Daring to Live a Quiet Life: Obscurity, Contentment and Simple Living.

June 6, 2015

“When we read the life of the saints, we are struck by a certain large leisure which went hand in hand with remarkable effectiveness. They were never hurried; they did comparatively few things, and these not necessarily striking or important; and they troubled very little about their influence. Yet they always seemed to hit the mark…”

~ Brigid Herman, wife of a minister, turn of the twentieth century

I’ve always had the desire to live a different life. In fact, I have always felt different from other people. As a child, I preferred to sit in my room writing stories for the entire weekend and as a teenager, I preferred reading. My other friends were at the mall, playing sports or going to parties. I preferred peaceful solitude, a heart seeking depth, country-living, books devoted to the pursuit of God, deep conversations with my father and other pursuits. When Tim and I married and I finished university {something I chose to do for personal growth rather than career}, I only ever worked part-time. Caring for him and growing as a wife and homemaker were deeply important to me. Friends asked how many hours I worked and how I spent my days, and I felt embarrassed but deeply convicted that God had led me to do the right thing for our marriage. Even now, despite my children being so little, people have asked me what I will do when my children go to school, and I reply “Stay home” even though in my heart, I hope to home educate them.
This has a lot to do with my background. My parents always taught me to think objectively about life. When I got bullied, they helped me look at the heart of the children hurting me and how they might be hurting to make them hurt others. We would discuss current events and have intellectual discussions. Dad would push me to read deeper books than The Baby-Sitters Club from our incredibly large library {of over five thousand books – he was a professor in children’s literature, so go figure}. But more than all that, when my parents separated and I lived between houses in a suitcase from fifteen-years-old and made poor choices for my spirit, when God permanently drew me to him and I repented, broken and really hurting, he placed a deep longing in me for marriage, service, children and home. Stability, quietness, faithfulness, love.
I have never wanted career. I have never wanted busy. I have never wanted to join in with what the world is doing, even if I struggle sometimes with their idea of beauty and success and wealth. Just like the faith that was an anchored little fire burning in my heart from as early as I can remember, God has kept in me a surety that for my family, home and stability is my purpose for them. I need to show them that they are my ministry, they are more important than any pursuit that I could quite willingly choose. Having known the hurt of feeling like career is more important than me as a child, I don’t want that for my children and neither do I want my husband not to know, from daily-living truth, that our marriage is first. It’s not that I neglect the things that make my soul burn with joy and passion {hence, my blog for writing} but I know that a life of service for others is a true life of fulfillment.

Living against the grain is biblical, but not always prescriptive. I’m not saying that all Christians should pursue background living and that if they don’t, they’re disobeying God. God calls people to live in all areas of life for his glory and for his purposes. I personally believe, after much heart-seeking and Bible reading, that for mothers especially, simple, quiet living for the sake of the family is a rare but blessed thing. Rushed, frantic living does not benefit a child’s mind, heart and body. I am testament to this, it increased my anxiety and insecurity, things I still struggle with to this day.


Gone are the days where time can be taken slowly but effectively. It’s all about maximising the minutes with equal output now. And though God asks us to “number our days” {Psalm 92:12}, this is not always to be taken literally: rather, it’s about understanding our days are limited so live them fully for his glory in worship and service of him. When we learn to live this way, we “gain a heart of wisdom”. Wisdom living, it seems, is to “aspire to live a quiet life, attend to your own life and work with your hands” {1 Thessalonians 4:11}. The Amplified version of the Bible expands it this way:


“Make it your ambition and definitely endevour to live quietly and peacefully. to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands…so that you bear yourself becomingly and be correct and honourable and command the respect of the outside world…”

This is what Brigid Herman meant in the quote at the start where she said the saints of old “hit the mark”: they didn’t seek praise, popularity and acknowledgement; instead they quietly worked at their own lives and were consequently {by God’s will} productive in their kingdom work. She goes on to say:


“They were as free from self-regard as from slavery to the good opinions of others. God saw and God rewarded; what else needed they? They possessed God and themselves in God. Hence the inalienable dignity of these meek, quiet figures that seem to produce such marvelous effects with such humble materials.”


I cannot say that I am free from self-regard nor that I don’t struggle with wondering what people think of me. Blogging tempts the inner desire to be well-known immensely and it is a constant fine line of seeking God’s way for me and checking my heart for motives and intentions. Removing myself from Facebook has opened up a freedom from this enticement and I have not regretted it. It has been one step for me to making a quiet life my ambition. I don’t want to be afraid of being “unknown” in our “must be known” world of social media, instant news and how many likes we have. Seeking a quiet life of obscurity means knowing God sees and God rewards, and that is more than enough. It is plenty.


And every now and then, I am blessed beyond measure when my husband says from the comfort of our living room as I wash dishes, “Thank you for making a great home for us”. That is a joy to hear and would not be true if quiet living were not my aim.
  1. I love your posts! I've neen enjoying them one by one as I sit with our baby in the wee hours of the night. I, too, have sought a quieter existence and feel the exact way about leaving FB. My struggles are a bit greater in this area, but I know that a simpler lifestyle focused on God's purposes for our lives is far grander than the busy, distracted life this world offers. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful post.

  2. Veronica, you have so blessed me! And it just makes my heart feel good, imagining you feeding your babe reading my blog! I struggle a lot too, quite intensely at times, we just have to keep pursuing that which we know God wants of us. Bless you x

  3. You and I think *so* similarly! πŸ™‚ I have always wanted to be a wife and mama…and I am one. God has blessed me with a Godly husband and three beautiful children (we are entering our 8th year of homeschooling). Mmmm, yes…your words resonate well with me. πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoy your week ahead! πŸ™‚

  4. I love this, I too was not one for shopping or the mall as a teen. I loved to read, but never really attended any parties. I also love my quieter existence. A homemaker is what I've always wanted to be, and I dream of the day that I have children that I can raise (and home school). I hate that we live in a world where wanting to stay home and make everything for our family is frond upon.
    Keep up the good work, your family is benefiting greatly from it.

  5. I couldn't agree with you more. I have enjoyed living the set apart, quiet life for years now. My friends and family think I am strange but my immediate family loves the fact that I make it a priority to keep our home running smoothly and that it is always ready and waiting to welcome them back from their busy days away. They know there will always been clean clothes to wear, good food to eat and a listening ear whenever they want it. I am now a grandma and enjoy nothing more than spending quiet days at home with my 2 year old grandson. I hope once he is grown he will cherish these days as much as I do already. I love that he is content to play with sticks and rocks and loves nothing more than playing outside and when he gets tired he snuggles up with the dog and falls asleep for his afternoon nap- such precious moments. I view each one as a gift from God. How sad that so many people would rather spend time with their phone or Ipad.

  6. I am 59 yrs.old. I have always felt the same as you.I never wanted to be anything but a home-maker. I was accused of having no ambition when I was a teen because all I wanted to be was a wife and mother. I have been married for 39 years. I don't regret my decision at all and neither does my husband and two children.
    I love hearing young ladies say they want to be keepers at home.

  7. I am 52 years and a homemaker, married for 34 years, it has been worth every moment and i do not regret my decision to be at home. It is wonderful to find younger ladies that want to do the same.

  8. Hello, You my dear are a kindred spirit to a very blessed set apart ladies that want what we were created for! I just wanted to read this as it was the second part that I read first! I do hope to see you continue in this really important high calling!!
    Hugs, Roxy

  9. The desires you have expressed are my desires too. My favorite books to read are those set back in the 1700s or 1800s, when life was simpler. One of my favorite TV shows even still (at 55) is Little House on the Prairie. I could almost say I crave that wholesome life lived for God. I also love reading about the wives of the great saints before us, like Susannah Wesley and Susannah Edwards.

    I soaked up the Brigid Herman's quote you shared and the verse that it was inspired from.

    Your post enocuraged my heart this evening. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. I'm glad you enjoyed the quote! It came from a book called High Call, High Privilege by Gail MacDonald. It's written for ministry wives but her thoughts apply easily to all women. I am just like you, I love old books. I must write a post about all my favourites!

  11. I'm glad you are encouraged and it is always helpful hearing that all the hard work at home reaps the great reward later of good relationships with your family.

  12. Hi…thank you for your thoughts; I have been feeling and thinking the same things….feeling lonely among friends who don't always think alike.

  13. I LOVE this Sarah! You are hitting the mark before God, before your family and before the world! I have always been one to say yes to everything, because I am a people pleaser and never like to disappoint anyone but this past year I have really been learning the balance of saying yes and no and prioritizing. We all need to be minding our business more and leading quiet lives. I believe by doing so God will open up doors in ways we never imagined to impact those around us by being different and set apart.

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