I will never forget the day I came home from work to find my wife hiding in the bathroom. Our kids were ages six, three, and six months. It wasn’t Cathy’s parenting style to medicate the children to quiet them down–or medicate herself to pursue peace. She was simply in the desperate search for noiselessness. There have been many days in her life as Mommy when she has longed for a slice of silence. There’s just something so necessary about silence.
Think about all the noise that is around you whether you want it or not. All day long you experience noise: commuting noise, human noise, media noise, advertising noise, disaster noise, advice noise, shopping noise, reality-TV noise–so much clatter that it even forces the noise level to rise in order to hear or be heard.
Yet, an essential ingredient of connecting with God and growing spiritually is pursuing quiet. It’s that simple…and in a world inherently noisy, it’s that complex too. Fortunately, pursuing stillness doesn’t mean you have to become a monk and stay mute for a year. You don’t have to enclose your house in insulating bubble wrap. You don’t even have to burn your rock ‘n’ roll CDs on your front lawn or destroy your TV. Instead, just allow yourself to be quiet. Consciously choose no noise. Clear out the noise of worry. Turn off the clamor of consumption. Silence the noise of procrastination. Turn down the noise of your life in small ways. Doable. Practical. Attainable. Even undersized times of quiet will add up and bring big rewards.
What happens when we’re quiet? We are more apt to hear the voice of God, for God often speaks through silence. Maybe in a time of silence, a name comes to mind and we know we need to go to that person and reconcile a hurt. Or perhaps in the quiet, a specific situation–one that requires confession–suggests itself. When there is silence, we may even hear the voice of God saying, “I love you” through His creation.
God is not distant. He wants to connect with you. You just need to find quiet in order to hear Him in the whispers of life. You can do it, right now, this moment. I know you can! Take five minutes and stop the noise. Don’t go on to another task. Just turn off the noise and consciously be quiet. Deliberately focus your thoughts away from the distractions of the day and move them toward God.
When the noise is gone, be prepared to connect with God!
1. Have your experiences with quiet and/or silence made you want it more often or less often? Why?
2. Where is the noise currently the loudest in your life? What may need to change for you to enjoy quiet?