Shhh! We’re Reading!
Cultivating Peace: Quiet & Simple Rhythms During Busy Seasons
Part 1: Books
Books are the mirrors of the soul.Virgina Woolf
Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if you whole world seems upset.Saint Francis de Sales
As I look ahead to the many holidays and events approaching, there’s an entanglement of excitement and dread within me. Maybe you can relate if you’re a fellow introvert.
Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting with others and attending holiday events, but I also get very overwhelmed with the noise, demands, and pressures of this season. Thanks be to God, I’ve gotten better at knowing myself and the boundaries I need for this time of year.
During the last several years, my husband and I have made a concerted effort to cultivate a peaceful home. While true peace doesn’t necessarily mean silence, it is often cultivated in a slowing down of the heart, mind, and body. The peace of Christ is reflected in our words, actions, and how we go about our day-to-day lives. And that peace comes from listening and responding to our Lord and Savior at work in our hearts. Jesus is our ultimate peace and brings order to the chaos no matter our circumstances.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.Matthew 5:9
With that said, our homes are meant to be places of refuge away from the busy, chaotic world. But over the last century, there has been a litany of new technologies brought into the intimacy of our homes. The once, quiet, reflective place to get away from the world, has now become enmeshed with the world.
As Christians, we are to bring order and peace to the chaos of the world- especially in our homes.
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace- as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.1 Corinthians 14:33
While there’s a time and a place for technology in the home, there’s also a balance that needs to be established so that distractions don’t seep in to replace the peace. The home is meant to be a place of comfort, rest, and reprieve for each member of the family.
One way our family has started to create this quiet rhythm of peace is through books. It’s been a simple way to have less mindless noise, especially during the evenings. Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to read.” But for many of us, it’s about how we spend our time. Cutting out that extra scrolling time on social media or that binge-worthy television show can open up an opportunity to read and calm your body. My husband is a huge audiobook nerd. He loves listening to books on his work commute or when he’s doing yard work. It’s a soothing way to relax the mind and take a brain break from the stresses of the day.
Since last year, I’ve been on a classic fiction book kick, from reading Tolstoy’s War & Peace (yes, that big one!), Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Greene Gables, to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This month, I’m finishing up Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. I don’t share my book choices to stroke my ego, because honestly, these books challenged me. They deepened my appreciation for true, God-honoring art and beauty in everyday life. I’ve learned about different times, peoples, and cultures beyond my own, and I’ve had to look up several unfamiliar words or events in history I wasn’t familiar with. I also learned more about each author’s life and the hardships so many good writers endured- ultimately birthing their beautiful books. In the end, these stories pointed me directly back to God’s Word and understanding the human condition and our need for Christ.
Along with my personal reading choices, my husband and I have set aside time in the evening to read with our kids. While some nights it can be a chore to get everyone’s emotions and energies settled, most nights it’s a perfect opportunity to settle the day and cultivate a relaxed rhythm before bedtime. Our children learn how to sit quietly and listen (or read aloud). They enjoy picking out mountains of books at our local library and then toppling those books onto Mom and Dad during reading time.
Coming together to read has been a great opportunity to learn more about our children. We’re able to have discussions about their interests or what they are curious to know. We show our children: we see you, we hear you, and you are loved when we choose to sit down together over a book.
By no means have we established a perfect rhythm of peace within our home, but we are making a point to bring order to the chaos of daily life- to set aside time for connection, quiet reflection, and rest. And books have been a beautiful part of our “cultivating peace at home” journey.
Photo by Maël BALLAND : https://www.pexels.com/photo/boy-in-gray-jacket-reading-book-3457273/