The value of a quiet life: Tips & inspiration for purposeful living from Thessalonians
"...Aspire to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and work with your own hands..." 1 Thessalonians 4:11
These words spoke to me so plainly and resonated in my soul so deeply I've been re-reading them slowly and meditating on them for the last two years.
They spoke to where I am in my journey of transition and transformation and they inspired me even more on pursuing a life of authenticity. Each of the three points addresses key areas of living that are part of a God honoring life.
This is what they have meant for me, and how they helped me lead a more productive and intentional life.
Quiet life: These are the words that most resonated with me; to lead a quiet life. What is quiet? To me, it's an orderly, drama free life; one, that in spite of life's ups and downs, is filled with positivity and overall productivity and flow. One that is intentional and purposeful, regardless of what anyone around us might be doing. A quite life is one of God-honoring purpose and priorities. One that is deliberate and thoughtful in what it allows or doesn't allow into it and how it uses it's time (and yes, it is a choice). It's not boisterous, attention or thrill-seeking nor does it run with the crowd. It relishes time alone with God and doesn't require constant stimulation or the need to be always "entertained".
But above all, a quiet life is one that is in perpetual and reverent awareness of the presence of God in every detail of life. That awareness and submission to God's presence is what gives purpose, structure, order and meaning to everything else.
Mind your own business: I keep learning over and over that minding one's own business and shutting one's mouth (including restraint and discretion in what and how much we share on social media) will solve many relational problems and reduce stress levels significantly. It keeps us safe(er) and trouble-free in public life as we interact face-to-face or online. We don't respond to the slightest provocation. We shun gossip and drama like the plague they are. It keeps us focused on our own life and work.
Establishing parameters around social media use is also a way of minding our own business. Social media is powerful communication and business tool but it's important that we take it by the horns through mindful use as a part of a God-honoring life, rather than falling into a vortex of time wasting noise, drama or comparison. When our lives are filled with God-given purpose and priorities (again: as a result of living in constant awareness of God's presence) we have no desire or time to mind anyone else's business but our own, and we are very deliberate and discerning in how we spend our time and what we allow into our hearts and minds on a regular basis. Discretion and old fashioned modesty and privacy? Yeah, they rock quite a bit.
Work with your own hands: I understand this verse is an exhortation to a strong work ethic, contentment and avoiding idleness. It's about giving ourselves to meaningful, God-honoring work, rendering the best service possible as unto the Lord, living within our means, managing our resources with integrity and avoiding greed. It's about a life of usefulness, purpose and ultimately, service to God through all we do, including our profession.
I love the simplicity, clarity and modern-day relevance of these concepts. They resonated deeply with me during a time when I was feeling weighed down by commitments and projects that just weren't a right fit. They encouraged and confirmed my decision to keep on decluttering my life physically, emotionally and professionally from inauthentic or unproductive involvements. They helped me eliminate "lesser" stuff and pare down what was truly important and discover where my heart really was. They helped me use the word "No" more often. The sense of freedom that came from ridding myself of unnecessary or unimportant projects and involvements was so meaningful to me, I actually wrote about it three times in my gratitude journal.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by work or relationships, or simply feel like you’re in a constant state of chaos, step back and ask yourself a few questions to see if a "quiet life" is what God is calling you to lead:
- Of all my involvements and activities, what is authentic and meaningful to me, and consistent with my values and purpose?
- If this project (relationship, job, etc.) is causing me excessive stress or doesn't bring me joy, why am I doing it?
- Who are the people I choose to surround myself with, and is their influence a healthy, positive one, or a negative one?
- What outside sources such as books, media, music, influencers, etc. am I regularly consuming, and what is their impact in my life?
- Is my social media use causing me stress, anxiety or relational issues for any reason?
- Does my work ethic honor God, or am I always looking for ways to cut corners?
- Are my actions and attitudes, both in public and private, consistent with my my professed faith and values?
- What is the common denominator in the chaos, and what can I do about it?
- Do I need to learn to say no more often?
God will never fail to equip us with the vision, courage and means to make decisions that lead us to higher quality of life, genuine peace, and honor to Him because of it.
"...Aspire to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and work with your own hands..."
I never get tired of saying these because they resonate so deeply with my desire to live an authentic life of purpose and meaning and they've helped me move in that direction.
Do these words resonate with you? Is there any scripture that has made a meaningful and practical impact in your life that way? Please share in the comments.