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Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Bible Study, Serious Stuff | 5 comments

Being Still So He Can Be Heard

Last week I woke up to a quiet house, which never happens. Dave was already at work and my babies were at my mom’s house because she was kind enough to offer (*ahem* insist) that they come stay with her for a few days after Christmas.

I had a growing to-do list hidden in the notes section of my phone and the post-Christmas clutter was calling me to get to cleaning, but instead I kicked on the fireplace and sat down in Dave’s recliner. I think I’ve sat in that chair 3 times since we bought it…because I never sit. I felt awkward sitting in silence in my living room all alone because being still has become an unfamiliar feeling for me.

What’s not unfamiliar are the feelings of anxiety, fatigue, busy-ness and tension. In fact, I’ve become all too familiar with those things.

I knew I had a lot to do that morning, but I also knew that I had reached a point where I was trying to pour into others from an empty cup. My well had run dry. I was depleted and as a result, completely overwhelmed at the idea of going into 2017 doing the same juggling act I had been doing for the last several weeks. So, I opened up my prayer journal and I asked God to give me a word from Him. I poured my heart out onto those pages, as I so often do, and I ended it by telling God that I felt far away. I knew He hadn’t moved, but I had. The busy-ness of life had carried my thoughts and heart away from the purpose and passions He originally planted in my heart.

When I opened up my Bible, my study took me to John 10 and it is there where God gave me a word, nourished my soul, refocused my thoughts and refilled my cup. This is the passage of scripture I read that morning…

“Very truly I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they recognize his voiceBut they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

I instantly connected with this message because it so clearly states that God speaks and we can hear His voice, which comforted me since the only thing I’ve heard for weeks is the screaming of my schedule. I love knowing that God calls me by name and if I tune in, I can hear him. I love the imagery of the Good Shepherd calling the sheep by name and leading them out because I can picture Jesus going before me and calling me by name to follow.  However, it says the sheep follow Him because they recognize His voice. To recognize somebody’s voice you have to be close to them. I can recognize Dave’s voice over the phone, no matter what number he calls me from, because I converse with him daily. The only way I can expect to recognize God’s voice is if I also regularly communicate with Him. However, to have a proper and intimate conversation, the setting must be relatively quiet.

For the last several weeks, life has felt deafeningly loud for me, which has made hearing the still small voice of God difficult. When I can’t hear God, I feel disconnected – not only from Him – but from everybody else in my life too.

I sat in that chair with my Bible open that morning thinking about the endless demands of motherhood coupled with the daily to-do list and the unrealistic expectations I place on myself and I realized I couldn’t hear God if he was sitting right next to me. I had created an environment – in my home and in my mind – that was just too dang loud. I imagined my life as if I were sitting in a football stadium filled with thousands of cheering fans. If God were seated 3 seats down from me and tried to talk to me, I wouldn’t be able to hear Him over all the noise.

I admitted in that moment that I had allowed the sweet voice of my Shepherd to get drowned out. He never stopped speaking during those weeks filled with anxiety – I just couldn’t hear him while I was racing from one tasks to the next or scrolling through Instagram. I decided that morning that while I’m not one for New Years Resolutions, I needed to make a change in 2017. I needed to free myself from some of the hustling and bustling.

So, you’re probably wondering why the heck I’m telling you all of this. Well, I’m telling you because in an effort to ‘quiet’ my environment, there will be a new blogging schedule on Cupcakes n Crunches this year. Last summer I decided to make this blog a priority and I’m so incredibly grateful for that decision. As this little space has grown, so has my confidence and satisfaction. This creative outlet is one of my favorite places and you guys enriched my life so much in 2016 (seriously – more than you know). However, I really felt as though I was failing at blogging (and ‘life’ because I’m oh-so-dramatic) if I didn’t publish 5 posts each week and 5 posts is just unrealistic for me – at least during this season of life. And to be honest – I’m not sure how many of you even want to devote the time to read 5 different posts each week detailing what’s going on inside my brain. That’s just too much of me. Like the person who post 7 selfies of themselves in the same day. #overkill

With that said, moving forward I will be blogging 3 days a week. The current plan is to have a post published for you every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. I’m hoping that this will serve as a blessing to you and to me because while it certainly will allow me to free up some time, it will also allow me to focus more on providing you with quality content. I still plan on blogging about the same things and sharing everything from my workouts to my style to my Bible studies and I plan to do it with consistency, but I am changing the frequency.

In 2017, I’m actively seeking stillness because I’m finding that in order for me to hear God’s direction, I must be still sometimes (mentally and physically) and in order for me to be still, I must free myself from some of my busyness.

So, on that note – I’m going to be still right now…except right now it will be in front of the TV…with the Bachelor. Every season I’m all, “I’m not watching this show again because it gives me stress dreams and it’s stupid.” And then every season I get sucked in because I’m like, “But it’s going to be the most dramatic season EVER so I’ve got to see how it all goes down!” I’m a sucker for Chris Harrison. What can I say? 🙄 Anyways, I will see you lovely people on Friday! ❤

Please chime in the conversation below! Have you ever experienced ‘burn-out?’ How did you overcome it? Do you carve out ‘me’ time  or ‘quiet’ time regularly? Are you hoping to do more or do less this year? I like to think I’m trying to do more of what matters and less of what doesn’t. That sounds like a greeting card, doesn’t it? I think that’s all those Hallmark movies still talking…sorry about that. P.S. Is anybody else ridiculously sad about having to wait 11 months for the next Hallmark Christmas movie? The only thing getting me over that heartache is the Bachelor.

5 Comments

  1. Did you say Hallmark Christmas movie?? lol! I’ve lived off of Hallmark all month. I still check to see if there happens to be a movie on that I missed. My son and husband emphatically assure me that I have seen Every.Single.One! lol! I can totally relate to backing off a bit, refocusing, and needing to get quiet at times!

    • I’m so glad I’m not alone, Marsha! I still keep thinking, “Maybe I missed one” but alas, I have seen them all (and some of them I’ve seen twice)! LOL

  2. Hello Ashley! First time reader, and I just wanted to chime in with my thoughts. I love that you have realized you need to make a change and you’re taking action. There is so much pressure to do more, and it’s just not realistic. I had a similar realization when I was working like crazy and got pregnant with my twins. I knew I need to start the process of slowing down, and three years later I feel like I’m in a really good, balanced place. Wishing you luck with your journey!

    • Thank you so much for reading and for the encouragement, Lauren! 🙂

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