Have we lost the art of quiet?
Silence. Stillness. Quiet. Quiet is defined as the absence of noise or bustle; silence; calm. Do you ever just sit still and silent, alone with your thoughts? Do you spend time without background noise, without music, or television, or podcast or without scrolling social media and viewing to the voices on your feed?
I struggle to find margin in my day where there is quiet, silence and stillness. If by some miracle, both of my children are napping, I find that I habitually put on a movie or show that interest me while I complete chores or fold laundry. When I am alone in my car, I put on a good book or podcast, maybe listen some music or sermon or news show but I don’t think I’ve ever intentional sat in silence.
I do not naturally embrace the silence. I fill my days with noise. Not necessarily bad noise but noise all the same.
So I am asking myself, why do I fill my time with noise? How can I more intentionally embrace the quietness of life.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him.
Each window in my house provides a different view to the outside world. Some windows peer out in the street of passing cars, other windows have a view of an elementary school often time filled with playing children.
There is one window that has the very best view. From this window I have the view of a mature tree that many times is filled with birds resting on it’s strong branches. In the distance, I can see the top of the mountains that are sometimes covered with snow. It is a beautiful site indeed.
Recently, as we celebrate Advent, I find myself slowing down and embracing this season. I sit with my toddlers on the stairs and gaze out into the nothingness of nature. We are not staring at any one item. We are not focused on the snow capped mountains, or the birds in flight, or the leaves falling from the tree. We are focused on the quietness of it all.
These days, I find myself staring at the heavens, the stars and the moon with the same wonder as my children. As I explore the world with my children and through their eyes, God is reminding me of His great wonders. Wonders that somewhere along the way became “common” to me. But through the eyes of my children, and the conversations with them I am filled with awe and wonder and amazement at God’s handiwork.
My soul finds rest and refreshment in these little quiet moments. I am reacquainting myself with the art of quiet. I am embracing the silence.
During this Christmas season as I was sitting on my stairs putting on my cozy socks to battle the chill in the air, I looked up and looked out this window of mine. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my son quietly playing, my daughter was still asleep this early morning and something caught my eye.
It the quiet, in cold stillness of the morning I saw the silence of the nativity scene. I saw only stillness. And I was reminded that God does the miraculous in our quietness. The Holy Spirit flooded my mind with many stories of God’s miraculous work. It was as if I was watching a silent movie and God’s power and majesty moved among His people in a mighty wind. Silent and full of power.
In my mind, I saw Mary sitting quietly in a room, maybe staring out her window, maybe working on some craft. She was still and she was quiet when suddenly an angel appears before her. He found Mary and spoke of the wonder and miracle of her virgin birth in the quietness.
In my mind, I see the bright starry night of Jesus birth. I am looking at a field filled with sheep, some sleeping, some wandering tiredly and the shepherds alert to all that is taking place in the quiet. The stars above them the earth below them. The chill in the air when suddenly the angels appeared before them. Rejoicing and bringing good news.
I am reminded of the priest named Zechariah (father of John the baptist). While he was alone performing his priestly duties in the temple, I wonder what emotions he must’ve felt, the honor, the pride, the appreciation. It was in this quietness that he was met by God and given the promise that he would be a father in his old age.
My mind wanders to another story, the story of the Israelite people and the walls of Jericho. What did they think when they were told that they must march in silence until commanded otherwise? What thoughts ran through their minds in the quiet? The only sound to be heard would be that of the footsteps and those of their enemies mocking them. They marched and when the silence was broken the miraculous happened. I have no doubt that the enemy tried to speaks lies and falsehood into their hearts in the times of quiet but their steadfast perseverance and obedience to God brought a miracle from the silence.
I am reminded of a huge city center, a larger than life statue, the many sounds of all of the people looking at it. The chatter about its size, and other daily business that must be done. THEN THE HORNS BLOW and there is SILENCE. It seems as though everyone bows down with eyes glued to the floor, the powerful leaders and the common man alike. Slowly people start to look around. In the silence they think surely everyone is bowing down but out of the corner of their eyes, they see 3 Hebrew, foreigners who failed to bow. God used this silence to perform a miracle to all the people, the kings and the statemen. In the silence, when those men stood, God stood with them. In the silence of the fire, God stood with them and danced with them too.
There are so many examples of stories in the bible where God moves mightily in the silence. Am I the only one who feels we are losing the art of quietness? It seems as though we have become a generation of noise. At every turn, we are inundated with different types of noise.
When it is so easy to talk to Alexa, why do we struggle with talking to God. I pray that we regain our childlike faith. We begin to look up and look out beyond the noise, to see the creation of God and all His wonder and splendor.
Let our souls be restored in His quiet places.
Let us reject the noises of today. We can chose at any moment to put down our phone, turn off the music and television and restore the order of silence in our home.
It can be as simple as one click or one command.
Holy Spirit Come.
Lord, may we long for Your quietness, Your stillness and Your peace to surround our life. Help us to reject the noise that pulls our attention to things that do not matter. The shows, the news, the music, the “alerts” do not need our full attention all the time. Help us to develop healthy boundaries for my heart and soul. Help us to quiet our souls. We desire for Your Holy Spirit to direct our actions and command our attention.
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
to the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
May the Lord our God shine His face upon you!