“For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” – Psalm 62:5
When 2020 made waves across the nation and around the globe, our habits changed, as did the way we communicated with each other. Many of us found ourselves using words and phrases we rarely (if ever used) before, like “unprecedented,” “social distancing,” and “contact tracing.” We shifted the way we did schooling and business, and we discovered new social faux pas, like addressing a whole group of people over a virtual platform when we hadn’t unmuted our microphones.
“You’re on mute.”
If 2020 had a humorous bumper sticker, I fear this sentence would be on it.
Yet, for all the muted microphones and limited social gatherings, I found that my heart and mind weren’t any quieter. You see, I have a habit of filling up my moments and my days with sounds and distractions. I listen to music or a podcast while I walk on the treadmill. I have the radio on in my car. The television is on when my kids are home from school. Silence is a rare commodity.
“Silence is a rare commodity. Part of giving up busyness for Lent this year is a willingness to stop filling the gaps with noise.”
Part of giving up busyness for Lent this year is a willingness to stop filling the gaps with noise. Psalm 62 says not once, but twice, “For God alone my soul waits in silence.” I think the psalmist repeats this line for poetic reasons, but also because he needed to remind himself of it a second time. Even when I know silence is good for me, and even when I crave a quiet place to listen for God, I almost instinctively fill my life with noise.
The noisy clutter of opinions, information, and memes on social media. My thoughts about what I think others are expecting of me. The expectations I have for myself that crowd my mind with “shoulds” and “oughts.”
This world can be a noisy place. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to mute all of that for a moment?
This week, as I give up busyness for Lent, I am seeking out moments of silence—or at least moments with fewer noisy distractions. So far, it has not been easy for me. I decided to take my daily walk on the treadmill without any of my motivational music in the background. It was amazing to me how much longer my walk felt. I felt some anxiety about my lack of distractions, and my mind wandered to anything it could grab onto: the titles of movies on the shelf, the clutter on the arm of the couch, the seconds ticking by on the treadmill display. Silence sometimes feels like a lot of work.
“For Lent, I’m pressing the mute button on the mental clutter and the competing noises as my soul waits in silence for God.”
For Lent, I’m pressing the mute button on the mental clutter and the competing noises as my soul waits in silence for God. Perhaps, I will discover what the writer of Psalm 62 wrote in verse 11: “Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.”
May this season of Lent be an opportunity to rest in God’s power and to experience the steadfast love of the Lord who meets us in the silent places.
Prayer: O Lord, silence is hard for me. It can be uncomfortable and unsettling. Give me the courage to wait for you in the silent places, and help me feel the assurance that you long to meet me there. Amen.