Scared of the Quiet

March 10, 2010 | 27 comments

Before the bus carries them away, I reach a hand to the back seat to join the jumble of 20 fidgety fingers. We bow our heads, and thank God for spring a-comin’, and for teachers and for Lydia’s special day as “March Student of the Month.” We pray for that friend who used bad words, and for that boy who stuck out his tongue. And we don’t forget the people of Haiti and Chile.

And then comes this from a wee voice behind me: “Dear God, Please be with Mommy today when she’s all by herself.”

This used to scare me: The all-by-myself.

My deepest fear was that if left alone, I’d be deafened by silence. So I would put my world on Volume Max with the click-click of my high heels and the fast scratching of pencils at press conferences. I lived a megaphone life, afraid that in the silence I’d be faced with the gripping pain of my doubt.

I chased front-page stories, and byline glory, and surrounded myself with the noise of me, me, me. I was afraid that in the silence, my deepest doubts would scream loud like this: God is not real!

I feared that the absence of sound would prove the absence of God.

What if I asked Him in the silence to speak to me? And then, what if ….

What if?

What if I heard only my own desperate breathing?

But some questions are worth the risk of “what if.” For I found the answer in the silence with my soul laid bare five years ago on the floor of my bedroom closet. (Me, like a filthy rag next to the dirty-clothes hamper.) In the quiet, I asked the question.

My sister was here helping me during a rough time after the birth of our second child. She says I looked different when I walked out of the bedroom that day. That’s because I’d heard Him whisper in the Spirit voice: “I am real.”

***

All’s quiet here on this rainy morning, and I don’t need a megaphone life to survive this day. I no longer fear the silence of hours. Even more, I no longer fear the silence of God. I speak to Him, and sometimes hear only this …

Silence.

Even still, even silent, I know He’s here.

Oh yes, He’s here.

***

Has God trusted you with a silence – a silence that is big with meaning? God’s silences are His answers. … If God has given you a silence, praise Him, He is bringing you into the great run of His purposes.”
— Oswald Chambers

holy experience

Each Wednesday, I join Ann Voskamp and her community of pilgrims at Walk With Him Wednesday. This week, we consider Learning from Silence.

Friends, what have you learned in the silences?
Have you ever been scared of the quiet?

by | March 10, 2010 | 27 comments

27 Comments

  1. Lisa notes...

    Jennifer,
    What beautiful reflections you share this morning. I sometimes fall into living that “megaphone life” too and I don’t want to. I'm thankful that I've also discovered that the absence of sound does not mean the absence of God. May his voice ever be louder than the noise we surround ourselves with. Thanks for blessing me today.

    Reply
  2. jasonS

    I really enjoyed this post. Thanks Jennifer!

    Reply
  3. Deborah Ann

    Beautifully said! I think I'm the opposite. I LOVE the silence! It's the noise and the crowds that make me feel uncomfortable…

    Reply
  4. Prairie Chick

    isn't it funny how our lot in life contributes so much to our growth? What I wouldn't give for some "silence" and the chance to just listen and revel in that still small voice. My days are filled with so much noise and so many people that sometimes I fear I will scream for the need of quiet and solitude.

    But in the noise and hustle I have learned to focus and find Him there too.

    Reply
  5. Julie

    Thank you for putting into words what I am (at times)afraid of saying out loud.

    You have made my heart smile today, dear friend.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  6. Jackie

    This is so beautifully written. I just posted today about how silence is a necessity in my life. The silence is necessary for me to hear Him.

    Jackie

    Reply
  7. Melissa

    That is very lovely Jennifer, I've been thinking of praying with my children each morning before school but it seems Satan makes mornings too busy for me to remember so I must make a better habit/effort of doing this.

    You and Ann have both blessed my heart today. thank you, Melissa

    Reply
  8. RCUBEs

    What a soft whisper this post had given to my heart. And how amazing to find that special rest, that solitude that comes from sensing His presence. To feel His mighty presence despite the hustle and bustle of the day. Knowing that He comes to meet us and brings that peace, not in a mighty way. But in total silence. Blessings.

    Reply
  9. Deb

    Being silent.

    Being still.

    Letting Him lead.

    Listening.

    Loving Him with all of my heart. Soul. Mind. Strength.

    Yes, it's scary.

    Thanks for sharing your heart on this subject. You always encourage me.

    Sweet dreams.

    Reply
  10. Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife

    I used to be so scared of silence. God had me fast from noise once. It was an ear-opening experience. I highly recommend it to anyone. No TV, No radio in the car or in the kitchen, no MP3 player, it was just Him and I. Very cool!

    Reply
  11. Karen

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful testimony…I think we can all relate to the "all-by-myself" situation…you have described it so perfectly….

    Reply
  12. keLi

    I love that Oswald Chambers quote … kudos to you for not filling your "all by myself" time with distraction.

    Reply
  13. Rose

    I use not to like the silence because I was alone with "me". As I have gotten older, I have learned to treasure those quiet moments. God speaks in those moments. Once you become comfortable in your own skin and let go of all the "stuff" it becomes cozy like a worn bathrobe. Love the Chambers quote…I think he had quite a few alone moments with God.

    Reply
  14. LisaShaw

    Beautiful.

    Well said.

    I can relate.

    I remember when I was afraid of the quiet and for many reasons until I realized that GOD was truly with me in the midst of the quiet and it was a grand opportunity to commune with Him.

    Silence and solitude moments are still very important to me as a follower of Christ.

    Thank you dear one for sharing your comment on my blog about the experience you had as well the other morning on the Treadmill. GOD's presence is every where. Amen and Amen.

    Love you.

    P.S. Would it be alright for me to share the link to your message on my FB? I believe others would benefit from your message.

    Reply
  15. ~*~KIMBERLY~*~

    Jennifer,

    I've never been afraid of the silence. However, I've been afraid of big noisy places thinking that it would drown out God's voice and I might miss a message. I guess it's the opposite of a fear of silence. I don't fear it anymore because I know God is by me. Happy Thursday!

    Reply
  16. Solveig

    A precious testimony. Thank you.

    Reply
  17. Angie Vik

    I love your God-sensitive heart and wonderful way of expressing your thoughts. Thanks for constant encouragement to grow in faith.

    Reply
  18. Kay @ Off the Beaten Path

    So glad you wrote this, Jennifer. I think so many people are scared of the silence, for various reasons. I was at one point, probably at several points. Now I thrive in it. I actually feel more real in the silence than in the chaos and the noise. I know who I am in my quiet house, I know how I feel on my quiet walks, I hear my own thoughts as I sit on my back porch all alone. And I definitely hear God, not always on demand, but always in His timing, in the silence. Thanks. You write so beautifully.

    Reply
  19. God's girl

    Beautiful!

    Reply
  20. Jennifer

    Just a beautiful image here, Jennifer. Maybe it's being a mother of small children, but I, too, long for the silence. Too many megaphones around me striving to have their voices heard.

    Reply
  21. Mc Allen

    wow… I am so touched by this post. I really feel such a peace for you, and I have so totally had those "times" with God. He is just so so so good. Thanks for the reminder and it seems to lil ole me that this time alone has been very purposfull and very beneficial in your life~ excitin~~ xoxo LA

    Reply
  22. Anne Lang Bundy

    The Lord has often whispered. Recently, in time of intense grief, He spoke with more frequency and clarity than ever.

    His silences have become the comfortable hand-holding of old lovers.

    Reply
  23. Laura

    Just goosebumps reading this.

    I love picturing you in your high-heels, chasing the front-page story. And I love seeing you come out of that closet in my mind's eye.

    A beautiful story, your life.

    Reply
  24. A Simple Country Girl

    What a powerful, strong post.

    Reply
  25. S. Etole

    the silence can be so hard sometimes and yet it's the only way to hear rightly … that photo is terrific as are your thoughts …

    Reply
  26. Jennifer

    To come to Jesus as a little child–full of faith, wonder, and a vision for God even in the sticks that we adults might just consider "trash" to burn. Beautiful.

    Reply
  27. elaine @ peace for the journey

    Being trusted with the silence…

    A holy, sacred trust, indeed. Even so, bring the quiet Lord, and help me to listen to the whispers of your magnificent grace.

    I live for the quiet, sister. It's become my grand treasure in this life. I hold it delicately, appreciating every moment of pause I'm given.

    Your words have been part of that silence this morning…

    and I am thankful.

    peace~elaine

    Reply

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