Posted by: mikenicholsblog | October 23, 2011

quiet revisited

Just a couple of days ago, I wrote about having a quiet center, and hearing God in our noisy distracted world. Those were easy words to write, and anything but easy to apply. But apply we must!  A book from my past, Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back, by Charles Swindoll gives wonderful insight for anyone serious about a quiet center. One particular chapter caught my eye related to stress.Stress speaks loud in all of our lives, and can become the enemy of a quiet heart. How then can we confront stress and begin live with internal peace and quiet?

Psalm 46:10a (NASB)
Cease striving and know that I am God

These are words that are often quoted with great conviction. And who doesn’t want to live with a heart that is quiet and at peace before the Lord? But striving after our objectives can easily dominate our lives, thus creating stress. Anyone who is a Christ-follower should be willing to examine their level of stress vs. their willingness to cease striving. A closer look at the word cease gives clarity. The Hebrew term for this word means relax. It is counter-intuitive to think that I can accomplish more in my walk with God by being relaxed, rather than by striving. Ceasing to strive, and daily dependence on the Father accomplishes far more than trying to stress my way to success.

If you are serious about developing a quiet center, and willing to cease striving, you will resonate with the words quoted in Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back. They are from Tim Hansel’s work, When I Relax, I Feel Guilty.

Slow me down, Lord.
Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, amid the confusion of the day, the calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory.
Teach me the art of taking minute vacations – of slowing down to look at a flower,
to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to smile at a child, to read a few lines from a good book.
Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring values, that I may grow toward my greater destiny.
Remind me each day that the race is not always to the swift; that there is more to life than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward to the towering oak and know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well.

Read and re-read those words. As you start this week, are you willing to join with me and cease striving? Is the word relax even in your current vocabulary? Stress will always be fighting against your peace and quiet. And there will always be a new burden to bear. But for us to live wisely and well, we must live under the umbrella of God’s power and relax.

Your new week and mine will have stressors. We can, however, choose to slow down, relax and become better examples of what it means to be a Christ follower.  When the stressful circumstances attack, purposely cease striving and lift that moment to the Father. You and I can’t manufacture a quiet center, but when we “cease striving and relax in Him it will come!

Slow me down Lord. Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.


  1. Thank you for these beautiful words of truth…..and just at the precise moment that I needed them!

  2. Wow is that ever great advice— I need to do a better job with this —it’s never to late to start today

    thanks Mike

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