Encouragement From The Word

Let go of your concerns!

Last night, my small group was talking about the disciplines of solitude and silence. For many Christ-followers, these can be really challenging – perhaps more so today than in any other era. Why? Because we have so much more to stimulate – and over-stimulate – us all the time. What might seem the easiest of spiritual disciplines can be the most difficult.

The thought of even a half-day silent retreat scares many of us half to death, because, if we’re honest, we have a certain addiction to our external stimuli. And, as with most addictions, we don’t really know it’s there until we are deprived.

As Ruth Haley Barton has written, “Silence deepens our experience of solitude, because in silence we choose to unplug not only from the constant stimulation of life in the company of others but also from our own addiction to noise, words, and activity. It creates a space for listening to the knowings that go beyond words…. The most essential question in solitude is: How have I been wanting to be with God, and how has God been wanting to be with me?” (Sacred Rhythms)

Today, instead of giving you more to read, I want to encourage you to take the next few minutes in silence, by yourself – just you and God. Sit comfortably, with your feet on the floor, palms up to indicate your openness to receive from the Lord. Pay attention to your breathing; slow it down. Close your eyes. Express your deepest longing to God. Take as long as you can, free from external visual or aural stimuli, in the presence of your Creator who loves you.

Let go of your concerns!

    Then you will know that I am God.

        I rule the nations.

        I rule the earth.” (Psalm 46.10, God’s Word Translation)

Encouragement From The Word

The gift of silence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you enjoy that moment of silence?

 

Of course, if you’re like me, you probably scrolled through quickly and wondered what was wrong with the way I posted today’s Encouragement.  I did it intentionally!  I wanted to give you a moment of silence in your day.  Most of us don’t get that, do we?

 

In a world filled with noise, good and bad, silence is a foreign thing to us.  Some folks are afraid of silence; they feel the need to fill each moment with some sort of sound.  Silence, though, can be said to be God’s first language.  Certainly my experience is that I can hear from God best when I open myself to a time of silence.

 

Do you build time for silence into your day?  For those who are introverts or who live alone, it can be easier to do; irrespective of our preferences or living arrangements, though, God invites us to times of silence.

 

Be still, and know that I am God”, said the Lord through the Psalmist (Psalm 46.10a, NIV).  That phrase “Be still” can also be translated, “Let go of your grip.”  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I look down and find my hands clenched into fists for no particular reason – it’s as if I’m holding on for dear life to something, but there’s nothing there!

 

When we let go of our grip, we can give up control to the God who made the world and made us for a relationship of love.  When we are still, then we can truly know that the Lord is God.  When we are quiet, we can engage in relationship with the Lord and hear him speaking into our souls.

 

Why not take a few minutes, right now, to be still, to let go of your grip, and to know that the Lord is God?  Give yourself five minutes; time it if you feel you need to.  Perhaps begin yours silence by inviting the Lord to speak, as Samuel did:  “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3.10b, NIV).  When you’re done, write down in a journal (or whatever scrap of paper is handy) how the Lord spoke to you through that time.

 

Here’s some more space for silence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s best for your weekend.  Maybe you can set aside some time for silence again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day…