The Spiritual Value of Silence
As I write this post, I am still very much at the beginning of a period where I am seeking solitude and quietness to truly reconnect with God.
Over the last few months I have been finding it so hard to focus on God, on God’s Word, on God’s truth. I feel almost as if I have essentially “lost the plot” spiritually, and forgotten the point of my spiritual existence. This is why I am taking some time to simply focus on God, to still myself in God’s presence, to listen.
Last night as I was busy thinking and trying to listen a flood of thoughts came into my mind. For the first time in a long time it felt as if I truly connected with the Spirit of God. For such a long time it has felt as if I am simply “going through the motions”. Last night it struck me that I have been so distracted spiritually, and so blind. And possibly above all else, the chief culprit has been…my other blog, “Finding Mr Huggie-Wuggie“. Partly because I have been editing that blog for such an extended period of time now, various “Huggie-Wuggie” ideas have been at the forefront of my mind. I’ve barely been able to see anything else. I am so excited about everything that a beautiful marriage to an amazing man entails. I am so grateful to God for all the knowledge and insights that He has given me about marriage, and how to best set my marriage on an excellent foundation. And yet it strongly struck home that God is the true “be all and end all” of my life – God, not my future husband, not my hopes of a glorious relationship. And then I also remembered that the best way that I can be an amazing spouse for my future husband is by being totally grounded and rooted in Christ Himself.
And yet no, it has not only been “Finding Mr Huggie-Wuggie”. Rather it has been general busy-ness. My mind has been rushing around from one scheme to another, thinking, planning, executing. All these things are good. I love being ambitious, and I love the thrill of juggling different projects at once. However, when I have been praying, my mind has been so full of these things that I have struggled to focus on God. If I have not been thinking about one business plan or the other, I will instead have been thinking about “Mr Huggie-Wuggie” or about the person who might have been praying for me, and especially the person I would like to eventually be unveiled as the person who has been praying for me!
So only two weeks ago, I decided to take some serious time out to just listen to God, to just be in His presence. The main way I chose to do this was by cutting off my interaction with Facebook.
So here I am, just a couple of weeks into this exercise, and it is already bearing fruit. I guess that any attempt to spend time alone with God will always be fruitful. And my own particular soul has been feeling so parched. It has actually taken me the entire length of these two weeks to get to the point of actually being able to concentrate in God’s presence, and feel that I am able to hear his voice.
OK, let’s talk about the Facebook thing. After being a Facebook user for approx 8 years, this is the very first time that I have ever deliberately cut off my interaction with it, although many people I’m “friends” with have had Facebook “fasts”. Ironically, I’ve never spoken of this as a fast myself – but I’m finding that other people volunteer this phrase to describe what I am doing. The emphasis of this has not been on depriving myself of this thing which I use daily, but rather on finding time to be with God. The truth is that I spend so much time on Facebook. If there had been a way I could have cultivated solitude with God and still been able to use Facebook, I would gladly have embraced it. However, Facebook is all about noise and drama, so I felt I had to cut it out for the sake of just being quiet before God.
It has been so hard! My goodness, I love Facebook! Because of the work I am in I find it to be such a lifeline. Ordinarily speaking, I would log in to this network possibly up to to ten separate times in a day. Even now, my fingers automatically type out the URL just by force of habit and I have to quickly close the browser window. One big value of this exercise is that it is showing me that generally Facebook is a very important part of my life, which I do not want to cut off. At least, that is how I am feeling now, although it is still early days in this prolonged time of waiting on God. I guess it is possible that I may change my mind in a few weeks time. However, I don’t think it likely.
How can I phrase this next sentence to be subtle and delicate? In the context of “Finding Mr Huggie-Wuggie”, I must also admit that my pining for Facebook might be driven largely by thoughts of a certain face…name…mane. On one hand I know I’ve got to focus on God. On the other hand, for certain reasons, and one particular outstanding reason, I already can’t wait until this thing is over. I don’t want to fix my hopes too strongly; I’m trying to be wise and watchful, and cautious, and to listen as carefully as I can and to not rush in in impatience to jump to ill-advised conclusions; I’m trying to remind myself that I could so very easily be wrong about this question of whether or not someone is praying for me, and who that someone might be….but what a thought that someone might be praying for me, and it might be that very someone whose interest in my life I would be most happy to encourage; how unspeakably happy I would also be to discover that someone so utterly “sigh-worthy” could also be a man of deep prayer and commitment to Christ and that he could moreover be aiming fervent prayers in my direction; so I can’t help wondering what might lie at the end of this time of reflection, and my ever optimistic imagination is suggesting lots of exciting possibilities – well, one in particular.
That said, I’m realising that I need to cut off more than Facebook. Over these last two weeks, I’ve been online as usual, on all my usual websites, even trying to use them to fill the Facebook void. But altogether, all these websites still represent noise. I’m going to have to cut all these other websites out too. I am going to have to pare back my life to the bare minimum for the sake of having time and mental resources available to listen to God.
This time has already shown itself to be worth it. I am so glad that it is starting to bear fruit. I am also glad that I have finally realised that I have to cut off all these other things as well. I am so greatly looking forward to the rest of this time. My soul is deeply thirsting for God. I want to just “be” with God. I want to saturate my spirit in God’s own Spirit. Dear Lord, I need You so desperately. Please fill my heart with Your presence, Your truth, Your light. And Lord, You know that there is also something else, or rather someone else, for whom I am looking up to You. I pray Lord that You would help me and possibly him too, to remember what is most important, and to not get distracted but to just keep pushing in deeper and deeper into You, into Your presence, into Your word, into Your truth. In Jesus’ mighty name – Amen!
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Photo of Ladakh region, India by Yoshif on Pixabay
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