We ask for quiet to hear ourselves think. Just try and carve out a space for some quiet and
someone will infect it with noise. Garbage trucks grumble. Dogs bark. Kids shriek. Washing machines chug. Dishwashers shoosh. It’s easy to forget what quiet sounds like.
But maybe we need the quiet for something other than our own thoughts. Maybe we need the quiet to hear God. Maybe it’s our thoughts and questions that get in the way.
So how does a person make a place for quiet, if the world you gives you noise?
What I have discovered is that if I define quiet by external circumstances, it will always be the carrot on the stick I cannot catch. That’s why I talk about quiet from a different perspective. When I speak about making a quiet place to hear from God, I ask everyone to draw an imaginary circle around them. Then, I ask the million dollar question: Where does noise come from inside your circle?
You know the answer, don’t you? It comes from YOU. Your thoughts. Your to-do’s. Your fears. Your questions. How do you quiet your own brain? I’ll be honest. It’s not easy, but it is possible. Here are 3 ways that have worked for me:
1. Use creation.
Look out a window or take walk in your backyard. Creation has a way of saying everything
silently. See the persevering tree? The stubborn weed? The busy birds? If you are outside, listen for those sounds you can’t hear unless YOU are quiet: the leaf rustle, the wing-beat of a bird, a door closing somewhere.
Here’s the lesson. If you go outside with your agenda, making mental notes about backyard projects you need to address before the weekend, you don’t hear from beauty and order and the no-worry birds. You just hear from yourself.
Too often we come to God the same way. We are so full of our questions, our perspectives, our why’s and what-ifs that we don’t hear anything God wants to say.
God won’t talk over our noisy thoughts.
Be still. Psalm 46:10 says. Then, you will know God.
2. Use wordless music.
While I love to listen to a variety of hymns, choral and praise music; to prepare me to from
God, I need music that penetrates my soul without saying a single word. What I have found is that in this Quiet Circle moment, someone else’s words can distract rather than quiet me to hear from God. Consider this a preference, something that might not work for you. However, just make sure that whatever you use makes your ready to listen to what God wants to say and doesn’t substitute listening for what you want to hear.
3. Use a symbolic activity.
Leave your phone in another room. Light a candle. Close a door. Open to a blank page but put your pen down indicating your readiness for God to do the speaking. Anything that shuts your world out, shuts down your thoughts, closes off the noise inside you, or draws your focus specifically to a listening quiet; works. Be willing to sit in the Presence of your loving God and hear what He’s been wanting you to know.
God is a speaking God
but we are not a listening people.
But we can be.
Draw your quiet circle this week. Draw it in different places. Draw it in different ways. See what works for you. Don’t expect the big answers to come just because you do the work to be still. Just expect God to show up and say what He knows you need to hear the most. You’ll be surprised what that is.
I’d love to hear from you so we can share this journey together!