You pull into the driveway and turn off the engine. Still humming to the catchy song that was just playing, you fish for the right key to open the door. As you walk in, you notice that your footsteps are unusually loud. The sound of your keys jingling seems to resonate throughout the entire house. You stop and listen. There’s no audible movement upstairs. No raucous conversation. Not even a faint laugh. “It’s quiet…too quiet”, you instantly think to yourself.
What is it about silence that makes us so uncomfortable? Whether it’s an empty room or an awkward pause, there’s something about silence that elicits a restlessness. But why? Well here’s my guess. I think it has something to do with our need for constant stimuli. We’re always looking for something to entertain us. There always has to be something going on. The era that we live in is so heavily saturated with external stimuli that it’s (theoretically) pretty difficult to be bored. Yet, silent moments still happen.
Often times these still moments of silence come out of nowhere. Maybe you’ve exhausted all the plans you’ve made for the week and the next “move” is nowhere in sight. Perhaps all your friends are busy and there’s no one to hit up. Everything on TV sucks, you’re tired of scrolling through *insert social media platform*, and try as you might, that stillness is inescapable. What are you left with? What do you do? I hope you’re not expecting an answer because I unfortunately do not have one.
What I can offer you, however, is an allegory of sorts. Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve walked into the very quiet house at the beginning of this post when it comes to my relationship with God. I enter expecting to hear something right away, only to be met with silence. Naturally, the unanticipated silence catches me off guard and makes me somewhat uneasy. My inclination is to try and fill the blank space with noise. So I might play worship song after worship song. Then I might talk to God out loud and just keep right on talking (lol, it’s pretty easy to do). And when I’ve stopped to take a breath, I might pause briefly in an attempt to actually listen. But then my random thoughts come flooding in and next thing I know, I’m lost in the rabbit hole.
It only took a couple occasions of quiet time (Pun intended? Maybe…) for me to realize what God was trying to make me understand. It’s not that He is never speaking, it’s more so my expectation for Him to speak in a certain way coupled with my lack of patience. I have tried it and I can honestly say that it is quite difficult to make myself sit still and tune in to hear God. Blame it on our inherent need for constant stimuli, I don’t know. But I can also say that there is beauty in the stillness. Beyond all the conferences and big events, beyond the fellowship with other Christians, even beyond the worship songs that are often used to fill the silence, there lie the bare bones: you and God. I am currently learning how to reverse the order of what I just listed. It’s a process. If I ever master this I’ll be sure to provide an updated blog post…but I have a feeling this is something I’ll always be learning in one capacity or another. And that’s perfectly fine with me. There is beauty in quietly seeking the Lord just for who He is. Basking in the warm presence of the Son (see what I did there?) is beautiful. Choosing to see Jesus in the ordinary and mundane, contrary to what our minds will try to tell us, is beautiful. And if all of this can be found in the stillness, I’ll gladly enter in.
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” – Saint Augustine