Over the past month I’ve been spending 5 to 10 minutes a day in silence and solitude (you can read about why I did this HERE). I know, I know…pretty pathetic. But, better than nothing.
In the name of full disclosure I should say that I did not completely keep my pact. There are plenty of days when I completely forgot, but I still believe I got a great deal out of this practice and still practiced solitude at least 5 days a week. I learned very quickly that even though I am an introvert at heart, finding silence in my day is a difficult thing to do. While this practice was a great challenge for me I came away with three very distinct lessons.
- I learned that quietness is rare in my life. Being more introverted I love spending time on my own. My wife can’t stand it, but I love those times. The problem is that those times are filled with watching television, listening to music, using the internet, reading a book, etc. The point is, my life is full of noise even when I’m alone. Sure I can be on my own, but I don’t like to hear my own thoughts or be quiet enough to hear God’s voice in my life. I know this is one area of my life that I simply do not let God in to use me. I crowd my day with noise and stuff instead of giving him space (even 5 minutes) to comfort my mind, heart, and soul. It would be easy for someone to say that 5 minutes is barely enough to relax your muscles, but I learned quickly that a lot can change in 5 minutes. God can do a lot with any amount of time given to Him. I now find that I not only enjoy time by myself but I look to find quiet moments in those times.
- Times of silence and solitude take me back to life’s purpose. During one of my times of silence something hit me: True solitude takes me away from the menial things I do daily and back to God. It is my pursuit of Him that is my life’s purpose; all the other things are just frivolous. I spend the great majority of my day on those frivolous things and I’m seeing more and more my personal need for solitude. Nothing else brings me back to the Father. It is easy to get lost in life. Life is full of opportunities; it is quite easy to never slow down, especially if you have money. The possibilities are endless. Yet, I hear God calling me to a time of solitude, that I might be drawn back to his purpose for me life. All of the pulls of life can’t hold me back from that.
- I learned that while God can certainly speak through the noise of life, he also speaks with a quiet voice, a voice that is normally drowned out by the noise of a typical suburban lifestyle. Even though I am terrible about reducing noise in my life, I have experienced the blessing that it can become. When we purposely reduce crowding in our lives, we do become less captivated by our demands and expectations. I have very little idea about how or why, but I know it works. I want to do a better job of reducing noise in my life, to allow God’s quiet voice to be heard by me loud and clear.
This entire process has been incredibly life giving. I have found a new peace I have in my relationship with Chris. Knowing that even when life gets crazy all it takes is a few minutes of silence for Him to speak into the depths of my soul.