It is true that when one sense is dulled, others become keener.
For several weeks, I’ve been driven towards silence more so than usual. Not the silence of my surroundings, but of my own voice. An inner silence.
This wasn’t by choice, I can assure you. It drew me. Or better yet, I was compelled to grab hold of silence.
The volume of this world has reached a near-shrieking pitch, and I have found myself screaming all the more within myself, simply to drown out the roars that pierce my soul.
Usually, my go-to method of dealing with exasperation is to think more...try to understand more…performing mental gymnastics to try to wrap my mind around the “whats”, “whys”, and “hows” surrounding all that is happening. Somehow, I think to myself, “If only I could figure this out, then I would understand what I should do next.” Like an over-stuffed file cabinet, my mind could not hold one more “file”. My thoughts were spilling out in haphazard, bulging folders - random pieces of information scattered about.
Silence is golden. It is valuable and rare. It is its own teacher and task master. It requires from us the exercise of self-control which is not often flexed in our lives (and much less, in our world). It goes against our human nature which seems to crave the ecstasy of accomplishment, know-how, assurance, and capability. Much like the self-control required to keep oneself from scratching a sudden, fierce itch, silence asks us to employ every effort we have in order to refrain from our natural efforts.
So, I got quiet. Very quiet. No more writing. No more trying to figure it out. No more screaming above the rising din of Life. Below is just a short list of some things I’ve heard in my silence, and I wanted to share them with you:
1. I am limited. There is an end to who I am and what I can do, comprehend, and know. My limits are okay. I have less control than I think I do. Trusting the Lord with all my heart, requires that I “lean not on my own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). The noise around me and within me will never bring the understanding I long for – only trusting God will accomplish clarity.
2. I am happiest when I am watching Life unfold, rather than orchestrating how I think it should be. This is not by coincidence; it is the way God designed it to be. The less there is of me, the more there is of God. My choice to silence my own inner voice, allows God’s purpose, presence, and provision to fill the space that was once filled with “me”, with all of my thoughts, plans, and expectations. My heart is continually grateful when I see Him more clearly.
3. Living “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” means that I must fully receive the Word of God. I cannot merely taste (read) it. I must fully digest (meditate on) it. Otherwise, I will become spiritually emaciated. Silence is the “holy of holies” for the mysterious revelation of God to my whole being. It is where God does His deepest work in me.
4. “There is…a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3). Both “times” have holy purpose and equal importance in my life. Fulfilling God’s calling on my life will flow out of fully embracing all the seasons I walk through.
5. Not knowing what God is doing in my season of trusting silence does not mean that God isn’t doing anything. Mankind cannot fathom or explain the expanse of Creation, nor the mysterious workings of our own bodies. Yet, God has accomplished both – without our knowing or understanding. And He continues to “hold all things together” (Col. 1:17). Even if I do not understand God’s purpose for this season of silence, I can trust that He is still working – silently – within me, my family, my city, my country, my world. He will accomplish all that He has purposed, regardless of my own understanding. In this silence, peace flows like a river (Isaiah 66:12).
Do you embrace seasons of silence in your life? Do you feel yourself torn between “waiting on the Lord” and “working with all of your might”? What things do you do to nurture a quietness of soul? When was the last time you spent time listening rather than explaining?
If you are feeling hurried, pressured, defeated, rushed, overwhelmed, berated, and un-connected, I hope you can grab hold of some silence within. Who knows what God will do in these holy pauses!