Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Silence

(Julie Davis)

Did you hear that?

Probably not.

Our ears and minds are full of the sounds of fancy ringtones. Kids asking questions about homework. A supervisor telling us we overspent the budget. The thunk of the soccer ball. “I need you to sign my permission slip.” Five-second snatches of reality shows . . . cooking shows . . . shopping shows . . . sports . . . newscasts that fly by as we flip through the channels.

Some of us want to hear that empty, quiet space up there for a while. One friend lamented to me recently that her life is now so void of personal space that she no longer has any “interior thought life,” as she called it. Many of us, though, are content to only give lip-service to the idea of having silence in our lives.

Why?

For a lot of us, having regular silence would require us to set boundaries--both those that limit what we will do for others, and those that limit what we will do for ourselves. Some of us fear silence because we don’t want to be alone with our own thoughts, or we fear what God might say to us if we were still enough to listen.

For some of us, though, silence has been used in the past as a weapon against us. Conflict with a parent, a sibling, or a spouse led to days or weeks or even years of “the silent treatment.” Perhaps we’ve suffered discrimination or humiliation, when someone who had the power to bring change chose to stay silent instead of speaking. Some of us have endured years of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse--trapped in our circumstances by our silence or the silence of others whom we asked for help.

Jesus has the power to redeem all things, though, so--regardless of your past experience with silence--the practice of silence can now be a tool that you can use to be mindful of the Lord, and the Lord can use to bless you. This discipline is NOT the “emptying of the mind” practiced by proponents of the New Age; instead, it is reflected by scriptures such as Psalm 131:2--”But I have stilled and quieted my soul.”

We can probably think of some “traditional” ways to practice silence: while meditating on a verse of Scripture, for instance, or while thinking a prayer. But, there are other ways to use silence as a tool toward spiritual growth. I can honor other people and their thoughts--particularly those who are not quick to speak--by choosing sometimes to keep all my fabulous ideas to myself for a while. I can choose to spend some time in silence as a memorial for unborn children who were aborted--who never had a chance to make a sound. I can choose a period of silence to be mindful about and in prayer for people whose voices are not valued by the governments and institutions that keep them oppressed. I can be silent as a way of remembering and praying for persecuted Christians whose voices are silenced when they speak for Christ.

I can _________________________.

How will you fill in the blank?

6 comments:

Marylou Messy said...

I can hear God's beautiful voice in the silence!!!!

Robert said...

I can, in times of loneliness and deep sorrow, hear God as He comes and speaks with comforting words of hope.

Donna said...

at least try once a week to quiet my mind to listen. A start that possibly can become a welcomed habit.

Bonnie said...

Donna, I too am hoping it becomes a welcomed habit. I can start by practicing being quiet. I like to do the talking when I talk to God. By practicing I can strengthen my "quiet" muscles and build on that a bit at a time -- and give HIM time to speak.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! My body clock is really good about waking up around 5am every morning. It is really what I look forward to every morning~getting my nice cup of coffee in my "Fresh Brewed Life" mug and sitting in my big rocking chair in my kitchen meditating on God's word. I loved the winter time when I would get up and it was so nice and dark outside~I would light one of my pretty candles and have my alone time with the Lord. I love meditating on a scripture verse that involves Jesus and how he shows such love and compassion for the children and the women he meets up with. Then I pray for all those women and children out in the world that are suffering and need need comfort from our Lord. I wait for Jesus to answer with my eyes closed and I can always feel His goodness~His comfort~it's a feeling that is hard to describe. But it seems to be a feeling of bliss~His beautiful love in my heart. I can picture Jesus at Mary and Martha's house ~with mary sitting at his feet listening to His stories, with Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb~she is so excited to see Him she just wants to reach out and hug Him,the children who could sense a special love for them coming out of Him, the woman to be stoned.I can go on and on. I just wish I could have been there with Jesus. Blessings, Rose

Sister Cindy said...

One of my favorite sayings is "Don't just do something, sit there!"

It took me a long time to realize the value of silence. I noticed one day that there are many oppurtunities in our every day lives to just listen--even for a moment. Like when I drive to work and am stuck on the Merritt. I now welcome that time and I see it as a God-given time of just listening. When I choose to listen, God always speaks to me--in a thought or a memory or a reminder of an old friend. Making the time to listen has become one of my favorite times of day...and the most valuable. I find that my heart is calmer, and I feel more connected to God, because I took the time to listen.