I want to write about one of the most painful words in our culture. Silence.
See, just the thought of it hurts. We don’t like being silent. We like lots of noises around us. Music, TV, radio, Wii, etc.
Silence hurts. You think I am kidding but I’m not! Create an atmosphere for just one hour where there is no noise around you and you aren’t talking! It hurts.
If you accomplish this experiment, way to go! Here is the next phase of the experiment. Quiet your soul for an hour. Even when our physical surroundings are quiet our minds can be racing with all of the pictures and activities that have been going on all around us. This is really painful to do. It is almost torture. It is not easy to do and I don’t like being silent and still.
The discipline of silence is a biblical principle that moderns have forgotten and Christians centuries ago did. Who cares you are probably thinking?
If you don’t practice silence then you will never get beyond superficial thinking and living.
If we keep noise going then we can’t think about what we are doing, should be doing, who we are, or who we aren’t. External and internal noise keeps us from thinking on eternal things. Noise can also mask the chaos within us that we don’t won’t to face.
Stillness in our culture is for losers, slow people, and those who will never amount to anything. Movement, now that is where it is at!
In our culture silence is a vacuum that must be filled. But our Church fathers and people in the Bible often speak of the need of being still to know that He is God.
True – in the end accomplishment requires movement. But movement for the sake of movement just causes a lot of activity that makes you think you are moving but you are actually just walking around in circles doing the same unproductive things over and over.
Activity brings many words. But silence brings understanding and knowledge out of the words.
Remember the story about Job in the Bible? He got much advice from his friends. Then at the end the Lord said:
“Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? (Job 38:1-2 NIV)”
It is in silence that we process things and separate the good from the bad.
I am challenging myself to longer periods of silence. 5 minutes anyone?