We live in a very noisy world. It’s a truth you don’t often realize until you find yourself in a quiet place. Silence is almost deafening. It feels awkward and unnatural. But I’m beginning to learn that the art of silence is life changing.
For as long as I can remember I have slept with a fan on. The reason I do is not to keep cool. It’s so the room isn’t completely silent. I’m not sure when I started doing this, but I have come to live by it.
A few weeks ago I was at a conference in Atlanta. After spending the day exhausting my mental energy, I crawled into bed and closed my eyes. That’s when the terrifying realization hit me. The room was deathly quiet! I couldn’t fall asleep without some noise.
What was I to do? The air conditioner was not loud enough. The TV never puts me to sleep so was not an option. Oh boy…the silence was going to kill me.
It finally hit me that I had a noise-making app (because there’s an app for everything) which helps you fall asleep. I turned it on and before I knew it I was in dream land.
The Noise of Life
Our lives are a lot like my sleeping habits, aren’t they? We move so fast all of the time that when we are faced with silence it’s almost hard to bear. It’s not always our fault. The culture we live in almost forces us to move at breakneck speed and looks down upon margin and being still. It’s hard to battle against, but I believe it’s important that we do.
Whenever I take time, to be still and embrace the silence, I always gain so much strength and wisdom. I slow down enough to let my life, and God, speak to me. Through prayer and meditation or through simply choosing to be silent, I open myself up to what is actually going on inside of me. That’s a scary thing to do, but oh so vital.
Even Mother Teresa thinks so. Listen to her sage advice.
“We all must take the time to be silent and to contemplate, especially those who live in big cities like London and New York, where everything moves so fast. . . . I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks. God is the friend of silence — we need to listen to God because it’s not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters. Prayer feeds the soul — as blood is to the body, prayer is to the soul — and it brings you closer to God. It also gives you a clean and pure heart. A clean heart can see God, can speak to God, and can see the love of God in others.” — Mother Teresa
“God is a friend of silence.” Wow, what an idea and one that I never thought much about! It’s always in the times I slow down enough to quietly listen that I learn the most about myself and the world around me. It’s in those moments I allow God to speak instead of just rushing through my day, hoping he intervenes on my behalf.
So here’s a challenge for you (and me) today. Let’s take a couple of minutes and let the silence in. Turn off the music. Shut down your phone. Allow God to speak to you in the quiet of the moment. It will be tough and your mind will probably wander. That’s ok. Just allow yourself to enjoy the lost art of silence.
Question: Do you spend much time in silence? What do you think will happen if you make this a daily practice?