The Frightening Sound of Silence
Have you ever felt the dread or fear of a conversation falling flat and there being silence? It seems funny, considering all the sounds in the world we experience on a regular basis, that silence can be one of the most daunting sounds. Just recently while speaking to a new friend I noticed myself second-guessing what I had said because he didn’t readily comment or express agreement. I simply dreaded the sound of silence and was afraid that there would be an awkward lull in the conversation.
This week I made a point to notice what people around me do during lulls in conversations, and with the all new iphones, androids, and various smart watches, it seemed like everyone was “connected” ALL the time. I even found myself looking at my phone, checking my e-mail, calendar, or aggregate news apps for updates whenever I was bored. Silence (at least in my mind) was not allowed. It was as if I was afraid that something would happen in the “world” that I wasn’t going to be aware of the moment it occurred! And who wants to miss the latest hashtag trend, Instagram pic, epic tweet, or shocking Facebook post?! #NotMe
However, do I miss the things God wants me to see when I use every waking minute that I’m not engaged in some task to be “connected” to the interwebs? Am I missing the still small voice by trying to listen to or read the thousands of blogs, facebook posts, tweets, and podcasts? Don’t misunderstand, I’m not advocating that we all retire our electronic devices and never use them again. I do wonder, however, if habitually saturating ourselves with the overload of information (and noise) causes us simply to skim the information around us in order to keep up the appearance of staying “current.” I’ve found myself on certain mornings reading my Bible the same way I read Facebook, blogs, and tweets–looking for what is at first glance applicable to me and rushing through the rest. It’s almost as if I’m afraid that a moment of silence or a pause while reading will make me miss something in the “connected” world that I will never be able to regain again.
The lyrics of a song came to mind (ironic, I know), “Be still and know that He is God.” I sometimes struggle with being still and being quiet. My wife Kayti would be the first to tell you that being still and or quiet is not my strong suit, whether it be while driving in the car, waiting to be served at a restaurant, or even sitting at church (thank the Lord that He has called me to preach)! I think we could all stand to be a little more still and embrace some of the few moments of silence–not in terms of being lazy, but recognizing the things God has placed in our lives. Being still and unplugged, listening to what God has placed around us, and thanking Him for what He has done.
Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”
What do you think? In what ways do you find yourself filling the silence?