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Talk Less This Year  //  Why the gift of silence might be the best thing you can give yourself in 2014.

Talk Less This Year
 

“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

– Mother Teresa

Silence is SO under-rated…

And so hard to find, especially this time of year.  Often, I find myself trying to create distance from others to get some semblance of silence in my life.

silence1

Some years ago I went away with a few friends to spend some time in discernment.  We went to a lovely camp, made even lovelier by a fresh snowfall.  We had a building to ourselves which meant we could have silence when we wanted it.  We appreciated that all the more after returning from the dining center that we shared with a group of elementary age kids enjoying a ‘winter blast’ weekend.  The volume in that room made conversation difficult.  In addition, one of the boys had a flute-like instrument that he felt the need to blow…again…and again…and again.  Didn’t he know that we were deep into a spiritual process that required everyone using their inside voices?  He didn’t get the memo.

I went into this particular weekend sick.  Friday night I had a sore throat. By Saturday morning, my voice was gone.  Have you ever considered how hard it is to lead a retreat when you don’t have a voice?  My companions listened intently as I whispered to them.  There were things I wanted to say but simply didn’t have the energy to.  There were things I wrote on a piece of paper because it was easier.  There were things that were left unsaid.

As I think back on that experience, I find myself wondering about how I contribute to the lack of silence now.  Why is it that I always think my words need to be heard?  Can I trust God to work without my voice?  When I choose not to speak, perhaps that allows room for others to contribute.

silence2

I think I talk too much.

My husband can confirm that.  He, secretly, or not so secretly, loves the case of laryngitis I get every couple of years. He was a happy man that week.  It was my time of involuntarily silence.  I didn’t have a choice, and in that silence healthy things could unexpectedly emerge. But, I have been trying to practice ‘voluntary silence’, creating space for God and others to speak.

I wonder what I might learn if I just sit back and listen?

In this busy season of running, resolving, and ramping up, consider what silence might offer to your life.  Have you ever considered how much you talk?  How many times you dominate a conversation?  Even with God?  Do you ever create space for Him to speak?  Today, consider being voluntarily quiet, biting your tongue when you feel the need to interject something and see what happens.

For more thoughts on Silence, check out the following:

Rick Rhoad’s Blog Post “Embracing Silence and Community”

David Kinnaman on the discipline of “Silence” in his own life and ministry as a pollster.

10 Minute Silence Exercise from The Orchard

Deb Turnow
Executive Director at Kavanna House
Deb Turnow is the Executive Director of Kavanna House, a spiritual formation center in York, Pa. Prior to that role, she was the Director of Spiritual Direction at Living Word Community Church in York. She has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from York College in Pennsylvania and a M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University. She is also a graduate of the Spiritual Guidance Program at Shalem Institute. She is currently studying at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is a certified spiritual director and also provides supervision for spiritual directors. She and her husband Jeff, live in York, PA.
  1. Cindy Kalinoski08-07-14

    Great reminder, Deb. Silence is something that I need to be intentional about, especially with God.