I was taking a few quiet moments while it was still dark and everyone else was still in their beds to quiet my own heart. I’ve been trying to learn to practice the discipline of silence…I set the timer on my phone for 5 minutes (because that’s pretty much all the SILENCE I have the capacity to cultivate right now!) and I practice silence. Outside and inside. Phew. It’s a little odd and a little hard. Especially internal silence. There are all these words and thoughts and distractions running around in my mind. But my purpose of adding the practice of silence to my quiet moments with God is to realize just how busy and frantic and distracted I can typically get…and to cultivate a place where I simply am with God, with no agenda. Just quiet. Just acknowledging Him. Not thinking any great theological thought or solving my problems. Just with Him. And I have to tell you, it is SO good for me in this season.
So, if you’re like me, and your internal world is sometimes busy and loud, and your pace is often fast and sometimes full of distractions, I’d invite you to try the discipline of silence with me. It takes a little bit of work, but it is so rewarding, because it carved out a precious space of learning to sit with God.
Here’s what I do.
I make sure I’ll be practicing silence at a time where I’ll also have the gift of solitude. If I’m not alone, this kind of silence is almost unattainable. I set my timer for 5 minutes. I sit in a comfy chair…and I lay my hands open on my lap. I close my eyes and I quietly pray the verse over my soul, ‘Release your grip, and know that He is God.’
Then I just breathe. And as I breathe, I receive the breaths as a gift from God- each breath His affirmation of my life. His affirmation of my existence, my being alive right here, right now, in this day and time and place. I rest in the awhile.
I push out any distractions that try to come into my mind- either external noises or reminders of things to do, or internal thoughts or imaginations of what I should be thinking or feeling…and I just sit, I just breathe, receiving the ‘being with God-ness’ that I’m learning to recognize in those moments.
Then, after awhile, I have a phrase I pray. It helps me ask God for what I really want. I pray ‘Holy Spirit, commune with me, a sinner.’ Each of those phrases are meaningful to me. ‘Holy Spirit’ is meaningful to me because it reminds me that God already, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, has chosen to take up residence INSIDE of me. ‘Commune with me’ is meaningful to me because that’s what I truly long for- relationship with my Creator. I want the gift of Himself…which I could never deserve. And when I end with ‘a sinner,’ I love remembering how unholy I am on my own, how unworthy I am of the presence of God. But in His infinite mercy, He has chosen to come close to ME. A sinner.
Around that time, my timer goes off. I open my eyes…and that’s it! I’ll spend time with God in other ways, but this silence component is just so special to me in these days. I’d invite you to check it out with me, and see what happens.