Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” –Thessalonians 4:11 (NLT)
The more I investigate Jesus and what the life of character truly looks like, the more I’m drawn to the idea of quiet living.
Several years ago, I favored the bold and extreme life. I looked at celebrity culture and dreamed of having my writing go big. I wanted a professional and personal life that was thrilling and exciting, allowing me to travel, meet new people, and stay in a constant state of motion.
But this was also around the time I was introduced to the life of Jesus.
As I read through the Gospels, my desire for a bold life unraveled.
The truth I couldn’t ignore was that Jesus lived a greater part of His life being quiet. For three decades He didn’t have a raging public ministry. He was a carpenter who didn’t favor the spotlight. He only wanted to work hard and do good. He desired a simple life before His public ministry began.
As I read more, I pondered on this quiet life.
Life should be simpler than we make it out to be.
And the reason our lives differ so much from this quiet life of Jesus is because we’ve allowed things such as greed, ambition, and excess to influence our story.
What would it look like if our lives were simpler, not needing spotlight and attention to make it feel meaningful? What would it look like if we quieted our professional and personal lives—focusing only on working hard and doing good?
Today, I strive for this quiet life of character. If you’re still on the fence, here are reasons you should consider leading a quiet life as well:
1. A quiet life helps you live according to your core values.
Every person believes something. There is a deep, internal reservoir of conviction that resides in each person—what I call, core values. If we lead a life that is consistent with our core values, then we lead happy and fulfilling lives.
But what so often happens is, we introduce elements like pride, ambition, excess, and greed to complicate our story. These elements increase the power of our external circumstances while trying to quiet the voice of our internal convictions. And then, our life becomes fragmented, divorced from the values we feel deep inside us. After a while, we can no longer hear the voice of our core values. They become forgotten and silenced.
This is why celebrities can sometimes lead unfulfilling lives. We think they have everything, but in reality, they’re living a life that’s completely different from what they originally wanted.
A quiet life helps us structure life according to our values so we’re no longer victim to our external circumstances, but rather lead with our internal conviction.
2. A quiet life gives you a collection of great habits.
Everyone I know who leads a quiet life has a great collection of meaningful habits. They sit down and enjoy a meal with family and friends often, incorporate silent space into their routine, know how to keep themselves healthy, and more.
People who lead a quiet life have time to structure their lives in a positive way.
Extreme living doesn’t focus us on building meaningful habits. Instead, life becomes about doing the next big thing, not making the most of what we have.
Let’s stop treating life like it’s a bucket list, and instead focus on how our habits can make the most of what we have now.
3. A quiet life allows fewer things to disappoint or worry you.
A bold and extreme life is ruled by expectation. People expect to do more and be more. But the more expectation we have for life, the more power we give to marginal things disappointing us—things like what we wear or what we eat (Mt. 6:25).
A quiet life of character, however, tells us we are not entitled to more but are only capable of more when we lean on God’s will for our lives.
When God’s will becomes the leading voice for our life over our expectation, then marginal things become of less importance—meaning, less disappointment and worry for the things that don’t matter.
4. A quiet life helps you invest in relationships.
Robert Waldinger, a Harvard psychiatrist, led a 75-year-study of adult life trying to discover what a happy, healthy life looks like. What he found was simple: relationships make a life happy, healthy, and meaningful.
Too often, we let our careers and ambition take precedence over our relationships. We think the happy life is one where we have successful careers.
But with a quiet life, we realize that we don’t need to have the wealthiest, world-changing careers to make a difference or lead a fulfilling life.
For people who lead a quiet life, relationships and community are of more importance than what their job title is.
5. A quiet life makes it easier to establish a rhythm.
Loud lives are busy. While we’re not meant to avoid busyness, we are meant to avoid busyness for the wrong reasons. In today’s culture, many people are busy simply because their priorities favor more money or more possessions. This is what happens when we let ambition, greed, and excess rule our stories.
A quiet life, however, keeps us close to the right priorities. This means we avoid staying busy for the wrong reasons. We can live a life of rhythm, where we don’t have to constantly stay busy, but rather practice a healthy routine of work and play.
A quiet life slows us down to prioritize what’s important in our lives, rather than stay busy for the wrong reasons.
And so, I no longer reach for the loud, public life doing bold stunts and moving onto the next big thing. I favor the life that’s quiet, that doesn’t care so much whether I’m making a splash, but rather, if I’m making a small and meaningful difference in the lives around me.
You might think God wants you to do bold, extreme things in His name. But I invite you to consider that maybe God wants you to lead a quiet life, where you’re making a difference by being faithful where you are.
Maybe then, you’ll discover the simplicity life was meant to have.