Sanctuary: Cultivating a Quiet Heart in a Noisy and Demanding World – Denise J. Hughes

Sanctuary Denise J. Hughes
Sanctuary: Cultivating a Quiet Heart in a Noisy and Demanding World by Denise J. Hughes
Published by Good Book Company on January 1, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Devotional
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Devotions for women that provide a refuge from the loud, restless world, where God’s truth can be clearly heard.

Whether it’s the TV or radio continually playing in the background or the persistent pinging on our phones, the constant noise and frenetic pace of modern life can be overwhelming. The cacophony of cultural messages that permeate the air produces an inner restlessness that says, “You should be doing more, saying more, posting more, and sharing more.”

More than ever, we need sanctuary, not only as a refuge from the noise around us but also as a place where God’s truth can be clearly heard.

This 31-day devotional explores what it means, and what it looks like in very practical ways, to lead the “quiet life” Paul speaks of in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. Readers will come to see that a quiet life doesn’t mean escaping from the world around them but centering their hearts on Christ so that they can live with a clear focus, a quiet confidence, and a steady peace.

This thirty-one day devotional for women is about finding peace and quietness in the midst of a fast-paced, hectic world. The author, Denise J. Hughes, writes about her own challenges with social media overuse and workaholic behaviors, and shares some of the lessons she has learned about how to accept her limits, pursue a quiet heart, and hear God’s voice over the noise of the world. The readings are all about four to seven pages long, sometimes with one page that highlights a main quote. They all open with a short Bible verse, and conclude with contemplation questions, ideas for putting that reading’s ideas into practice, and an example prayer.

Sanctuary: Cultivating a Quiet Heart in a Noisy and Demanding World will encourage Christian women to consider practical ways that they can slow down and prevent themselves from burning out physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The book is appropriate for women in various stages of life, and although devotionals with a single theme can often become repetitive, I found that this book had sufficient variety with all of the different Scriptural stories and reflections that the author included about the concept of sanctuary and meeting with God.

My main critique is that the constant emphasis on quietness can make it seem like this book is mainly for introverts. One of the readings addresses this concern, and Hughes explains why these core concepts apply to both introverts and extroverts, but this appeared very late in the book. I think this explanation should have come sooner, and I wish that Hughes had included examples throughout about how extroverted women can pursue spiritual quietness even when they are less easily overwhelmed and have louder personalities. Overall, any women can glean value from this book, but more acknowledgment of different personalities would have been helpful.