It's the time of year where resolutions and goals become the cornerstones of our conversations. With the new page in the calendar comes a fresh start, a chance to evaluate and change. It's a lovely time, full of healthy food, clean closets, and big ideas.
As I work through reflecting on 2016 and start to sort out what I want from 2017, I'm realizing that what I desire most is a slower life. We started making changes over the past twelve months, some conscious and some out of necessity. Toward the end of the year, I realized that my mornings were less rushed, my friendships deeper, and my mind at ease.
When I hear the overused words "slower life" I think of minimalism. I'm definitely not working toward that. If you could see my home you would see that it is full of color and clutter. I enjoy having one too many pairs of shoes and one extra piece of art hung. Rather, what I'm chasing is quiet. The quiet is what brings my heart peace, what restores the broken bits that need a little care. Our world contains quite a lot of noise. There are the audible noises we all hear but it's more than that. Noise comes in the form of thousands of opinions on social media, trying to keep up with hundreds of friends, countless ways to receive information, and much more. I truly believe some people were made for the noise. They thrive in the midst of action, conversation, and fame. They soak the noise in and, in turn, produce beautiful sounds that encourage and uplift us. What a gift. We need those people!
Perhaps, though, not all of us were meant for the noise. I've learned over the past year that the noise breaks me. It takes energy to keep up with people online, to juggle hundreds of outlets of news, to sort through the overstimulation and find the gems. While those things can be worthwhile, I've learned, that for the most part, those things drain the resources that should be used for my tangible life. So I'm finding a few ways to make my world a little less loud. Our parents' didn't have the internet. They didn't have online outlets like we do. And while their lives may have had less community, they also had less comparison and more peace. It feels like the right first step, evaluating my channels of social media and determining which ones can be scaled back and which ones can be cut out completely.
The time I spend with my family and friends should be rich, thoughtful, and noisy. But the other moments, the day to day moments, should be quiet. While there may still be audible sounds, those moments should feel like rest to the soul.
I can tell you what doesn't feel like rest- countless memes, buzzfeed articles, and seeing thirty pictures of someone's lunch. So, for now, we are working on removing ourselves from Facebook. When we have a baby, our friends and family will know. When we have opinions, unease about the state of politics, or a review of a new movie, we will share those things over our table surrounded by the people we actually do life with. Maybe quiet means relearning how to be private, how to keep some things sacred and close to the vest.
I will still write, regularly and honestly. Instagram is still one of my favorite ways to share our life. My business will still maintain an online presence. But eliminating just one of the sounds, one of the energy takers, one of the soul drainers, feels like the right step.
This year, the Speers are chasing quiet. We are chasing it hard and fast because in the quiet is where hearts are restored. It's where true friendships are built. It's where Jesus speaks, in whispers and love, as he leads us into deeper communion with him. "He leads me beside still waters, he refreshes my soul" Psalm 23:2. Jesus is leading but we've got to do the following. So that's what we are doing. I'm sure we will get it wrong countless times and maybe we are even getting it wrong right now. Regardless, I want to start 2017 by picking up my feet and accepting the invitation of still waters.
We are chasing quiet. And it's the sweetest sound I've heard in a while.