THE SECURITY IN SILENCE
By Lauren "Kat" Dufrene
I was reading some poetry last year and came across a piece that addressed the subject’s inability to face the silence. The final question was this: What is it that you are afraid of hearing when it [noise] ceases? Another voice? … Or your own?
There is something unnerving about silence. A vulnerability. A deafening void. A magnifying glass of introspection. Silence, like light, exposes things that have been covered up by facades, pretenses, suppression. Like light, silence brings to the forefront an acknowledgment of the contents of your own self.
Many phrases regarding the loudness of silence have been used throughout the years. Oxymorons, yes. True, nonetheless. When noise ceases, there’s an inexplicable amplification that happens. Silence heightens your senses. You hear more clearly those small sounds that were being masked. Your eyes take in your surroundings with widened periphery. Your breathing, heartbeat, and/or swallowing become more prominent. In the absence of outward sound, there’s an inward response to protect oneself from danger by increasing the magnitude of what you see, smell, feel, etc. Have you ever turned the radio down while you’re driving in order to see better? It seems asinine, but there’s a small amount of logic in the action.
Take a moment to consider how many things fight for your attention on any given day. We’ve created a habitual reflex to noise that grabs for it, welcomes it even. I understand that you may not agree with that, but I challenge you to take note of how quickly you respond to a notification on your phone, email alert, app reminder, Netflix “Are you still watching?” screen, etc.
What’s lacking in this entire thought so far is the prospect of peace. How would all of this differ if there is peace present in the silence? Present in the core of your being? Present in your mind, heart, and foundation? Do you need to address your behavior in order to make way for more peace in your life? The lack of noise could bring with it a breath of fresh air, an opportunity to listen, unhindered.
Could it be—just like that poem asked—that we fill our days full of visual and auditory stimulus, full of emotional and mental clutter, because we are uncomfortable with the answer of what would we hear in the silence? Would our mind race with undisciplined thoughts, feeding and producing anxiety that drives us to such discomfort until it’s drowned out by something else? Or would peace blossom from our spirit, knowing that the gentle and beautiful voice of Jesus could in that next breath whisper to you just how much He loves you.
Very, very few times have I heard the raised voice of Jesus in my spirit. Almost always, His words have come to me at a decibel beneath the rumble of my thoughts or daily noise. He has been most clear when I made the effort to remove that noise, make way for Him to not have to fight for my attention. I don’t have to fight for His, so I want to do my best to extend that same courtesy to Him. Does it happen every time? No, because my thoughts have to be conquered. Has it been the most rewarding prize to be able to hear and listen to His voice speak to me when I do battle with my thoughts and get them under submission? Most definitely.
There is a security in knowing that He speaks to you. There are seeds of peace transmitted through His every word. Let them be planted, cultivated, nurtured. Let them grow, so that your heart looks forward to those moments of silence where nothing is in the way. He is there. Whispering, I see you. I know you. I love you.
So, again, I’ll ask the following: Are you purposefully filling your life with noise so that you won’t have to be alone in the silence? The moments when the noise fades and silence falls, do you face them with fear or peace? Do you listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit? Would you recognize His voice if He spoke to you there?
If your answers to those questions weren’t what you’d hope they would be, don’t be troubled. Start today making changes. Start today making new habits and putting new practices in place in your life. The peace of Jesus is a gift to us, so let’s not crowd it out by cramming the space in our souls full with temporary, frivolous clutter.