"Let all that I am wait quietly before the God, for my hope is in Him." Psalms 62:5
As I am learning for myself, silence is so very important. Just has one-on-one time is important to a husband and wife relationship, so is creating a space for silence to listen to God speak to us. In silence, in the absence of outside noises to distract us, we can nurture an ear for hearing God's still small voice. In that space we can make room for heightened gratitude, new mental connections, mediations on God's promises and new conclusions about God's character. In quiet, we can be better prepared to pray, to speak the longings of our hearts and hear God answer them.
But, we have create a space. Silence, especially in our modern world is virtually impossible, or so it seems. There is noise everywhere, and we can literally surround ourselves with it from morning til night - even when we are alone, even in solitude.
Silence in our world is foreign. Odd. Weird. Bizarre. To have a space that isn't filled with music, words, news, kids, families, and other sounds of activity takes work. Sometimes, a lot of work. We have to purposefully create a space of quiet - to be willing to shut off the noise we have perhaps unintentionally surrounded ourselves with. To note the things that are distracting our minds, our bodies, and our spirits and shut them off.
Here are some things I am working on to be purposeful about creating space for silence:
* Rising early. This is one is huge for me. Not everyone is a big appreciator of early mornings, but there is something sacred about that space in time while the world is still slow. That space allows for a purposeful dedication for the day, and allows for an appreciate of the fresh and new mercies of the morning.
Being a mom of boys, our chaos starts the second the kids wake up. To beat them by even a few minutes is a win in my book.
* Turn off the noise. When I am looking for the space, I am quicker to note when I am filling my surroundings with noise. I immediately turn on the radio when we are in the car, or flip on the news while I am cooking dinner. In my desire for productivity, I find I am wanting to fill potential space of quiet with something that will quality as getting things done. But, for the moments when I need silence to hear, I am learning its okay to turn off the music, news and just do dishes in quiet. Its okay.
While it may not be perfect silence, I find that just removing a few things helps bring my mind into focus.
Sidenote, often when I create space for quiet while my kids are around (i.e., the car) they often use that time to be quiet themselves. Or, take that time to share things on their heart that may not bring me closer to God (or maybe they will), but often they are things that will bring them closer to understanding God themselves. Silence isn't just for me.
* Get away. When I am craving silence in the middle of chaos, sometimes I just get away from the noise for a moment. Maybe it is by taking a quick walk (or drive) around the block, taking a trip to the creek, hiding in my bedroom, or just go in the bathroom and close the door. A clean bathroom with a fan on can create some nice emergency quiet :)
* Train your family. Yes, you can teach your kids that quiet is ok. Being home 24 hours a day together, having a space midday that is mandated quiet, is a given in our house. Its not silent, per se, but quiet. The kids know that is what we are doing - mom is going to disappear (mostly to my office, or room) and they are expected to do a quiet thing for at least an hour.
We actually look forward to this part of our day. We plan around it. We know that no matter the business of the day, at some point there will be quiet. Kids even as young as infants can appreciate there being moments where things settle. Where the TV, video games, or music is off. Where voices are stilled and we are just quiet for a bit. Even if things are silent, they can feel less busy by design.
Its a good practice to teach our kids, and maybe it will be easier for them than it is for us because of it.
* Stop talking. Genius. I know. I didn't realize how often we mandate in our culture the need to fill space of quiet with talk. In the car with our kids, over dinner, sitting in the room together - it seems weird to not speak. In the media, the one who wants to assert the power is the one who talks the loudest, is the rudest, is the one who gets more words in. How often do I create unnecessary noise with my own lips? So often.
I am in the beginning stages of establishing a relationship with a Spiritual Director. Her most powerful tool so far is silence. She will ask a question or pose a consideration, and then just wait. She will watch me for ques that I am thinking deeply, and she will just ...wait. It was odd at first, but then strangely intimate. She draws me into a deeper awareness with God by her silence. Her quiet allows me to listen to God for myself. She also waits for words to share - and doesn't speak until they come.
It has encouraged me to consider that same thing with others. Just, hush. Let them process in quiet. Let them be silent and think. Let them figure it out.
I had a situation with my 12-year old this week - he wanted to talk, but like so many adolescents he had a hard time forming words. I practiced silence to help draw him out. It worked. His heart longings eventually were shared, and oh, they were the things momma's hearts need so much to hear.
Hush, sweet sis. Just be quiet. Shut out the noises. Let the quiet nurture your heart. Don't give up quiet moments to worthless noise. Create the space for the quiet. You need it.
What do you do to create that space? Do tell, we need to hear all the ideas we can get!