnes. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.