Creative Stretch #4: Learning from Silence and Solitude

By November 9, 2009 faith, language No Comments
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Creative Stretch posts encourage “the care and feeding of the imagination and the spirit” (Luci Shaw, Breath for the Bones).

When was the last time you rested in utter silence—and enjoyed it? Silence is rare in our day. Our media-saturated culture allows us to go from one event and distraction to the next with little silence to be had. Even in our resting, we tend to have background noise to keep our thoughts preoccupied, in line. Silence is often the enemy to keep at bay and to scare off with our noisy living; noise is our tactical strategy.

The effect all this noise has upon us is that we become leery of quiet; we begin to avoid it because it is uncomfortable.

But the layers of constant noise rob us of what can be found in silence and solitude, mainly the riches of waiting upon and hearing from God. How long could we wait in silence for God’s nearness to seem near? How long could we sort through the stray thoughts until our hearts were quiet enough to discern the Spirit’s whisper? Thirty minutes? Ten minutes? How about five? Will we give up too soon?

In Breath for the Bones chapter 6, Luci Shaw describes the discomfort that must be faced to gain the glory of God’s whisper:

Silence and solitude leave us undistracted so that the messages can arrive undistorted, clear, and true. But so many are afraid of silence and of being alone. They wonder, What if nothing happens? What if God ignores me? Or what if he isn’t there? (Shaw 79)

Those fears are common, but they should not scare us from seeking the divine whispers of the Holy Muse. It is in the quiet that He will surface and dispel such fears. The silence works as a smelting pot, extracting the impurities that linger within. Yes, God has much to tell us, much to do for us in the quiet, and so He beckons us: “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jer. 33:3).

Let’s work on getting comfortable in this waiting, this silence that precedes the Muse’s whisper. This Creative Stretch will require a bit of effort. You’ll need to clear an hour—or two or three if you can manage it. Go somewhere without distractions of phone or computer or people. Go there . . . and wait, in silence and solitude, with no agenda but to listen. Take your journal and your Bible, in case you want to jot something down or if feel prompted to look something up.

Then come on back and let me know of the riches you found in the silence.


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