One of my favorite gifts I have ever gotten has been a set of headphones. This Christmas, my wife got me a set of Bose QC 15′s. I am amazed at how much noise they filter out. I can go to the office, coffee shop or almost any place and sit in near silence. It has made quite an impression on me. I never realized how much distraction I had gotten used to.
Growing up in rural Alabama, I was often treated to silence. My childhood home was in a valley and often all you could hear were the occasional car on the highway. It was quaint in a small town kind of way. Of course, there were other distractions then. Looking around was a constant activity of God’s creation. Still, the silence was an amazing way for me to feel isolated (in a good way).
Disciples need silence as well. They need time to be isolated and alone. Jesus certainly practiced silence, though probably not as often as he would have liked. Here’s why I thin we need it:
In silence, we listen differently. We have our attention focused on subtle changes rather than things we can’t ignore (ever heard the timer go off at Panera?). We can have a choice in the interruptions we hear, instead of being held captive by them. We can choose to ignore an interruption and continue to in what we were doing, or we can let ourselves be interrupted.
In silence, we hear things we wouldn’t normally hear. God’s voice isn’t always still and small, but when it is, we miss it if there is a lot of noise that we can’t filter out.
In silence, there is a stillness that allows our soul to recover from the fast paced lives we are tied to. We can slow down, be still and be clear in what is happening. I’ve realized that I often miss so much just because I am moving too fast to pay attention to the little things.
I am committing to practicing silence. If I were a “one word” guy, this would probable be it.