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I brought my own storm...

January 30, 2018

 

My earliest attempts at being silent before God felt like total failures…

 

No exaggeration.

 

I can be quiet when I spend time with God – I quietly journal, I quietly read His word, I quietly think at Him – but silence… stillness… just being present… listening… that was a whole different ball game.

 

I started with five minutes.

Just five minutes focussing on Him, listening for His voice in stillness.

How hard could it be?

 

All I had to do was choose somewhere I could be alone, without too much distraction, and turn off all intrusions.

 

Phone – off

Laptop – closed

Inner mental and emotional storm – oh wait, what??!?

 

No matter how peaceful I made my outer world, the moment I tried to embrace silence, my inner world got really, really LOUD.

 

My thought monologue went something like this…

 

“Ok Lord, I’m here to wait on you…

Speak Lord, your servant is listening…

Yep, I’m listening, any time you want to speak…

 

Hmmm how am I going to reply to that email / juggle that project / meet that deadline…

***Commence stress bunny trail***

No, no, focus… breathe…

I’m here for you Lord…

 

What am I going to cook for the kids’ dinner?

There are some sausages that need using…

***2 minutes of random chores planning***

Aaagh!!!!

Just breathe…

 

Any time you want to talk Lord…

I’m listening…

Yep just waiting here listening…”

 

***Alarm sounds***

 

“Great – that was productive.

Productive?!

Is productive why I’m doing this?”

 

Here’s what I learned from those early attempts at stillness…

 

First - the noise and busyness of my life at that time didn’t hold a candle to my inner storm.

 

I didn’t (and at times still struggle to) know how to quiet myself.

 

Elijah waited in a cave through an earthquake, fire and wind that cracked rocks. After this barrage of activity he found God in the whisper. My realisation was - who needs inclement weather and natural disasters? I’m the one bringing all the ‘storm’ to this party.

 

Second – I had to totally re-orientate my idea of success and failure. What was success in this pursuit of God? This wasn’t an area of my life I could produce a checklist for.  I wasn’t going to measure how ‘productive’ silence was by any of my usual measures.

 

I had to come to grips with the fact that I had to learn this, and that this learning would be slow for me.

 

It took me a while to realise that slow was actually the point.

 

So I surrendered my agenda.

Embraced being bad at it.

And kept trying…

 

 

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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