Filling my senses. Overwhelming them.
Perhaps from the television screen.
Maybe from phone screens and tablet screens.
But always noise.
As I look at the precious 8-week-old face of my son, I see such innocence, simplicity, malleability. Somehow, I find a greater need for stillness, for quiet. His fragile life is in my hands and I must not fill his space with the same noise that has saturated my own.
God gently knocks, knocks again, until I see. He knows my heart is stubborn and needs prodding. These messages about slowing down, making space, and eliminating noise has presented itself several ways over the last few weeks.
I have slowly been paging through Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. She writes:
It's only when we're truly alone that we can listen to our lives and God's voice speaking out from the silence...In seasons of deep transformation, silence will be your greatest guide. Even if it's scary, especially if it's scary, let silence be your anchor, your sacred space, your dwelling place. It's where you will become used to your own voice, your agency, your authority. It's where you will nurture that fledgling sense of authority... Silence will become the incubator for your newfound spirit, keeping it safe, growing it steadily. (pp 105-6, emphasis mine)My tendency is to fill the space of my life. Episodes of Criminal Minds and Big Bang Theory on the DVR. Rounds of Candy Crush on the phone. Always occupied, always activating the senses. Muting my personhood, filling the space of my life and pausing my sense of agency.
Yet silence is where we experience ourselves. Only in the quiet can we hear our own thoughts and become aware of the recesses of our minds. The places where we connect most deeply, where we hear most clearly the voice of the Lord. The parts of ourselves that fully enjoy, that express our desires, and pursue our interests. We get consumed by the noise and lose our truest selves in the process, living in a routine that has been created for us by the hubbub, the voices of those around us. When we do this, we relinquish our sense of choice.
In the silence I rediscover what I love, what I enjoy, what I long for. And I begin again to actively choose the way I live my days.
In the psalms, David reminds himself, and us, to "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).
Easier said than done in the hustle of everyday tasks and errands.
But in the stillness we sit in a place to receive the spring-like newness and restoration of the Lord. When we stop striving, He Easters us in our rest, giving us life and showing us our purpose and direction.
The stillness is where we experience the Father, we feel his quiet prodding, we remember his deep shalom.
We learn to abide deeply in the redemption He has already gifted us.
He Easters us with his presence when we stop long enough to listen and experience him.
So now I have a choice. God has shown me, on repeat, the importance of stopping. Breathing deeply. Experiencing the beauty around me. And the beauty He has made inside of me.
So I stop.
In the stillness I remember I can choose.
In the stillness the Lord deepens my rest.
In the stillness He prods my heart to desire, and reminds me of the agency He has given me to live out His call.