Tuesday, October 25, 2005

maybe I talk to much...

So... if you know me well you probably already want to post something like, "it took you this long to figure this out???" and my answer would be no, but maybe I am just now realizing it in a different way.

I know some of you who communicate with me through this blog are not completely sure where you stand in the whole spiritual journey thing. Because of that and our conversations it leads me to exploring and seeking out different ideas in spirituality. One thing I've stumbled across for the most part is this... no spiritual discipline, regardless of religion, is more universally acclaimed as necessary than the practice of "silence". So in that light maybe these next few thoughts could be beneficial for all of us.

I mentioned in an earlier blog about how it seems life is finally slowing down a bit. Some relationships in my life are deepening and it feels... well, "right". I am really loving it. I've kinda found myself now thinking, "what have I been doing the past year, 2 years, 3 years..." This has recently lead me to really pay attention to my own "silence".

Now, I really do believe that life is about seasons and sometimes we have seasons of busyness (and that's ok)... but I think that sometimes in our culture, capitalism and the American dream (I love where I live), and the "we have to be the best" mentality can leave us to finding our identity in what we are accomplishing (or what we are busy-ing towards).

Frustration, emptiness, and even doubt are feelings I find in myself when I put myself under the burdens of "accomplishing my identity." For me personally the only way I find true peace is realizing my identity in the truth that I am known and loved by God. And... the only way I can get to that place is by taking the time to "be still and know that He is God...", resting in this; that God's love for me gives me my identity. At that moment, I feel the freedom and peace to be whoever I am and I am compelled to share that with others.

Thomas Merton wrote this..."My life is listening, His is speaking. My salvation is to hear and respond. For this my life must be silent. Hence, my silence is my salvation." I do believe there is a great salvation or rescuing in responding (doing) but I also can see (and I have experienced) how it would be so hard to respond if at first I didn't listen. I am discovering that silence and solitude is not only in the heritage of following Jesus but Jesus himself spent time withdrawing to the hills, the wilderness, or a lonely place. I have to trust there is an opportunity there to connect with our creator in a way like no other.

I have experienced busyness that lead to a disconnect form other people, God, and ultimately myself. I would agree with many spiritual writers, ancient and modern, that silence and solitude can lead to a love of God, a love of self, and a love of others... and that sounds like something I would want to be a part of.

I took the time this morning to be still... while it was still dark out and the highway behind my house was still quiet. It was a beautiful thing. It felt like the quietness was whispering and my soul filled with a strange sense of wonder. I hope you can find sometime in the next day or two to experience this. I assure you there is a true experience to it...

Love and Peace,


As ministers our greatest temptation is toward too many words. They weaken our faith and make us lukewarm. But silence is a sacred discipline, a guard of the Holy Spirit.

-Henri Nouwen

many of these thoughts have been uncovered in a book I am reading, The Sacred Way by Tony Jones


ashdown said...

beautiful words my friend, beautiful words. it seems that in our attempts to restore shalom in this world we must first restore it in our lives. and why is that always harder?

it is encouraging to see you take the time to slow down and begin to truely seek the kingdom of God - an not given in and follow this 'american empire.'

here's to the restoration my friend...

Keri said...

You don't have to talk too much to still experience this disconnection... even quiet people have trouble listening. It's the busy-ness of life that kills us.

I think God's been pushing me to drop something to make more time for him, as well, but I've yet to figure out what... certainly isn't going to be sleep, though, haha.

RougeRoots said...

Thanks for the reminder Jason. I struggle with slowing down, and especially with being in silence. Even when I slow down at night, my mind races through all the things going on in my life. It is so nice when I do give myself the chance to be in silence. It allows me to hear nature (if outside), and to surrender to, talk to, and hear God. I have been trying to avoid overcommiting myself, which is a tendancy I have. I also strive too much for success in this life, but more and more I realize that perfection (which could mean different things to different people) isn't always important to achieve, although leaving a good legacy is. As you have mentioned, It is the relationships in our lives that are important, not livin' the american dream. Without balance, our relationships will suffer. I agree with Keri's above comment, I can't give up my sleep. I need more as it is. Only then will I be able to make the healthy decision to give myself the time to be silent, which in turn will make me more balanced.


Lisa Miller said...

I, too find myself always doing and not taking the time to just be. I used to enjoy quiet time in the morning after I got rid of the family for the day. I haven't done this in a very long time and I can feel the difference. It is as if I am not as close to God. I agree - silence is a wonderful thing (and really hard for me) but definitely something I need to do more of. Good thoughts and advise, Jason!

Aaron said...

I agree wholeheartedly. When I had my voice surgery...I couldn't talk for an entire week. Everyone I spoke with before/after the operation talked about how much it would stink to be in that situation. I actually loved it. I talk too much anyways. Sometimes it's great to just shut up, think, and listen to what God is saying to us...rather than spending time on God's "request line".