Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In Defense of a Moment of Silence

Our ears are overflowing with sound throughout the day. Coworkers, children, TV, radio, trains, horns honking, construction, alarms and timers going off, and so on. Beyond that, we have the "noise" of browsing the Internet, reading the newspaper, even looking at billboards as we drive past them, and the general buzz of an endless string of thoughts and concerns that fills our minds.

At times, I have even been known to sabatoge perfectly peaceful quiet moments by seeking to fill the silence -- turning on the TV just to hear the sound of another person's voice when I'm home alone, reading a book, listening to the radio in the car, or flipping mindlessly through a magazine. There's nothing wrong with any of those things in particular. But if we're constantly giving in to the "noise," we may be missing out on something even better.

Is there space in your life to hear what God might want to tell you? Is there a time when you allot even a few minutes here and there to just being with Him, knowing that He loves you and you love Him, without an agenda? I've sensed lately that God has been nudging me to learn to take pleasure simply in being with Him and contemplating Him.

I am the mom of a preschooler, so I can't get away very often for personal retreat time. Maybe you have similar personal constraints (really, blessings!). That doesn't mean we're exempt from creating bits of silence in our lives. The bits might just be smaller or less frequent than we might have time for in other seasons of life -- but the point is to be mindful of creating some space instead of rushing to fill the potential segments of time with mindless "noise" like I am often guilty of.

No one's time was under more demands than Jesus -- he had disciples constantly asking him questions and looking to him for wisdom and guidance, crowds following his every move, Pharisees and Saduccees looking to challenge him, sick people crying out to be healed, and much more! And yet we see multiple examples of him withdrawing for some time with the Father (and there were likely countless more that went undocumented -- after all, we don't get an account of every meal he ate or every little thing he did on a daily basis). "But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray." Luke 5:16

My goal for now is to be more mindful, more aware of potential bits of time when I can truly quiet my mind and be with God throughout my day. It doesn't have to be a long stretch of time. It could be as simple as stepping out my back door, breathing in the fresh air, listening to the birds sing, saying a prayer of thankfulness to God, telling Him I love Him, and then being silent for a moment so I can listen, just like in a regular conversation with someone I love.