Silence!

Silence...

 

A few weeks ago, the Pastors and Directors from the church I work for went away on an all day retreat to the Dominican Retreat facility, in McLean, VA. It’s a fabulous place with a beautiful facility, friendly staff and delicious food.

The slogan/motto for the retreat center is: “An oasis of tranquility serving both the spiritual and secular communities.” And the Bible verse they use on their home page is—”In quite and and in trust your strength lies.” Isaiah 30:15

However, the day we showed up just so happened to be the day they were drilling through cement blocks, directly above us, in order to to run some electrical wires and phone lines through the building. The very friendly staff assured us that the drilling was only going to last 10-15 minutes, at the most, and apologized profusely for the inconvenience. To be honest with you about 10 minutes into the drilling I started getting used to it and almost forgot that it was going on.

But, when the drilling finally stopped (as promised) it was like someone had lifted off a fifty pound weight from on top of my head. The whole room let out a collective—and relaxing—sigh—Ahhhhhh! And I remember thinking how I could actually hear myself think again!

I also wondered to myself if the retreat center, who again their goal is to make you appreciate silence, does this “drilling” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) on purpose? You know—so that you will really appreciate the silence for the rest of the day? It’s actually pretty brilliant!

Have you ever had that experince before? For those of you who have tried to console a crying baby for HOURS (Thanks Annlsey!) you know what I am talking about.

Let me be honest with you—I stink at silence!

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Just like the drilling at the retreat center —I have become accustomed to the noise in my life. So accustomed to it, in fact, that when it’s not there —I miss it. I need it. I crave it. The noise, in some respects, brings me comfort. Noise. Busyness. Productivity. All of these things bring a level of comfort because, let’s be honest, silence/stillness for any extended period of time—is hard! It’s awkward. It’s DANGEROUS!

Yes, Dangerous!

Why?

Simply put—when we are silent long enough to listen to what God has for us it is an act of TRUST! (please click to tweet that last sentence) We don’t usually think about silence in these terms, but when we are silent we are in a position of receiving from God, and when we are receiving from God we have to trust that what we are receiving is in our best interest. We have to trust that God will meet us in the silence. That’s why silence is so darn hard and noise is easier! A lot of noise is self made. Noise puts us in charge, and puts our trust into productivity and effort! Being silent and still puts God in charge! Silence is an act of trust! (please click to tweet that last sentence) Do I trust God enough to be silent with Him? Do I trust God enough to share my thoughts and fears with Him?

When was the last time you had some silent/still time with God? Do you find it hard? Why?

Think about the truth that even Jesus needed time in silence to be with the Father.

“However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.”  Luke 5:15-16 (NKJV)

“In quite and and in trust your strength lies.” Isaiah 30:15

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  • Kimberly Jefferson

    Hi Barry,

    This is a great point, I have struggled with quietness in my life, for the first time in my adult life, I am living by myself, no roommates and no children. I was so accustomed to the noise, it was a crazy, and in this technological age, it is so easy to find a way to have noise in our lives.

    I would reach out to call someone, and sometimes even be disappointed when someone didn’t answer the phone. So I would reach out on the social media network and find someone to “talk” to, I was discussing it with a friend, and they were straight up and told I had to learn to enjoy the silence, in fact be still, she said.

    So I started with small blocks of quietness, and I started to have these moments of clarity, it even help me think better. I also became more productive at work and home, I see so many people nowadays multitasking and we don’t realize how much it causes stress, which can lead to unhappiness, being discontent.

    Also when I have the quiet time, it gives me the chance to appreciate my blessings, and it gives the chance to reflect on how I may be able to help those that have come to be and told me their problems, sometimes it also helps me realize that those problems need to be placed in God’s hands.

    So this week in preparation for Thanksgiving, I am taking a little extra time to spend with God and thank him for everything he has given me.

    Have a blessed day!

    Kim

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    Hi Barry, I like your blog. I have a friend who is a worship leader who I think would appreciate it, too. I’ll pass it on to him. I agree with you completely about “silence.” I am one who seeks out silence from time to time. We live in such a busy world it’s hard to find those times and spaces as much as I’d wish. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the links to sign up for your feed and add a quote to twitter within your post about silence.

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    Dan, Thanks so much for the encouragement! Yes, I am with you that the additional noise that I put in the post (tweet & RSS links) was a bit ironic! I was thinking about that when I wrote it. I think I was hoping it would help someone find some silence and solitude—at some point, maybe not just at the time they were reading it! I guess that is a definite limitation to the blogging medium! Anyway, I really appreciate you taking the time to read AND passing it on to a friend!
    Thanks, Dan!

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    KIM! Thanks so much for the great examples in your comment! I really loved what you said about how times of quiet give us not only a space for reflection, but also appreciation and thanks!

    I am also trying to get out of the multitasking myth and try to do more block/batch processing.

    Kim, thanks a ton for leaving a comment and being a regular contributor to my blog!

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