Peace, Be Still: How to Trust God for a Quiet Heart

I need a quiet heart. Thankfully we went away to the sea, first in April, and then again in July.

But since we have been back from our summer vacation, the last two months have been full. Work, writing deadlines, settling in, parenting responsibilities, company, and the new normal of this season have all been positive, but very busy. And as I’ve thought about writing for Joy Let Loose, I’ve simply felt depleted, like I didn’t have many more resources to pour out.

Peace, Be Still: How To Trust God for a Quiet Heart

Raging Seas

So when it felt like a raging sea, I needed to remind myself of the gentle waves. I needed to remember my quiet heart. I have looked at the pictures and videos on my phone, and sat out on my patio, staring at our pond. If it weren’t so hot again this afternoon, that’s where I’d be right now! ūüôā

I need to drink deeply. And in my rest, these words refresh me:

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
O God our savior.
You are the hope of everyone on earth,
even those who sail on distant seas.
You formed the mountains by your power
and armed yourself with mighty strength.
You quieted the raging oceans
with their pounding waves
and silenced the shouting of the nations.
Those who live at the ends of the earth
stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
you inspire shouts of joy.

(Psalm 65:5-8 NLT)

Peace, Be Still

I am reminded how Jesus rebuked the storm’s waves in Mark 4:39 by saying to it, “Peace! Be still!” And in the times I choose to take moments to pull away from the chaos in my life and mind, it is because I hear Him speak to my heart, “Be still.” It is much like in Psalm 46 when God said, “Be still and know that I am God.”

So much of my life feels simultaneously like catching up and keeping going; like moving forward and dragging from behind. But the Lord calls me to stop striving, and to set apart time to simply rest with Him. He invites me to a quiet heart.

For my own sake, I’m learning this is incredibly important. And for the sake of Joy Let Loose, if I don’t do it, there will be much less joy to share!

(If you made it this far, you may be interested to read about some quiet moments I took by the sea in Nova Scotia, Canada, this summer. I had a chance to share my experience with Annesley Writers last month.)

Pursue a Quiet Heart

In January, I issued to my readers my Morning Joy Challenge. I’d encourage you to take a look, and I’m going to re-visit it in my own life as well. But once the day gets rolling, it may be that we also need a ¬†Peace, Be Still invitation. Any time you feel chaotic, or you sense God calling you to step away, please use this resource to help you to be still, and know that He is God.¬†

Steps to a quiet heart with God

 

Download the PDF!

What Next?

So what next? How do you re-enter the world of storms after taking those precious moments of stillness? Well, I would recommend keeping a journal. Write just one line that reminds you what you learned in the silence. What did God speak to your quiet heart? Make that the shout of  joy that God has inspired. (Ps. 65:8b) 

Habits take time to form. So, keep the Peace, Be Still resource and a quiet heart journal handy as you build the habit. And let us know in the comments below if you are taking me up on the invitation.

Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the¬†living water¬†as a gift.

(Rev. 22:17)

Elizabeth Joy

 

Clear Clutter: How I Order My World With the Ten Second Tidy Principle

Confession: Sometimes I find myself in a zone where I don’t even notice clutter. Don’t get me wrong, I like order. But when I’m in a creative mode, there is a¬†part of me that seems¬†able to simply ignore it.

Sometimes.

However,¬†I¬†have made a discovery that continual clutter ends up rubbing me the wrong way. And I don’t prefer to be irritated. I’m much more likely to notice the ¬†joy that lies within each day when¬†my world around me is, well, organized. I am disciplining myself to see organizational tasks as an opportunity to practice gratitude.

 

I am thankful to God for all He has entrusted to me, and I desire to care for it well. Click To Tweet

 

Now, I’m not recommending¬†obsessive¬†organization here. After all, the pendulum can swing widely, my friends, and obsessive organizing can steal joy just as much as clutter can. But Scripture seems to contrast disorder against peace (1 Cor. 14:33), so it¬†makes sense to me that a chaotic world lacks joy.

The regular, diligent clearing away of un-necessary, or broken, or dirty things in our physical realms is wise, and leads to a pleasant and ordered life with wide open spaces. And developing this habit in the physical realms of home and office may also help to lead us toward regular, diligent clearing away of unwanted internal things. 

How I Order My World

 

The Ten Second Tidy Principle

There was a short season when my youngest was a wee one that¬†Loonette the clown, and her doll, Molly, graced our TV screen. It was all childlike, enthusiastic glory. Her “Big Comfy Couch” tunes continue to rattle around in my brain sometimes; ear worms, shall we say. Although I never developed an affinity for this colorful character, I can say that one of her lessons was helpful with my young children, and continues to help me today: The Ten Second Tidy.¬†¬†(Now, if we¬†actually tidy up the way that Loonette does, practically stuffing everything we¬†pick up behind or under the couch cushions, I daresay we¬†haven’t really tidied at all – we’ve simply relocated our mess. There are spiritual depths to this physical lesson!)

 Clear Clutter for a Joyful Outlook.

Can de-cluttering actually impact our  joy? Many of us sit for long periods of time each day, required to focus on certain projects at length. In fact, recent global studies indicate that people sit on average 7.7 hours per day, with some sitting as many as 15 hours daily! First of all, this sedentary lifestyle is not only hazardous to our physical health, but it can compromise our emotional health and hinder our productivity. So, whether we are stay-at-home parents or business execs, homeschooling teachers or public school guidance counselors, I believe we all can benefit greatly (emotionally, and in productivity) from planning for periodic de-cluttering of our surroundings and our minds throughout our days.

Not only will it refresh our minds to accomplish regular small tasks of organization, getting up and moving about can re-ignite our thought processes and creativity. Finally, I believe the actual, disciplined removal of clutter can benefit both our short- and long-term health.

 

The disciplined removal of clutter can benefit both our short- and long-term health. Click To Tweet

 

Below are four sets of 10-second breaks, each intended as springboards to help us¬†to find small, regular windows throughout our days to take “organizational” breaks for our physical, emotional, and spiritual health.¬†

Ten 10-second mental health breaks

  • Close your eyes and take 10 slow, deep breaths
  • Read Matthew 11:28-30 ¬†
  • Write down 3 things for which you are thankful – keep a journal nearby!
  • Look out the window and pray for the first person you see
  • Look for a co-worker to encourage
  • Grab a drink of ice water
  • Thank God that He is Living Water
  • Text an encouraging message to someone you love
  • Pray for God¬†to be evident in this next hour of work
  • Especially helpful: Sing the Doxology

 

Ten 10-second in-your-chair breaks (Office)

  • Open your Junk Drawer and discard 5 un-necessary items
  • Sharpen 3 pencils
  • Color-code your pens
  • Draw a picture of something that makes you smile
  • File three completed files
  • Dust your desk
  • Clean your computer screen
  • Discard un-necessary papers from your desk
  • Set goals for the next hour
  • Finally, check off completed goals from earlier in the day.

 

Clear Your Clutter Checklist

 

Ten 10-second out-of-chair breaks (Office)

  • Stand, stretch, and do 10 jumping jacks
  • Go for a walk: take your paper to the recycling bin
  • Re-arrange two pieces of furniture
  • Dust a set of shelves
  • Clean a¬†mirror or window
  • Straighten your books
  • Eliminate 3¬†things from your “to-do” files
  • Go up, and¬†then down 2¬†flights of stairs
  • Return an item you borrowed from a co-worker
  • Lastly, do 20 wall push-ups

 

Ten 10-second work-at-home breaks

  • Take a walk around the perimeter of your house or apartment building.
  • Fold throw blankets and straighten throw cushions
  • Dust the living room surfaces
  • Straighten up entryway shoes
  • Write an encouraging note and stick it to the refrigerator
  • Throw away any un-necessary refrigerator notes
  • Eliminate 5 things from your junk drawer
  • Walk through your home and pray for the people/activities in each room
  • Open the windows to bring in some fresh air
  • Very helpful:¬†Inhale a focus¬†& energy¬†essential oil blend. Try these from Pure Joy!¬†


My favorite focus & energy blend

Clear Your Cluttered Mind Focus & Energy Blend

Clutter in our homes, offices, and minds can steal our joy. Click To Tweet

Bonus: Check out another favorite essential oil blend – my Joy Blend!

Proactively setting aside brief moments throughout our days to de-clutter will have long-term benefits on our physical and emotional health. These short, regular¬†breaks can help pattern lives of gratitude for the things we’ve been given, and can inspire greater clarity of mind. Even today, we¬†can begin to implement 10-Second Tidy principles into our work or home lives. I pray that as we¬†do, our outlook will be of peace and not disorder. And in that peace, may we¬†find ¬†joy.

How do you clear clutter in your home, office or mind? Comment below!

Elizabeth Joy

 

 

 

The Lost River: An @JoyLetLoose Guest Post @AnnesleyWriters


Happy Friday! Today I want to share with you about The Lost River.¬†I have the privilege of writing occasionally for Annesley Writers Forum, a group of Christian women¬†tackling¬†beautiful, difficult, and encouraging themes of life. When I first discovered¬†this collective, I was immediately impacted by each author’s vulnerability and passionate pursuit of the Lord. It was an honor to¬†be invited to write with these ladies.

The Lost River

Annesley’s¬†January theme is¬†simply “Time”. This is something I am learning about immensely in this season of my life. If I¬†value and honor time, it will be an important contributor to my¬†journey toward joy. On Wednesday my article¬†The Lost River¬†went live. This article describes an area the Lord has been highlighting in my life over the last few months. I invite you to take a trip over to Annesley and to read The Lost River. And, since you are heading there, you might as well grab a cup of coffee and a comfy chair. There are so many beautiful writers that you will want to scroll and get acquainted with each of them.

Your hearts will be blessed.

The Lost River

 

Elizabeth Joy

Seize the Moment (Be a Hummingbird)

A few weeks ago I initiated  The Morning Joy Challenge. I hope many of you have chosen to seize the moment, and have begun to experience a fresh perspective with the rise of the sun. (Please feel free to leave comments below about your journey with that!)  Just what does the dawn of the day hold for each of us? We need to begin well, of course, but we also need to move on into the day well if we are going to truly be joy journeying.

Frantic Pace

I’ll just come right out with a confession: Mornings aside, I’ve lived too much of my life at a frantic pace, in body and in mind. (Have you ever watched a hamster run around his cage? Across the back, into the tunnel, out of the tunnel, on the wheel, in the food dish, over his brother, back on the wheel…).

I’ve been a lot like him. I’ve been a hamster.

And living life at a frantic pace has not been good for my soul. It has not been beneficial to my marriage, or my kids, or my friendships, or my vocation. And let’s not even talk about my housekeeping. (Incidentally, I’ve discovered a correlation between the state of my mind and the state of my house. Sometimes it’s actually the clutter around me that suddenly notifies me of my pace. It pays to be observant of these things, my friends.)

 

 

But I love to work and to be productive and efficient and good at what I do. So is it wrong for me to stack up on responsibilities and move deftly¬†through them all the time? Well, no. And yes. It comes down in part to motivation. Does my pace of life honestly reflect a joyous engagement with the Lord and the imprint I can leave on this world? If so – awesome! I should keep it up. This world needs energetic¬†and¬†passionate people tirelessly bringing His Kingdom to bear in homes, in the marketplace, and in neighborhoods. I believe God has placed within me a desire to do good things with excellence, and it’s important¬†to lean into God-given wiring. Continue reading “Seize the Moment (Be a Hummingbird)”