Have you ever noticed how hard it is to be quiet? Among the many noises that clamor and ring, we add TV’s and devices that fill the air with a cacophony that distracts and dissuades us from thinking too deeply. We think somehow its necessary to block out silence with a wall of sound, disabling our ability to hear anything well.
No wonder we often feel scattered and detached.
One of the hardest things that I have had to learn in the season I am in, is to be still. In the not too distant past, my home was humming, teaming with life that came with the patter of little feet. There was always a story being told, a heart needing to explain what it felt, an idea wanting to be expressed. The vibration of energy was constant and good and alive. Even in the difficult moments, we thrived in the noisiness.
Of course, I miss those days. But in the transition, there is something new to embrace. I am learning to listen for it in the quiet.
Somewhere along the way, we have lost the appreciation that silence can be golden. We are afraid of the quiet. We keep a constant background of noise to fill the empty spaces inside our heads. We don’t want to think about certain things. We don’t want to acknowledge that sometimes, even when living with others, we can feel alone. We equate solitude with loneliness, and so we jam the airwaves with anything we can find to counter it.
Anything, that is, except what we need the most. To listen deeply to our own selves.
This is not an easy thing to do. We want the deepest parts of us to be pushed down so that they cannot disrupt what we think should only concern our present day life. Old wounds and conflicts and things we have or have not done, all seep up to the surface when we are quiet. We don’t want to be reminded of them. We don’t think they have relevance to who we are now.
But they do. They always do.
It is counter intuitive, but everything we want in life starts with addressing what keeps rising up inside us. We can’t just “start over” without first tying up loose ends. Apologizing, mending, freeing up the space within us that harbors blame, unforgiveness, woundedness… There is peace to be made, healing to embrace, acceptance to give to our circumstances and to others affected by them.
All of this — all of it — starts first with quiet.
The world is good at glossing over things. We blare out acceptance and tolerance and “live and let live” mentalities on our social media, advertising, and bumper stickers. We justify and patronize and acquiesce to belong to this group or that… But we never do this with ourselves.
We need quiet to still all the competing voices in our heads. We need to listen within us for the calling of God to focus, to center, to be okay with pushing the rest aside and dealing - really dealing - with what conflicts within our spirits.
We don’t have to be everyones’ friend. We don’t have to believe the things that get jammed down our throats by the news or trends or faux outrage. We don’t have to be afraid of our own thoughts, our own voices, even if they are contrary to others who we love and care about.
We need to learn to be still.
Even Jesus would leave his disciples and go out to be by Himself to pray, to hear the voice of His father. He knew that in order to fully understand His purpose, to be at peace within His spirit, He had to spend time seeking it. He could not give away to others all He had without first being filled Himself.
And so it is with us. So much is expected of us, in our work, in our families and relationships, in our quest to be accepted by people who have no bearing on who we are or what we need. This is all noise that we must learn to tune out at times so we can hear from our own inner truth.
Prayer, meditation, journaling, just sitting in the early morning silence, all center us. Yes, there are things we must think deeply on. Problems, hurts, fears — we all have them. It is in the quiet that we learn to give them to God, to surrender, to accept that we were never meant to be perfect. We are loved unconditionally by our Father, and in ways big and small, sometimes that’s all we need to know.
It’s hard to be quiet. It’s hard to tune out the world and force yourself to hear what your heart is telling you.
Listen to the deep still voice. It’s the voice beyond the chatter of blame and condemnation and inadequacy. It’s the voice of the Lord who calls you into relationship because He loves you, He knows you, He wants you to partake of His peace. He wants for us to lay it all down and be refreshed in what He - not the world - wants to give you: Acceptance without conditions.
His voice is calling to be quiet so that you can hear Him.
It is golden. It is truth. It is peace.