“Our ears are full!”
That’s what we used to tell our oldest son when he was a three-year-old on long trips. He was talking by the time he was nine months old. Once he started he rarely stopped.
Especially on trips. Especially on long trips. And there would be a time between mile 300 and 327 that it would hit us. We just needed some silence! The only thing we could tell him that seemed to make sense to him is “Our ears are full!”
Then he would stop talking for a while. (I’m not sure what a three-year-old thinks is going to happen if his parents’ ears are full and he says one more thing. Whatever it was he apparently didn’t want to find out.)
What I’ve come to learn in the years since is that our ears can be full but noise can also take up space in our souls that should be reserved for God.
Silence is what happens when our mind and spirit get still.
And for that to happen we have to ruthlessly eliminate the noise in our world. The dog is barking. The coffee is perking. Pandora is playing. The neighbors are yelling. Family is chattering. Those aren’t bad things. I point them out to help us realize how much sound there is around us.
Sound fills up the deep crevices of our emptiness. But it doesn’t fill our emptiness. Silence can. In silence we can hear God. “In quietness and trust is your strength” (Isa.30:15).
But it’s hard to find silence in a modern world. You can’t just disappear from your family and work. But you can take some steps towards silence. The first major step is in not speaking. Here are some “strengths” you’ll gain through silence:
- Not speaking allows us to gain control over what we do speak so that we learn to not just automatically start blabbing.
- Not speaking allows us to instead listen, observe and pay attention to others.
- Not speaking helps us be less concerned about what others think of us and become comfortable with what God thinks of us.
- Not speaking teaches us when to be quiet and when to speak.
Just try not speaking for a period of time and you will quickly discover how many words we utter daily that are really unnecessary. And you’ll find that when you do say something your words carry more weight.
Practice seeking silence in your life. You don’t want to find out what happens when your ears are full and the noise continues.
Question: When was the last time you spent a half hour in silence? How did it affect your soul?