Cultivating a Quiet Heart in a Noisy and Demanding World

from 8 reviews

31-day devotional that helps women find peace among the busyness, noise and pressures of life.

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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 centring their hearts on Christ so that they can live with a clear focus, a quiet confidence and a steady peace.

This book is for those who…
• feel overwhelmed and long for quieter spaces that allow for thoughtful reflections and honest conversations.
• want to balance time spent online with non-digital activities and invest in real-life relationships.
• desire a deeper quality of life beyond the online culture of noise, outrage and self-promotion.

Product details


  • Introduction : Searching for Sanctuary
    Day 1. Where Strength Is Found
    Day 2. A New Identity in a New World
    Day 3. The Mirrors in Our Hands
    Day 4. Having a One-Thing Heart
    Day 5. A Place of Refuge
    Day 6. When Light Pierces Darkness
    Day 7. The Grace of Good Work
    Day 8. A Timely Heart X-Ray
    Day 9. To Be Seen and Understood
    Day 10. The Encouragement We Really Need
    Day 11. A Different Choice on a Different Day
    Day 12. The Hands That Serve
    Day 13. When Small Things Matter in Big Ways
    Day 14. The Question We Must Settle
    Day 15. Of Comfort and Conviction
    Day 16. Known by Love
    Day 17. This Is Just the Overture
    Day 18. The Pursuit of Less
    Day 19. Loss Can Either Define or Refine
    Day 20. Where We Turn When Life Turns Hard
    Day 21. Even on the Far Side of the Sea
    Day 22. The Habit of Gathering
    Day 23. The Power of Silence
    Day 24. Where Our Focus Lies
    Day 25. Vessels of Purpose
    Day 26. From the Overflow
    Day 27. A Sweet Respite for the Soul
    Day 28. A Life Poured Out
    Day 29. After a Little While
    Day 30. A Sanctuary of Praise
    Day 31. A New Sojourn Begins
    Epilogue: A Blessing for Your Journey

Free extras


Contributors Denise J. Hughes
ISBN 9781784988180
Format Paperback
First published December 2022
Dimensions 135mm x 216mm x 20mm
Weight 0.28 kg
Language English
Pages 224
Publisher The Good Book Company

Linda Allcock

Author, Deeper Still

Powerfully yet gently, Denise exposes the noise that fills our lives and leads us on a journey towards the peace that God alone gives. This book will do your heart good.

Kristen Wetherell

Ministry Content Manager, Unlocking the Bible, and co-author of Hope When It Hurts

My head is so busy and my heart is often so heavy that Denise’s book was a gift to me. Who doesn’t yearn for a true sanctuary from all the noise and expectations? I appreciate her commitment to all of Scripture, her engaging stories, and her warmth in coming alongside those who read. In a culture that tells us to seek rest anywhere else but in Christ, Sanctuary is a helpful guide for the restless heart.

Wendy Speake

Author, The 40-Day Sugar Fast and The 40-Day Feast

This book is right on time! We are in desperate need of sanctuary. Denise invites us into a deeply restful rhythm of grace—that we might re-emerge with peace and purpose as lights for Christ.

Customer reviews

19 Jun 2024

“Loved this devo!”

I loved this devotional. The cover is beautiful, and Denise Hughes' writing is powerful. In a world dominated by social media, this devotional helps us refocus on Jesus and find true peace.

The devotional is structured over 31 days, with each day comprising around three pages that include thoughtful questions and a concluding prayer. The content is both relatable and easy to understand, making it accessible to a wide audience.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

14 Mar 2023

“Relating, not running away”

If like me you are of an age, inclination or profession that has allowed you to avoid, ignore or side-step the clutches of most social media and perhaps other external intrusions into your life, do not make the mistake of thinking that this book is not for you. Hughes challenges us to recognise the source of the real noise in our lives – ourselves – and the need to be intentional about creating both physical and emotional spaces of quiet, regardless of lifestyle and responsibilities, personality or technological aptitude or inclination. If you have every struggled to focus when you’ve picked up your bible to read, or settled to pray, then this is the book for you.

Grounded in biblical accounts and challenges, and using true-life illustrations and a mix of reflective questions and practical suggestions, Hughes takes us on a 31-day journey; encouraging us to find our ‘sanctuary’, a place of strength and spiritual growth from which we can serve a hurting world, not run from it; a place that allows us to stay connected to the world around us without being drained, exhausted or overloaded by it,

19 Jan 2023

“Freedom From the Noise”

Where can we find rest and safety from social media? In Sanctuary, Denise J. Hughes delivers a plan for cultivating a quiet heart in a noisy and demanding world.

Living a Quiet Life

The theme of “living a quiet life” echoes throughout this book. This refers to 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, and Hughes helps us see how it means to live with dependence on God. It is a life free from constant noise and hustle, and it is a life defined by purpose rather than ambition. Hughes gives a brief theology of technology, specifically focusing on how social media has become the place where we shape our identities. She calls us back to the sanctuary of God’s presence, where we can rest in being a new creation and having our new identity in Christ.

Hughes stays extremely relatable throughout the book. She speaks of being emotionally drained and spiritually empty. She speaks of her tendency towards overcommitment. She speaks of venting in a group text and different sins that can take place in our technological world. Hughes covers a lot of ground, helping us have more discernment with our social media habits.

Freedom from the Noise

This book would be a great read for young adults who feel the weight of the social media world, or for older saints who feel distracted and distraught with their social media habits. The book ends by saying that the Christian can be free of the noise of social media, saying that we can find all of the encouragement and help we need from the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us. This was refreshing to me, and reminded me that Christ does not need the tools of social media for the sanctification of our souls. We can put our phones and social media apps away. He has given us everything we need.

I received a media copy of Sanctuary and this is my honest review.

17 Jan 2023

“Helpful Reflections”

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.

This book 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.

Note: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

15 Dec 2022

“An Encouraging Daily Read”

This made a lovely gift for a friend who had a few big questions about what living as a Christian as a woman looked like in practice. Looking at 1 Thessalonians 4 alongside other passages, Hughes writes a month’s worth of refreshing daily devotions which are really encouraging to read. Not only does she write a devotional full of personal stories, but she then also turns that into something more practical by looking at how to live out the commands from 1 Thessalonians 4 (contemplating, cultivating and praying). It’s a lovely gift for a Christian woman

14 Dec 2022

“Devotion on Contentment”

This is the first work I've read of Denise Hughes and honestly didn't know what to expect. Sanctuary: Cultivating a Quiet Heart in a Noisy and Demanding World is a 31-day devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 4 and how Paul describes and instructs people to live a content life.
I'm pretty sure that everyone would agree that contentment is an issue in today's world, including the Western Church. Each day you have a scripture, commentary, and then application of what she calls "Tuning in to Quiet". In the application section, there are 3 parts: Contemplate, Cultivate, & Pray.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.

7 Dec 2022

“A Quiet Life is the Best Life”

In a noisy world that continuously pushes us to be more, do more and say more, it’s countercultural—even counterproductive—to do the opposite, on purpose. And yet, in this lovely book, Denise Hughes gently explains why pursuing a quiet life is perhaps the best way to encounter God and find the peace that only He can provide. If your heart longs for sanctuary, this encouraging and practical devotional will show you how and where to find it.

21 Nov 2022


I've never heard of Hughes prior to this devotional but I was pleased with her presentation.

Sanctuary is structured as a thirty-one day devotional that takes you through a journey of quietness. Specifically referring to 1 Thessalonians 4 where Paul speaks of living a quiet, content life.

Each devotional follows the same format:

- Scripture reference

- Hughes writings

- Tuning In To Quiet: Contemplate, Cultivate, Pray

Hughes writes with a very honest, raw style as she shares some of her personal journeys to finding the quiet life.

One of my favorite quotes: To cultivate a quiet heart is to live free from the pursuit of more.

She ends the devotional with a Blessing For Your Journey. This is where she describes the quiet life as an ongoing process, not simply a one and done situation. She provides thirty-one practical ways to live out the quiet life, ones that can easily be repeated along the journey to quietness.

I received a copy of this book from The Good Book Company in exchange for an honest review.

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Sanctuary | Denise J. Hughes |