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Pastor of Griggs in Greenville, SC. I write about the gospel, the church, and the soul. 

Quietness

Quietness

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Flashing lights, hundreds of options for entertainment, lots to be unsure of, crowded, and fried - that describes the typical brain.

It's like your brain is always at a loud carnival. It's inundated with texts, calls, notifications, conversations, to-do lists, worries, possibilities, and memories. It's no wonder that you can't get it to just "shut off" when you want it to.

You can't get it to shut off work when you're supposed to be with family and you can't get it to shut off personal errands when you're supposed to be falling asleep. Quietness is a skill the brain must be taught and it's hard to learn quietness in the middle of a carnival. Let's take a lesson from Jesus...

"And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed." - Mark 1:35

Several times throughout the gospels, Jesus practices quietness. If we want to be as caring and attentive as Jesus, we too need to simply practice the art of being quiet. We have to purposefully give our brains some time off. I know that's what you think you're doing when you watch reality TV, but even that requires the brain to work a little bit. What I'm talking about is...

Finding a desolate place

Find a place where no one else is. This may require you to get up early "while it's still dark" like Jesus did, but it's worth it. This can be your porch, your car, wherever you're totally alone.

Ditching the phone

Put all electronics out of sight and out of earshot. No music, no podcasts, no alarms. 

Sitting in silence for 5 minutes

Eventually, you'll want to make this 10 minutes or even 20 minutes. But start small. 5 minutes of silence, when you're not used to it, seems like 5 hours.

Focusing on your breathing

Count to 4 in your mind as you inhale. Count to 4 in your mind before you exhale. Count to 6 as you exhale. Repeat.

Praying

If something comes to mind, don't write it down or mull it over. Just pray a simple prayer about whatever it is.

The practice of quietness will eventually help you quiet your mind even if you ARE at a carnival. This simple practice will help un-hurry and un-clutter your brain, eventually giving you an imaginary shut off switch so you can focus in the moments that matter most.

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