Ambition: The Quiet Life

Quiet purple blossoms

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I had a B-U-S-Y spring. My hubby had to travel overseas on business for six-and-a-half weeks. Forty-five days to be exact. In that time, he missed two birthdays, all the end of school activities, including a sixth-grade celebration ceremony for Peter before he heads to junior high next year.

Quiet morning

He missed being present in the the ups and downs of our days. He missed our hugs and pouring out his love on us.

Between the busy-ness of the end of school and trying to be everything for the boys as they grappled with their own feelings about him being gone. . .

. . . and running them to appointments,

. . . and taking care of my own daily responsibilities,

. . . and trying to spend time writing,

weariness settled on my shoulders like a mantle.

Quiet Path

This life moves at a crazy-fast pace. And it’s so easy to feel compelled to keep up with all the demands it places on us. We get caught up in the swirl of activity, of ministry, of serving, of pouring out into the lives of others. And we get worn out, stretched out and drained out.

I read a blogpost by Holley Gerth recently that shared the verse 1 Thessalonians 4:11. The verse, and the author’s thoughts on it, stopped me cold.

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you.” {1 Thessalonians 4:11}

Quiet Deer

Quiet sunlightHow often have I made it my ambition to be everything to everyone? To attempt, in my own lame way, to be Super Woman? Cape fluttering behind me as I rush at mock speed from one activity to the next? As I meet my family’s needs? As I serve in various capacities?

It’s not wrong to serve—especially our loved ones. It’s not wrong to meet the needs of our families, of those God places in our paths.

Quiet dandelion splayedThe question for me has become: What is my ambition? Is it to meet everyone else’s needs? Is it to be seen by others? To gain affirmation through how well I pour myself out to others? Is it to be noticed for my skills and abilities?

God says we are to make it our ambition to lead a quiet life.

Quiet morning skyThis looks different for each of us. For me, it looks like making sure my family’s needs are met, and that includes my own. My needs for daily time with Jesus. For connecting with my husband and children. And yes, to some degree, for working out the calling God’s placed on my life to write. It looks different for each of us, because God is doing something different in each of us.

I don’t need to be involved in everyone else’s business. God may bring someone across my path to whom He desires me to reach out. But I’ll only hear His voice and heart for this person if I’m not chasing after my own ambition. I’ll only be able to participate in the work God’s doing in that life if I’m not exhausted by chasing after activities and busy-ness that I ordained for myself. 

Quiet clover

I don’t need to live a “seen” life. I need to live a quiet life. No, the affirmations from people don’t usually come with living a quiet life. But really? Whose affirmation is most important?

I’m going to make it my ambition to lead a quiet life. What about you?

What about you? What does living a quiet life look like to you? What’s your view on ambition?

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10 thoughts on “Ambition: The Quiet Life

  1. I can’t lead a quiet life, Jeanne. I still have something I want to say, something I believe is worth saying…and I am running out of time.

    I need a miracle. One that gives me tomorrow is just fine, right now.

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    • Oh Andrew. I’m praying for that miracle for you . . . as well as strength, energy and all that you need to complete all you’re meant to complete. A quiet life doesn’t necessarily mean not doing anything. It’s more the internal quiet and where my (our) focus is. You have much to say, and I’m praying for many tomorrows for you.

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  2. Jeanne- we all need a quietness of our soul. A deep peace that can hear God’s voice even when we can’t escape the chaos. Thank you for this beautiful reminder. Your words are always a blessing.

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    • Karen, we do all need that quietness in our souls. Hearing God’s voice in the chaotic times can only happen when our hearts are still before Him, trusting Him and focused on Him through all life throws at us.

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    • It’s one of my favorites too, Lisa. Yes, any mom who’s lived through an extended business trip knows what “hard” looks like. It sounds like you may be one of them. 🙂

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  3. Love that you included self in taking care of family. That is so important – in whatever incarnation it takes. Frank & I were talking the other day about how we’re in a nesting phase, not just in terms of this immediate baby, but in the next years of building our family and its values.

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    • I like that picture, Annie. Nesting phase—creating a safe nest for our children to grow up and thrive in. Love that. And yes, part of that “nesting” means caring for ourselves as moms and in our marriages. Thanks for adding this thought!

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  4. Love this, Jeanne. Yeah, you know, sometimes it’s really nice to take a week or so to retreat … retreat to home. I’ve been spring cleaning a bit … trying to get caught up on things I need done before the fall … and letting other things go to the side. When I walk away from the computer a bit, it’s amazing how much time I have. 🙂 And leading a quiet life often keeps us, our mouths, out of trouble. Amen?! 🙂

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    • Yes, I know what you mean about needing that time for quiet away from the computer. Been there. Still there. 🙂 And yes, leading a quiet life often does keep us—and our mouths—out of trouble. 🙂

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