I recently shared with my spiritual director, that in living on my own right now I am much more aware and convicted that I am the only one who prevents me from things getting done. If I don't pray, it is only me that stops that from happening....or folding laundry or exercising or eating well.
Since I moved into my new apartment, I have been noticing how noisy my life is. I was almost always listening to a podcast or to favorite stations on Pandora or car dancing to the radio. And let's not even discuss the watching of Netflix. There was always something playing or going in the background.
When I started to notice this, it made me uncomfortable. And for this loud-mouthed extrovert, I knew I could ignore it or dig a little deeper to see what was coming up for me. As soon as I did the later, I knew why my spirit was really beginning to crave silence and why I so desperately need it right now in life.
In the silence I have to face something I was running from for a long time before and while I was married: a fear of being alone, lonely. And also fear of having to face my own wounds, hurts, and insecurities. Well who the Hell wants to do that!? #signmeup
When I finally got real with myself, I realized that restlessness was God's gentle way of nudging me toward something I had been avoiding off and on for awhile. Being on my own again, I told God I want to use this time well, purposefully and with intention. I want this chapter of life to be focused on healing, getting healthy, and facing all the unprocessed crap I dragged into my marriage.
I need the silence. And the more I make time for silence, the more I crave it.
Silence is showing me who I am before God, and what are the things inside me I can no longer run away from. Silence is helping me get healthy and whole from the inside out.
In a weird way I am learning to love the silence right now, like my soul actually craves it on a daily basis. Its like something inside my soul starts twitching if I sense too much external noise and distraction.
Silence in prayer can be intimidating. I think on some level I'd still like a diagram or picture of "How to do silence in prayer." There really is no wrong or right way to do it. Showing up (yes distractions and all!) is really most of the battle.
I trying (some days are better than others) to start and end the day with 15 minutes of silence. Nothing fancy, no long drawn out big words. Just stillness. Throughout the day, I try and looks for ways to build in silence: like no radio in the car or cooking dinner or doing chores or taking a shower.
Sometimes I use imaginative prayer to help focus me or just pray "Come, Holy Spirit," several times to quiet my mind.
Now all of sudden, I find myself on the look-out for moments of connective silence. Because when I make time intentionally to be still, I actually connect more deeply to God and my own true identity as his daughter.
Last weekend on the plane ride coming home from Minnesota, I finished a great book on the essential writings of Thomas Merton. One the things I most love about Merton is the way he writes about silence and contemplation for the average working man or woman, not just the monks or nuns in cloistered communities like his own.
Merton writes, "Contemplation is really simple openness to God at every moment, and deep peace." Sit with that one for awhile, right?? If we try to do it in a constant stream of noise, we can miss so many hidden opportunities.
Finding silence in your own life may be harder for you right now than it is me.
But even in little ways, you can seek it our or build it in you might be pleasantly surprised.