I took a sabbatical from my blog this summer. I didn’t make an announcement—maybe I should have done. I didn’t. Nothing was wrong, my life just became very focused. We were managing an enormous transition and my attention needed to be elsewhere.
Upon reflection, I noticed that my body and spirit knew I needed the sabbatical before my mind did. I distinctly recall the exact moment my mind caught up: I woke up on June 1st and realized I did not send my May newsletter out the day prior. I freaked out and I was certain you did too (you didn’t, but I was convinced you were going to)! In my imaginary writer’s world, this was a significant faux pax.
All of my 8w7, ENFP, goal-oriented self wanted to ignore everything going on around me, put my blinders on, and write the newsletter. As I turned up the volume on my internal chatter, the still, small voice of God dwelling inside of me broke through and whispered “no.”
I didn’t question or fight it—I let the no wash over me. As I closed my laptop, I felt peace. It felt as weird to experience it as it does writing it down now. Quiet—it felt holy and I felt drawn to it. Is this what it means when the Psalmist writes “deep calls to deep?”
It’s so interesting to notice how time spent with God in the quiet bears fruit in the smallest of ways. If this had happened even a year ago, I would have woken up on June 1st, realized my misstep, cranked up the volume, cranked out the word count, and blasted the newsletter out into the cyber universe. But that isn’t what God required of me in that season and that isn’t what I did. Instead, I paused and embraced the quiet.
There are so many elements I can point to as a reason for why this quiet space was needed, but that’s not the point. Instead, I want to offer some words one of my current seminary professors, Dr. Dan Brunner, shared with me this morning.
He recalled a time when he was driving in his car and noticed a thump, thump, thumping sound coming from the right rear tire. He laughed and emphatically pointed out that his instinct was not to pull over and investigate, but rather to turn up the volume on the radio. Instead of wanting to find out what was going on, he wanted to drown it out.
Wow. If there was ever a better metaphor for the way we often go through life, and life with God, I’ve never heard it.
Looking back on June 1st when my mind caught up with my spirit, Dr. Brunner’s words ring true. I heard the proverbial thumping in my right rear tire and wanted to turn up the radio. My mind didn’t want to consider the alternative my body and spirit yearned for—it wasn’t even registering. But when I heard God whisper “quiet”, my mind wanted to listen. I felt inclined to turn down the internal chatter and listen for what God, who dwells in me, might say in that moment.
As I explore what it looks like to emerge from the quiet, I know my desire is not to shout, but rather listen for the still small voice of God in the noise. Maybe I will even practice eliminating some of the noise.
In this season of adjusting to a new town, a new school, and new way of life with my family, I want to steward my words and your time well. That might look like fewer blog posts, or maybe not. The point is, I’m learning to grow comfortable in the quiet.
What are some ways you have cultivated quiet amidst the noise in your life?