The Quiet Center

“The challenge for the leader is to find and maintain a quiet center from which clarity, focus, and calm sustain not only the leader but also others in the midst of the storm.” – Carol Taylor, President, Vanguard University

To state it bluntly, few of us know much about a quiet center.

We live far too reactively; anxious about the impact of this decision, frenetic in our efforts to implement that strategy. We find ourselves striving, laboring, pushing, forcing, grasping, and toiling.

Carol Taylor, a woman of deep faith, whose father modeled the quiet center to me for many years, touches on a profound spiritual insight (above).

Carol Taylor

In 1851, Herman Melville published Moby Dick (a classic American novel), in which he wrote: “To insure the greatest efficiency in the dart, the harpooners of this world must start to their feet from out of idleness, and not from out of toil.” Eugene Peterson, The Pastor, lifted this image and applied it to pastoral work. But it relates to us all.

The quiet center speaks about our capacity to listen, to hear, to trust, and to pray. Clarity and focus do not emerge from aggression, fear, intellect, creativity, or self-sufficiency. Rather, they arise from the quiet center.

The chaos, mess, and pace of life seem to offer little respite. Everywhere we turn lives are collapsing, families are failing, workmates are gossiping, and fellow-church members are complaining. How easily we slip into the same ruinous patterns.

Unless we have the quiet center.

New parents need the quiet center, though they may never have a quiet home! Marriage partners need the quiet center, though they may face difficult times and choices together. Leaders need the quiet center—and we need leaders who have that quiet center.

How would you describe your soul right now? Tumult or trust? Chaos or quiet? Striving or resting?

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He might as easily have said, “Hand me your pandemonium and I will give you peace.”

Need a dose of that right now? Do those you lead need a dose of that in you right now?

Eternal Father, Prince of Peace, replace the clamorous noise of my soul with the assured calm of Your Presence. And help me live that way today. Amen.

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8 Responses to The Quiet Center

  1. scotsman54 says:

    Great insight my brother!

  2. Deborah says:

    A great post, David. A real gem. And HOW do you have any writing in you after your 40-day written offering over Lent??? Well done and much appreciated.

  3. Janet Sigsworth says:

    Deborah, I would think maybe he finds it in his quiet corner! Oh Lord, help your Bride find her quiet corner in You.
    Blessings, Janet.

    • David Timms says:

      Janet, we might wonder what Christ could do through us collectively if we all cultivated the quiet corner with Him. So easy to slip from that place! I appreciate your prayer.

  4. Bob Basile says:

    well, this is the third time I’ve read this devotion. There could not be more apt description of my life. I’m done dodging. what I’m struggling with is simple. why, at 55, am I so easily deterred? one would think I would recognize the center by now, and gravitate toward it. I recognize that Paul grappled with the same thing in Romans 7. but that sure doesn’t make it any easier! thank you for your word.

    • David Timms says:

      Bob, I wonder if our dodging, struggling, and grappling is precisely the problem. I suspect it is the case for me. How about the discipline of building the phrase “A Quiet Center” into a spiritual mantra for ourselves that we repeat constantly to call ourselves to be attentive to God before we speak or act? Pondering this with you ….

  5. Linda says:

    Lovely 🙂

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