I have a lot of talents, but being silent isn’t one of them.
Where are all my other “so & so talks too much” on their report cards people at???
I’ve often joked that all the adults in my life should’ve known I was going to be a pastor, because all we do is talk for a living!
So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to get to Week 7 of Trust, the EXCELLENT Bible Study on the life of Joseph and be challenged to sit in silence for five minutes each day.
Confession: I was so close to opting out. I audibly scoffed at such a suggestion.
“Yeah, right” I said, complete with an eye roll that could rival any 14-year old teen.
And then, God looked at me and said, “Really?!”
I shrank back, immediately realizing the audacity that I was displaying. Because I’m currently in a season where I have PLENTY of time to give Him and I was schluffing off giving Him FIVE whole minutes of my day in complete silence.
If God gave out report cards mine would surely say, “Taryn talks too much.” *Sigh*
So I followed the instructions suggested by the author, Jodie Niznik, for novices attempting to sit in silence.
- Sit in an upright posture, ready to receive (so that you don’t fall asleep)
- Set a timer for 5 minutes so that you’re not tempted to keep peeking at a clock to see how long you’ve been sitting
- Choose a passage of Scripture to begin your time with and to come back to when your thoughts inevitably wander; Choose one of the names of God to call out to
- Your mind WILL flood with thoughts and rarely if ever will they be things you have to take care of immediately….if necessary, write them down on a notepad and come back to them later
- Drink plenty of Dr. Pepper so that you can stay focused and awake. (Okay, that one was added by me!)
“Okay,” I thought, “I can do this.”
Fully caffeinated, I set my timer to five minutes and had my index card with my Scripture passage and the four names of God that I chose…because like a potato chip, one just isn’t enough!
I closed my eyes so that I wouldn’t be distracted by the cats, my pile of books suddenly calling my name, Facebook, the emails I didn’t want to answer this morning but now suddenly have the energy for, etc. etc.
“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening….” (1 Samuel 3:10)
“Taryn, I love you.”
“You do??? Really?!”
“*chuckles* Yes. Really. I do.”
“Whew. THAT’S a relief! Thanks for saying that to me. What else Ya got for me? I like this!”
So, I went to my four names that I chose and had written down on my index card.
“El Roi! You’re the God who sees me. Do you see me God?”
“Jehova Nachem! The Lord is my comforter…but not like the blanket….like the kind who hugs you and stuff. Please comfort me!”
“Magen! My shield and my protector. Please protect me from all of the evil and the 1,724 hypothetical situations I have dreamed up as real possibilities!”
Desperate now, I called out my last name, “El Shama! The God who hears. ARE YOU LISTENING???”
“Taryn. Are YOU listening? Aren’t you supposed to be practicing silence right now?”
“Crap! I forgot! Speak Lord, for your servant is listening….”
“I love you.”
“Is that it?”
“*smiles knowingly* Yup. That’s it. That’s all you need to hear right now. I love you. Just that. Just sit with that for a little while.”
“That’s not a lot of information, God.”
“Shhhhhhh. Just sit. Just be.”
“This is really hard. Do you think it’s been five minutes yet?”
“Okay. Okay. You love me. Yes. Okay. Got it. I’m sitting. I’m being silent.”
“*begins to hear every single sound that’s always been tuned out previously: the fridge, the air conditioner outside, the chirp of the summer bugs, the neighbors car horn, the sound of my cat lapping up water from the bowl, the breeze rustling the leaves on the big tree outside.* Wow. The world makes a lot of noise.”
“I know. That’s why silence is so important.”
“I’m not very good at this. Surely my five minutes is up now. *Peeks at the timer to see 15 seconds left on the countdown*”
“Okay. You love me. I’ll try and carry that with me today. Even though it doesn’t really help me make decisions for my future.”
“*Smiles* It’s everything you need for your future, my dear.”
And with that, the timer sounds and my five minutes of silence is complete.
I realize that this daily practice of five minutes of silence will take a lot more effort and intentionality from me. Who knows what else God will tell me when I actually take the time to listen in silence?
Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening….