Sometimes our worship band pauses between songs to spend a few moments in silent praise. Our worship leader told me that during those moments part of the congregation is clearly engaged, but another segment shuffles nervously or shows signs of impatience.
Why do so many find a few moments of silence awkward?
Because it is so foreign to how our society works. We are bombarded by noise (both audible and visual). We spend our days viewing screens, listening to music, and filling in-between moments with this week’s favorite smart phone app. We are “on” 24/7.
Quiet feels like a vacuum, the absence of all the stimuli and “productivity” that has become our normal mode of existence. I am an introvert, and have always craved times of quiet and solitude. Even so, I see in myself this habit of filling up every moment. When I finish a day’s work and it’s not quite time to start dinner, I find myself reaching for a Sudoku puzzle or a magazine to keep my mind busy.
Why? What am I afraid of?
I have been wrestling with this question. It is merely a matter of habit, an addiction to passive entertainment? Is it an attempt to escape from the anxieties lurking in the back of my head? Or is it Satan’s twisted method of keeping me from hearing what God would say, if I would ever slow down long enough to listen?
Whatever the reasons, (my bet is all three are true) I have been trying to resist the temptation to keep my brain occupied every waking moment. I have added a few moments of silent meditation to my morning quiet time routine. It is surprisingly difficult to keep my brain from wandering to some daily task, but I persist because I believe that my anemic efforts at listening for the still small voice are worthwhile.
Adding moments of quiet later in the day are equally challenging. When my brain is tired of thinking and my energy is in its mid-afternoon slump, all I want to do is escape into a mindless game or disappear into a story. At these moments it takes more effort to enter into an intentional quiet state than it does to fill the time with some pseudo-productive activity.
Some days I succeed. Some days I don’t.
But I keep trying to embrace the quiet that will guide my thoughts and restore my soul. What about you? Do you need more quiet in your life? Are you brave enough to embrace it?
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:2-3 NIV