Don’t be afraid of a quiet life. A small sustainable simple life is resistance against the vanities of the world. Plan on being hidden. Set your life up to have a few friends who hear you when you speak. Go to an insignificant church where they still have potlucks. Don’t buy any hype. You can’t afford it. People are not wired for consuming celebrity culture. You don’t have to know about the latest anything. You can happily be completely ignorant of all the spectacle the world is wanting you to clamor for. Go fishing. Invite the neighbors over for supper. Watch some tv. Read a poem. Pray some prayers that you know will be answered and pray some that you know won’t. Be a good friend. Stay with Christ. Stay with him in your little life and enjoy it because it is such a good gift.Andy Squyres
I first began following Andy Squyres because Christian author Lore Wilbert reposted some of his words on her IG story. On his Instagram, he writes his thoughts on faith and what it looks like to follow Christ and what the Christian aesthetic means today.
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The words of Andy I’m drawn to most are his words on having a quiet life. Growing up, I was heavily encouraged to seek after a successful career. Education was a high priority for my parents. I’m grateful for that foundation, but it inevitably made success an idol for me. It was actually going to college that really forced me to consider what I was neglecting when I made my education the highest priority of my life.
In a sense, you do go to college for your education. But my education led me to treat myself terribly. I always felt like I wasn’t good enough, that I had to be doing more. I neglected my health (as my roommates can attest to). When I did reach success, it never felt validating. It actually felt lacking.
As I continued on in college, I realized I wanted to pursue healthy friendships and my spiritual life more fully. The idea of a quiet life crept up slowly. I honestly didn’t have the words for it until I read Andy’s work. I have both Andy’s books, Poet Priest Vol. 1 and 2, and he has sections about this mundane life that I really appreciate.
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Hidden: A quiet life
While I love a good TV show, I feel like the lives we watch are so big and elaborate that our mundane lives don’t seem like much in comparison. There’s even this temptation in Christian culture that you have to do something radical for God, as if going to work faithfully and being attentive to the people in your life isn’t holy.
My generation is afraid of a quiet life. A life that can’t be captured beautifully on a camera. And in some sense, it’s because we want to do great things. However, we’ve distorted the definition of great. We think it’s only being impressive in the eyes of others. It no longer concerns the moral implications of our actions.
My word of the year is hidden. And my life is currently the most unimpressive it’s ever been. I’m not successful in the ways I thought I’d be. If the me from a year ago knew about the life I’m living now, I’d be so disappointed. But my life is hidden. It’s small. I connect with a small group of friends regularly. I take long walks and write these blog posts and knit and read books. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t keep up with some of celebrity culture (RIP Taylor and Joe). But I’ve read some poems and stayed with Christ as best as I can.
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What a simple life means for me
Part of a quiet life is looking for adventure in different ways. My idea of adventure used to be taking weekend trips (not that this season hasn’t had that), but it’s the openness to adventure in my own backyard. Literally. Like going outside to check on the tree that’s been blooming. Or to sit in the sun.
I connect with friends differently. Face to face is a rare occurrence. So there’s FaceTime and phone calls, but it’s mostly texting and sometimes emails when we’re feeling fun. It’s less doing life alongside one another but catching each other up on life that has happened (or in my case, that’s waiting to happen).
A simple quiet life takes the pressure off. I don’t need to conform my life to everyone else’s expectations. It means confronting the ways that I’ve taken some of those expectations as my own. It means resisting comparison, which usually means resisting social media in general. You get to silence the voices of the world to let your soul speak up a little. What needs nourishment in your life? What have you neglected? Where do you need to invite more opportunities for joy?
In my abundance blog post, I mentioned that sometimes we invite chaos into our lives. Whether it’s overcommitting or invalidating our own needs while rushing around to meet the needs of others, we can take our lives and heap up more things on it like an overstuffed plate until it gets so heavy that we drop it. We even do this in subtler ways, like saying yes to too many goals at once. Get clear on what’s essential and what’s enjoyable and drop the rest.
There’s a fear that a simple life is a boring one. And my take on that is that it doesn’t have to be. But also, who cares if it is? Why is boring such a bad quality? Frankly, a little boredom would give us all a little time to daydream and wonder, which we need. Moving slowly regulates our bodies by lowering our stress. Why exchange excitement for health? For the sake of excitement, we neglect ourselves and it’s never worth it in the long run.
A simple life reminds us that the best things in life are the simple ones. Because these things are the ones that sustain us. Good books. Healthy community. Friendship. Delicious food. Sunshine. Tea. Storytelling. Hobbies reminding us of our humanity. Andy’s words remind me that it doesn’t matter how big my life is. What matters is how present I am to the people that matter.
Does living a quiet life seem enticing to you? What does living a quiet life look like for you?
2 thoughts on “a quiet life | quote series”
God is so good to us. I love how He brings us books or people or circumstances to give us new insight into what’s important. Wilderness wanderings are for a purpose.
LOVE that flowering tree! Do you stand under it and just sniff and sniff?
I definitely should! I love seeing trees like it around the neighborhood.