Choosing Silence: Being Still in an Over-Stimulating World
I am not accustomed to quiet. Growing up as the oldest of ten children, a majority of whom were boys, loud the was default. Toddlers don’t tiptoe, they stomp. Little boys rush through with a bombardment of pirate adventures and little girls run away squealing with delight. The sounds of life were never far from my ears.
When I moved into a house of my own, I was shocked at how the quiet affected me. Silence was an uncomfortable companion. I longed for the bustle that annoyed me in high school. TV and music quickly filled the background space. As time’s progressed, my noise as become more productive. Podcasts kept my ears active with information and thought-provoking discussions. Talk radio kept me up to date on the latest happenings in the world. Although, I am starting to wonder more and more if the noise was as productive as I assumed.
A few months ago, I was struck with an ear infection that drops and antibiotics just couldn’t seem to rid me of. Noise, any amount of noise, felt like gongs ringing deep in my head. So the radio was shut off and books were picked up exchange for television.
And the silence was an unexpected blessing.
Not to long ago, silence would have been the default. Our drive to work would have been time to think, not time to be assaulted noise. Instead of letting others tell us what to think about, our minds could wander naturally.
I propose we bring back silence into our days. Unlike the days of old, we now have to be intentional about cultivating time of quiet. We have to chose to silence our phones, to turn off our radios, and to patiently train our minds to seek time to be still.
“Be still and know that I am God.” -Psalm 46:10
Our stillness has a purpose. It allows us to be quite to reflect on the nature of God. We have a chance to focus on the goodness of what He has done, to allow our minds to wander over His blessings. We need to seek quiet and calm.
Bringing our bodies into stillness is not a passive act these days but, even in a quiet time, I think it still involved work. Being still, taking captive our thoughts, these are all commands given to shepherds and farmers. If there was anyone who would have instinctively had this opportunity, it would have been them. Even they needed to be reminded.
So if they needed to be intentional, how much more must we?
Let’s set our practice early in the day of seeking stillness before the Lord. Instead of turning on our radio or grabbing the remote, what if we turned our mind to prayer? What would our days look like if the quiet moments were spent pouring over the Lord’s words and opening our hearts to Him?
The sounds of life, of laughter and tears, don’t need to be ignored. As Ecclesiastes tells us, there is a season for everything. But let us not ignore the calm, quiet seasons to stillness in the presence of God.