So many of us self medicate using the company of other people, work, food, substances… Just about anything we can get our hands on, we’ll use it. Even when it hurts, irks, itches, undermines, or bores us into a slight state of madness, still we’ll take it over the eerie strangeness of being altogether alone.
Seriously, think about it. When was the last time you sat alone in planned purposeful silences? Comfortably?
Didn’t swap that alone time for waste by wracking your brain for names of old flames and classmates to Google criminal record searches on… Or playing “who in the world is that” for an inexplicable amount of time with the names in your cell database… Or the senseless game of “Email catchup” by finally opening those dusty the Y2K bug didn’t delete?
WHAT IN THE DEVIL ARE WE DOING?
We pelt to death our opportunities for life changing silences by staring like zombies at arbitrary TV. And food… oh, food’s a good one. We cut off nice silence & good intentions by stopping & starting with “the eats” all day, not because we’re hungry, but because we’re scared. I’ve spend whole days protecting myself from success, wisdom & failure by going back and forth to the refrigerator looking inside for an undisclosed surprise that never managed to show up.
And what about the other extreme: Killing ourselves with busy work & committing our involvement to the things we love to complain we hate are on our plate… I mean really, aren’t you curious? What’s everybody hiding from?
Why are we collectively stuck in all this dogmatism and cattiness just to steer clear of the one thing we know full well will midwife us into greatness: life changing silences? It’s time we grab a hold of ourselves and stop wanting & settling to be with everybody else, anybody else, doing anything else rather than being alone listening with intentional intent to the Still Small Voice about our highest selves.
Our fear of success and failure is tied to our fear of what the Still Small Voice will say.
Rarely do we openly admit to being afraid of God’s plan for us. We put it on ourselves and on other people. But isn’t the idea of God having our undivided attention, taking full advantage of the opportunity to pour out His heart to us about us much more frightening than what we or “they” could ever do?
I mean, come on, God speaks. He IS the Word. We know He’s got something to say. But what’s It going to be? Maybe we don’t know, maybe we do, but what we’ve come to trust and believe is that it couldn’t be small fries.
It could be Africa for the gal who’s materialistically industrialized (ouch!). Or a message to the masses for the woman who gets hot flashes when it’s time to talk to an audience greater than two (eek!). Or a pastoral call for the ex-offender (ugh!). Or writing a book for the dyslexic person who sucked in formal school (uh oh!). This is really big stuff here!
Look at biblical examples to see how God gets down when He starts talking to “listeners” about “what’s next”.
- Look at Noah and the Ark. That was crazy, it had never even rained.
- What about Moses and Pharaoh? That was a smoking hot mess, the man was a stuttering murderer.
- What about Paul? We won’t even touch Paul. Shoot, he was a multi-murderer terrorist.
- Ruth? Please, she left it all… everything and everybody she knew to follow her mother-in-law!
- And my goodness, what about Esther? Well the poor girl could have perished by her husband’s hand…legally!!!
The point is, she didn’t. None of them did. Actually, none of them could have because they were God appointed. Knowledge of their assignment came through the silences, through still time alone with God. Assignment known is assured insurance. It’s guaranteed; A NO FAIL CLAUSE…
Not one person from the pages of the Bible we read, not one person from the pages of the Bible yet being written (namely about the Believer called YOU) can ever fail when on an assignment from the True & Living God!!!
SO LET’S SILENCE THE MESS!
The things we let fill up our emotional and mental space are the distractions and obstacles to our higher purpose. We agonize about being called to serve on a higher level because we forget that we won’t be doing it by ourselves. We know we aren’t able. That’s what all the inner fuss is about. But remembering to remind ourselves of our Helper would do more than do us a world of good, it would grant us a world of peace.
A little self disclosure here:
God asking me for full time committed service to Him used to scare me prayerless. I was so afraid I’d have no time for myself. But the days are teaching me that a prayer and its answer are one in the same.
The whole time the thing I was afraid of God asking of me, was the answer to what I was praying of Him: a fuller expression of mySelf & Love.
Intentional silence with God & with ourselves ushers us toward clarity of purpose and the fulfillment of our deepest inner longing. Our ideas of how God is going to answer our prayers is our greatest obstacle to living in receipt of the answer.
Being quiet means letting go. Sincere quiet is about silencing our own agendas. Sincere submission is about ignoring them altogether.
And let me put one more nugget on the table before I go:
The thing you’re afraid the silence is going to tell you is the thing you already know.