Quiet and Listening to God, Relationship with God, Seasonal Reflections

5 Practical Ways to Cultivate a Quiet Heart

cultivate-a-quiet-heart

Lord, give me a quiet heart that does not ask to understand, but confident steps forward in the dark guided by your hand. – Elizabeth Elliot

My word of the year for 2021 was “Silence” (which came hot on the heels of 2020’s, “Listening” – I guess God decided I didn’t get the memo the first time).

Needless to say, the concept of silence has become one of deep reflection for me for a while and I just now feel like I am barely scratching the surface. I’m almost sad 2021 is ending soon, but what better way to honor these two life-changing years on a life-changing lesson than to share a few of the things that I have learned.

Lessons from 2 Years of Cultivating a Quiet Heart

  • A quiet heart is the first thing we need to cultivate in order to hear God
  • A quiet heart is not the same as “quiet” surroundings

In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair. – Howard Thurman

  • We can’t learn anything we think we already know

Yes, silence requires openness and a tiny bit of humility.

Quiet Heart

I’d like to dedicate this post to a dear reader who wrote to me asking how to be more vulnerable with God, and it set me to contemplating… I have come to the conclusion that this is it.  Silence, heart silence. A quietude that lets God be God without expectation or predetermination, without assumption of what He’s doing or why, just trusting that He is good and knows.

When you open your heart with a quiet mind love rushes in.— Genevieve

A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough. All is grace.— Elisabeth Elliot

Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands. – Elisabeth Elliot

Love seeks understanding, and seeks how it can serve. It desires the best for another and pays attention to how best to offer that – without considering the cost to self.

There is a quiet at the heart of love, And I have pierced the pain and come to peace. – Sara Teasdale

Because true prayer is mostly listening. It makes you more confident, deeper, stronger, safer.

When speech comes from a quiet heart, it has the strength of the orchid, and the fragrance of rock. – Stephen Mitchell

How much time do you make for simple silence in your life?

When prayer becomes your rest, God becomes your strength

5 Tips to cultivate a quiet heart this season

  • Learn to recognize the noise – then start to eliminate it little by little
    • Simply turning off the radio in the car, go on nature walks alone without headphones, choosing to seek God in moments of work like cleaning or cooking rather than watching TV, listening to podcasts, or calling people on the phone, etc.
    • Be grateful for quiet opportunities (rather than anxious to fill them).
    • Breathing deeply and just learning to appreciate God in the moments where there is less external stimulus.

Contentment … has an internal quietness of heart that gladly submits to God in all circumstances. – Joni Eareckson Tada

  • Carve out time away (especially at first)
    • practicing a family “silent time” in the evenings (start small – 1-5min – and work your way up to about 20min),

It takes time to quiet your mind and your heart before the Lord. – Francis Chan

This practice encourages “rest” and enjoyment of stillness. It is not the same as meditation or yoga, where one tries to “soak up” everything around them without discernment, but could be compared to a similar experience of quiet stillness. Note that this means being quiet also with the body (ie, no fidgeting, or shuffling out of boredom), but a true restfulness of spirit that learns to enjoy this opportunity for taking notice once again of God and of the ability to hear should He speak in His still, quiet voice. (Also, highly possible to do while walking – often a good starting point for people with difficulty focusing)

Spend time becoming conscious of how you speak, and when you speak, what you say and who you say it to. Yes, speaking is important many times, but you will probably be surprised at the power of your (appropriate) silence

Think before you Speak
THINK before you Speak (Popular)

A little prayer to help you in your quest for quiet – or controlling your speech

  • Shut off devices during meals and 2 hours before bed
    • Consider practicing the rule of no phone 1 day/week, 1 week/month
    • Consider charging phones in a space removed from your bed – Either across the room or in a closet/cupboard/drawer
  • Try a type of “centering prayer” – No, this is not a debate on types of prayer or whether the actual concept of centering prayer is acceptable or not, but a simple prayer that centers you (your body, your mind, and your heart) on God.

My favorite is to simply say, “Lord, I’m here”. Nothing more. Only one tiny phrase. And then think about what it means to be “here” with God. Using the imagination to picture sitting with Him and being in His presence. What does He look like? How does He look at you? You can use some extent of your book knowledge about Him to guide your imagination but try to always desire truth above all and not cater your imagination to your desires. Always coming back to that idea of PRESENCE with the Lord. I am here, body, soul, mind, and will. Everything I am is with Him and I do not desire to be anywhere else. Use this space to cultivate a desire for God and an enjoyment of God and build on this experience outside of it.

Happy is the person who can keep a quiet heart, in the chaos and tumult of this modern world. – Patience Strong

5 ways to Cultivate a quiet heart

One Last Resource

A good book on this, for beginners or if you are seriously struggling, is Get your Life Back by John Eldridge. (Not an affiliate link – I do not receive any compensation for promoting this product)

Get your life back - john eldredge

He also made an accompanying phone app called One Minute Pause with guided daily silent times and built in reminders. I use it to help my kids learn to re-center themselves when emotions run high. It is a very good tool for beginners and those who are struggling to cultivate a deeper practice of quietude on their own.

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carolynpereira1311@hotmail.com