Silence has taken on a whole new meaning during this past year. For many it took on a forced isolation and aloneness in a physical sense. For others it appeared more in the areas of aloneness in the way we think or look. Silence is not always emotionally healthy. Psalm 34:17-20 “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken”. God made us for relationship both with him and with others. To separate ourselves from either can lead us to desperation.
There are also times in our lives where silence is a necessary moment in time for reflection and healing. I have experienced this form of silence in my life. Psalm 62:5 “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him”. When we are rushing around attempting to fix our surroundings and everyone in them, our world can get chaotic and very shaky. Lamentations 3:26 “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord”. God wants us to wait on him, to silence our thoughts and our tongues, so that we can hear Him speak and direct us. For me, I did this for a one-year period of time. Where I literally choose to be aware enough of my shortcomings to stop when I would want to control. Relinquishing my own need to speak in hopes that God’s words would speak loudest. Throughout that year, I learned so much about myself and about how God works. And let me tell you, He worked great miracles during that year. Do not get me wrong, all of life wasn’t perfect after that year but the road going forward was made much smoother by the silence learned.
Richard Foster, the author of “Celebrations of Disciplines” says, “Silence frees us from the need to control others. One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others”.
You may wonder, “what in the world does this have to do with me or how this past year has affected me emotionally?” I could see how you would ask that. Silence is a lesson or a discipline that can bring much freedom to our lives, whether it feels as if it has been forced on us or it was chosen.
If you find yourself silenced by isolation, let me first tell you, “you are never really alone”, please do not continue the isolation. Call out to God in prayer and He will be your comforter. Let Him speak to you in ways that maybe you have never realized was possible. Open up your ears to hear him and he will lead you out of isolation. Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known”. Reach out, even if just by phone. Allow those who God has placed in your life walk through this time with you.
If you find yourself pulling away just to silence the noise of your surroundings, you may need to do that for a short period, but this is not meant to be a lifestyle. God placed us all here on this earth to challenge, complement and encourage each other, even if it feels like unrest and dissension. Allow it to grow you into a stronger, more compassionate and empathic person. Reengage courageously, knowing that God is with you. Open up to others that may not think like you or look like you but yet still made in God’s image, just like you. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”.
If you find yourself rushing around trying to fix your surroundings and everyone in it, I challenge you to place yourself in a time of silence. God is wanting to teach you something so that you can be freed from the burdens of your soul. Reach out to a trusted friend who will help you through the journey process not by advice to “jump and run” but by encouragement to “stick it out”. The journey may be rough, but the rewards will be many.
Proverbs 3:4-5 “So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding”.