Sitting in the Silence

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Music has always been a part of my life. I grew up playing music, and my friends and I love sharing playlists and roadtripping to concerts together. Every time I'm in my car or my apartment, I'm either listening to music, or a podcast, or watching Netflix. I've conditioned myself to be comfortable in the noise. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I've found that it causes me to avoid silence.

Silence is one of the spiritual disciplines that is the most difficult for me. I've been reading through the Gospels lately, and have found that silence was a frequent practice in the life of Jesus. Today, I want to share what I'm learning about how practicing silence helps us look more like Jesus.

Each time He was in the noise of a crowd, Jesus made a point to withdraw in silence and solitude. He did this so that the only voice He heard was that of the Father. In daily life, we are constantly being fed information. Friends, classes, music, and social media are just a few of the distractions that are available to us. Spending time in silence with God lets us become more familiar with His voice. The more we listen to Him in the silence, the easier it will be to hear Him above the noise in our lives.

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
— Luke 5:16 (ESV)

As I've been attempting to practice silence, I've found that one of the main obstacles to silence is my own mind. If I'm not hearing external noise, I'm quick to distract myself by looking at my phone or thinking of something I should be doing. It's difficult for me to sit in silence with the Father. Silence confronts me with my insecurities and my humanity. 

In Liturgy of the Ordinary (which I'm currently reading), Tish Harrison Warren talks about how, for Lent, she attempted to begin her days with silence. She would make her bed first thing in the morning, and then take a few minutes to sit and be still, rather than checking her phone first thing. 

Mostly, I’d invite God into the day and just sit. Silent. Sort of listening. Sort of just sitting. But I sat expectantly.
— Tish Harrison Warren

As fallen humans, silence is something we will never fully understand. For me, it usually looks like a fidgety combination of sitting and listening. I almost always get distracted for at least a minute or two. Before I read my Bible in the mornings, I make coffee and sit at my desk, looking out the window and spending a few minutes in silence.

Through silence, we will become more familiar with the voice of God (Psalm 46:10). Jesus called His disciplines to spend time in silence, and as modern apprentices of Jesus, our call is the same. Whether it's first thing in the morning, when you're alone in your apartment, or on your drive to class, lean into moments of silence.

The world of college is full of noise. Silence matters because the voice of God should be the most important voice we hear. Taking even a few minutes each day to be still will allow you to grow in this practice. Pray for the Father to rid you of distractions. You will fail in the practice of silence. The silence won't always be comfortable, but the more you practice this discipline, the easier it will be to hear Him. May the voice of the Father be the loudest voice in our lives.

-- Emma

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