Silence of the Heart

Since the season of Lent has begun, I’ve tried to seize this time leading up to Easter as an opportunity to embrace silence. 

Each day, I’m influenced by a cacophony of voices: friends, family, church, books, the internet, school…the list is virtually endless. With so much information flooding my mind, it’s hard to differentiate between good ideas, God ideas, or just utter garbage. It's hard to discern God’s direction being spoken into my soul apart from the tug of my own desires. I’m terrified of putting words into God’s mouth, of creating a plan in my head that may not be Creator-breathed. I scare myself out of acting on anything at all, choosing instead to busy myself with fruitless tasks that squander my God-given time. Convinced that I’ll miss out on something that God has in store for me, I tell myself that I have to do everything. From a fear of missing out, I give in to the lie that I have to try everything. “Just in case,” I reassure my busy-yet-unproductive self.

Silence, I’ve learned, is a precious yet excruciating gift. It’s a bitter syrup that once swallowed, ushers in the healing and transformation.

I have a love-hate relationship with silence and stillness. When I cease to do and make and strive, the once-faint whispers of God are now magnified. Here, my inability is sharpened. I am reminded of how holy my Maker is and how frequently I fall short. This is a beautiful, painful thing though, because here in my shameful failure to pursue holiness, God reminds me how much He loves me still. It is humbling and tiring, coming to terms with my identity in the eyes of God. But it’s restful. In this quiet, my soul breathes, knowing that God is completely enough.

His perfect love envelops my perpetually restless spirit.

Audrey Assad elegantly captures the idea in her song, You Speak:

    “You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos”

Here in this spiritual whitespace, God reminds me that Christ has freed me from a life of captivity to constant hustling.

Instead of being enslaved to my thoughts and to-do lists, he cups my face in his hands, looks me in the eyes, and tells me that he is worth far more than anything that I could ever accomplish, more precious than anything I might strive to attain. He tells me that I—the me that he made me to be, not the me who tries to work for her right standing with God—may not always sense His close presence. But this is the storm before the calm, the mourning before the glorious joy. Because the struggle comes first. There is death before life. Perseverance must play its part, just as time and pressure crafts a diamond. “My child,” he says. “You have been rescued, and I’m rescuing you still. I’m pursuing your heart always. You are worthy.” 

"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him" {Psalm 62:5}

Here, in the quiet, he reminds me that he is my resting place. He is the goal. He is holding and nurturing my fragile heart. He is all that I need.

    “In the silence of the heart, you speak

    And it is there that I will know you, and you will know me”

And when we abide in the Spirit, we realize that it's not all about what God wants us to do with our lives. It's who he wants us to glorify.

Silence of the Heart

You, O Lord, loose the chains of this oppressive mind. You quiet my wandering heart, anxious and stirring, always looking for more, for ways to be more. You engulf each insecurity I clutch so tightly whenever I simply come into your presence, quiet and submissive. Humbly, Lord, I come to you, desperate that you grant me the willingness to be still so that your voice can be heard. Help me welcome the silence and to grow closer to You through it.