~by Jen H.
As a mother of five, involved with many many things, I am challenged to find privacy anywhere. Just the other day after a long and exhausting day, I laid in bed and pondered how impossible it was that throughout my day I had not had a single moment where I was not being touched, rubbed, tugged at, sung to, talked to, hollered at, cried at, complained to, questioned, argued with, negotiated with, laughed at (or with) and on and on. I realized how hungry I was for a little simplicity and quiet.
I love (love love) being a mother, I love my children intensely and never wish my life was anything different than it is… However, as I have grown in to motherhood I have realized a weakness of mine that I wish to change. I am by nature a very focused person. If I over-schedule and over-commit, the most important things in life unintentionally become subordinate to the less important things. When I discipline myself and take the time to listen, ponder and pray to my Heavenly Father, He reveals to me just what I need to know, right when I need to know it.
In this case, I was able to recognize my discomfort, realizing there was a larger need not being met. Had I not taken the time to reflect on the importance of quiet and the tremendous value of simple things (two things I have to work hard to obtain but essential for my quality of life) I would have missed this tender messages sent direct to me FOR me from my loving Father in heaven.
Every summer we take an extended hiatus to Utah and visit my mother on “The Ranch.” A quick departure from the hustle and bustle of reality, to a slower paced, relaxed, paradise like environment. When I am there, my testimony grows almost spontaneously. While at home, it is very challenging if not nearly impossible to coordinate quality quite time with all the coming and going but it is nonetheless imperative for proper planning and prioritizing of a big family. Effective listening to those promptings of the spirit is KEY to proper self mastery. When I “plan my life” and prioritize effectively, I permit myself the opportunity to slow down and breathe and listen…. I then am flooded with little nuggets of personal revelation/inspiration and am embraced in the arms of quite reflection. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said:
“… We should lower the noise level in our homes so that the noise of the world will not overpower the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost….”
Though I have a wonderfully noisy home, our home can and should be “still” too. If it is hard to come by, than that probably means I need it most and should strive harder to lower the noise level, redirect my schedule to allow times for meaningful, uninterrupted reflection and conversations between myself and the Lord.
Distractions… There are OH so many distractions. It is easy to be thrown off track with often times essential and inevitable distractions, that is part of life, the key is knowing how to get myself back on track. Elder Russell M. Nelson said:
“Some people on life’s journey forget who they really are and what is really important. Without sure identity and priority, blessings that matter most are at the mercy of things that matter least…. Eternal principles that govern happiness apply equally to all. “
Isn’t that the truth, when noise and distractions are present “blessings that matter most are at the mercy of things that matter least…”.
Every time I adjourn our visit from that wonderful paradise in Utah, I am filled with a new commitment to increase the quite in my home, to simplify and sanctify my home. It is not the things that are important, it is the people. Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:
“In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something.”
I want my home to “become something”… a quiet still haven from the noisy world and the battle ground of the adversary even amongst the chattering, wrestling and big family banter. Though this requires a great deal of strategic discipline and commitment, the blessings are profound which I have personally witnessed. I have a found a new love for quiet and bear testimony to the importance creating space in my life to have that time. Striving for a more peaceful home free of unnecessary noises of the world and distractions which will then lend itself to a home full of important, meaningful, eternal relationships, home where “eternal principles that govern happiness” will be available to all.
“[S]eek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness; and all … things shall be added unto you” (JST, Matt. 6:38; see KJV, Matt. 6:33, footnote a)
I find that I can create a peace and quietness inside of myself when I take even a few minutes a day to read the scriptures and pray. I notice a big difference when I don’t do that. When we have peace within, we can feel peaceful in the midst of chaos. However, we have our children to think of, as well–which is much harder when they are little and noisy and HOME. What matters most is that one tries. The Lord blesses us hugely when we but try.
Amen, sister! I’ve been pondering on this exact topic for a few months now and you’ve given me a couple new things to think about. Thanks!