By Angela May
As an introvert, I have known for a long time that solitude recharges me and I work better without interruptions. Sometimes, it takes an illness or a holiday-or a pandemic to provide the necessary space and the pace to provide this.
Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Disciplines says silence goes hand in hand with solitude. Now that is a challenge to me. I can find a quiet space but cannot always quieten myself. For someone who loves words, it is quite a challenge to consider one of his recommendations “to spend a day or part of a day without speaking to anyone”.
Silence is more than the absence of speaking and going technology free. As one third century desert father said “…there is silence of the tongue, there is silence of the whole body, there is silence of the soul, there is silence of the mind, and there is silence of the spirit.”
David in Psalm 37 verse 7 speaks of being still before the Lord. This involves resting in the Lord and silencing our tongues and our minds to cease offering words of defence. This may involve refusing to speak to vindicate ourselves and trusting in the Lord to be our Vindicator. Time and time again, our Lord offers to faithfully take care of us when we trust in Him. We must silence those anxious thoughts of what may happen, those angry thoughts about what did happen, the justifying thoughts of what we will say; and in turn silence all those stress responses these thoughts trigger in our body and spirit.
The being still David speaks of in Psalm 46 is an act of surrender rather than sitting still. It is an act of silencing our arguments and our opposing thoughts and recognising God’s glory and greatness.
What can you do this week to find silence in the solitude?
What can you stop doing to make a space for God to meet with you?
One young woman I met during a quiet retreat confessed she found silence immensely confronting. She could not remember the last time she took out her earphones and turned off the music. She even wore them to bed.
For some of us, finding silence requires us to cease planning and producing. For others, it means stop being entertained. Others must stop fussing and fretting. For others, it may require facing fears and feelings that we have been running from for years. Even more reason to seek Jesus in the silence and solitude.
During this season of enforced social isolation, let’s go one step further and build a new habit of silence. My prayer is that in this stillness we may recognise God’s glory and greatness.
Angela loves to apply the Word of God to everyday life. She identifies with the challenge women face today as they strive to balance the demands of family, work and ministry. She is passionate about women's emotional and spiritual health and how they can find that in Jesus. Angela is also a qualified teacher, is Bible College trained and an experienced speaker and presenter.
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