Last night, I started a post about developing laryngitis during a recent cold and discovering that so often when I thought I had something to say, I had to close my mouth and listen instead. In the end, I didn’t always need to chip in my two cents.
Do you hear the crickets chirping? Or was that a pin dropping?
Apparently, I didn’t hit save (though, I’m certain I did), because opening that draft tonight, all but the first two sentences were missing. A page of silence.
The book of James tells us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. So often – too often – I am slow to listen, quick to speak and in a gosh-darned hurry to get angry. What I found in my week of silence (I could whisper, but tried to be silent as much as possible), was that I felt more peaceful, more likely to sit back and watch, than normal. I didn’t have to jump into the conversation with a witty reply, everyone knew I had no voice, so I could comfortably relax and enjoy listening to everyone else. The calm was a pleasant break. We were on vacation with old friends, an annual reunion of my husband’s college roommates and their families, so I wanted to talk to everyone and catch up with them. I didn’t necessarily get “my” time to share what’s been going on in my life, but in the end, I didn’t need to. It was enough to hear the others’ stories.
So, I’m trying to continue this attitude of silence. To remember that I don’t always need to make my voice be heard. Sometimes it’s good to be silent. It reminds me of part of a sermon series at Karis last summer, when we took a look at being rooted in spiritual disciplines, including solitude. The practice of solitude involves not only quieting your mouth, but silencing the noise around you so you can better hear what God is trying to teach you. That can be a challenge in our plugged in/online world. If you want to meditate further on this, I’d highly recommend listening to the sermon by Rob Gaskin on Luke 4:1-15 in Rooted: Solitude.
Normally, I’d end with a question to get you to respond, but this time, I would like to encourage you to take an hour or part of a day and make it a purposeful time of silence. Try to listen more than you speak. For some of us who may be more outspoken, that may get some funny looks. Maybe you can try it, then come back here and share what your reaction was or how it changed your outlook.