Silence: The Positive Effects of Being Quiet

The Effects of Noise and Benefits of Silence

Wondrous Silence - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Is silence possible in our very noisy world? Even as I write in the quiet of my space there is a train coming down the track blowing its horn, a dog barks incessantly in the distance, and the hum of the diffuser on my desk buzzes along with the birds’ songs outside my window. What does true silence even sound like? I often long for real silence and feel that there must be positive effects on simply being quiet.

The definition of noise is unwanted sound and as that might be different for each of us, typically noise is thought of as loud or persistent unwanted sound that is not only annoying but that can also lead to adverse impacts on learning, quality of life, and health. Our bodies long for quiet and much of the world, especially urbanites, have no idea of what true quiet sounds like. Studies show that our bodies require silence to repair themselves. But often true silence begins by willing ourselves to be quiet, which in turn creates new ways of thinking and is a deeper form of experiencing life.

Silence is not only exclusive but rich and luxurious. There is a wonder in this precious commodity that seems set apart for only those with the means to obtain it. However, it doesn’t have to remain reserved for only those with special privileges, but if we want it, we do have to seek it out. One of the best ways to reach out for quiet is to simply stop making our own noise. It seems obvious that we can’t listen if we are talking and clanging our own gong.

Cease the Noise and Be Still

The noise we make as individuals often comes from the added activity of busyness that takes over our modern-day lives. So, when we take the time to purposefully be quiet and create our own silence, regardless of the noise around us, it helps not only our bodies slow down, but it allows us to listen internally. It is in these moments that we can quietly watch for the glory of God to reveal Himself to us. When we choose to sing songs of silence not only can we hear more clearly the voice of God, but we can allow ourselves to stand in awe of Him.

It has been said that “To listen to God in worship is greater than to hear any man/woman preach.” When we take the time to be silent and listen to God, we can clearly see the wonders of Him. It is in this place that His magnificent glory takes center stage and there isn’t anything for us to do but to quietly sit and bask in His glory. Being still and quiet appears to go hand in hand and when these two activities come together with our ability to experience God and worship Him at a higher level, we can then see glimpses of His glory.

Seeing and Listening to the Glory on the Mountaintop

As we look to the events on the Mount of Transfiguration, the glory of Christ is revealed opening both eyes and ears to the magnificence of God. Christ allows the disciples a glimpse of glory giving them a sense of awe and wonder. When we allow our souls to experience silence, through quieting the external and internal noises of life, we allow the voice of God to be clearly heard. For we, like Peter, James, and John at this moment on the mountain, not only will see the glory of God but clearly hear Him.

But even as He spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to Him.”

Matthew 17:5 (NLT)

It was with these words in the quiet that the disciples understood that Jesus is the Son of God and it is this astounding truth that prompts the proper response of worship. Here in this clear transfiguration on top of the mountain, the realization comes that Christ is more than a great leader, a good example or influence, or great prophet. He was all these things and much more because He is the Son of God! When we cancel out our own noise and create our personal silence, we too can understand that the message of the transfiguration is simple. It is the complete change of the appearance of Christ into His more beautiful spiritual state that allows His full radiant glory to shine and it is this transfiguration that allows us to understand fully that the words of Christ are true.

Learning How to Bask in the Glory of Silence

When we cancel out our own noise and accept the silence of His presence, we can see the glory of Him all around us, clearly seeing His light, colors, wonders, and beauty no matter where we are. It is on this higher plane of silence that we can put our skepticism aside and embrace that there are mysteries in this world that we will not understand but in this, we can be assured that God is behind them all. Furthermore, it is in this place of silence that we know and understand that we can depend fully on Christ and trust Him and His message. This allows us to completely commit our lives to be led by Him. When we take the time to daily reflect in silence, His beauty will surround us as we can clearly see Him.

One of the ways we can be encouraged to experience silence through the glory of the Transfiguration ourselves is through the practice of Lectio Divina, which means divine reading. It is a monastic practice of reading scripture, not for study, but for the living Word. Typically, there are 4 steps involved in this ancient-modern practice; Lectio (Read), Meditatio (Reflect), Oratio (Respond), and Contemplatio (Rest). It is the final step that allows the silence to transform us in the stillness of God. It is in this silence that our eyes fully open, we can listen carefully, and pay attention to the simple song of silence that reveals the glory of God.

Seeing and Hearing Clearly in the Silence

Won’t you be challenged to be silent with God each day clearly hearing His voice and seeing Him in your surroundings recognizing His full authority over you? Find your conviction rooted in knowing that Christ is the Son of God. Seek your motivation in the revealing that God gave authority to the Words of Christ and you can fully trust Him knowing that the Bible is not a collection of fables or human ideas about God. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that God’s very Words are given through people to people and you hold life because Jesus is the Messiah that came and will come again for you.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.

Heri Nouwen

Extra Study

Psalm 2:7, Matthew 3:17; 12:18, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22, 2 Peter 1:17

What are Your Thoughts?

Do you take time to seek silence with God on a regular basis? Have you experienced the positive effects that listening to God in the silence can hold? Share your thoughts on the positivity that comes in your life from willing yourself to be quiet and bask in the silence of His glory.

Join the Discussion

Credits
  Manney, E. (2019, October 18). Lectio Divina: A  Beginner's Guide. Retrieved from Busted Halo:  https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/lectio-divina-beginners-guide       

Obedience: Developing Faith with Some Help

Obedience and Control

Faith and Obedience - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

The word obedience often concurs up feelings of negativity. Its meaning seems to go against human nature as it is defined as “compliance with an order or submission to another’s authority.” We, humans, prefer being in charge or more specifically in control and thus like things to submit to our ways instead of the other way around. Where does your life fall in with obedience? Could you use a bit of help to be obedient while developing your faith?

Continue reading Obedience: Developing Faith with Some Help

Simple and Basic: Demonstrating the Love of Christ

Do Simple and Basic Actions Speak Louder than Words?

Demonstrating Love: Simple and Basic - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

What would a simple and basic life look like? In our complicated world today, these words sound quite inviting. We often hear phrases like, “return to the basics” or “living simply.” But these words can mean a variety of things depending on your definition of both simple and basic. For some, it conjures up thoughts of living a life with only the essentials without the frills while for others it might mean just paring down the excess, but still living comfortably. However, we should look beyond the “things” of life when examining the words, simple and basic. We need to look to the root of human relationships and leave the tangible behind. Simple and basic means just loving one another with whatever means we can love with as we demonstrate the love of Christ through our actions.

Continue reading Simple and Basic: Demonstrating the Love of Christ

Find Peace with God’s Upside-Down Plan

Upside-Down World

Upside-down - Small Me Yet a Big We - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

It seems like we live in an upside-down world. A world where sometimes wrong is seen as right and right as wrong. As humans, upside-down isn’t always pleasant, as most of us prefer the space around us and beyond as stable and full of understanding. The world is anything but this and if we study history, outside of Eden, it never has been. How we deal with the upside-down world though can be conquered when we study God’s upside-down plan. It is in the acceptance of His plan that we realize our upside-down world isn’t so upside-down. Furthermore, it is in this place that not only can we come together to change the world but do it with the grace of peace.

Continue reading Find Peace with God’s Upside-Down Plan

United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Splinted Effect

Fractured World and Divided Communities

United - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Have you ever considered the progress made when people are united together rather than divided? The adage, “Many hands make light work,” is certainly true whether it is in our own homes, the workplace, community or even the world. One look at the news this week and not only does the world appear divided but the United States appears fractured and united doesn’t seem to be in the framework. The union still stands but without unity, more like 2 cats tied together by their tails and thrown over the clothesline. It is disheartening to see our communities, nations, and world set apart by our differences which is why it is so important that followers of Christ, unite. For united we do stand and divided we not only fall, but we are splintered and unable to fulfill our mission, which is to show the world, Christ.

Continue reading United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Splinted Effect

The Gracious Gift of Gratitude: Shaping the World Together

Gracious Gifts in the New Year

Better Together - Gracious Gifts - A studio 1-37 Original Image

Is your New Year off to a gracious start? Is your attitude of life filled with positivity and full of grace, love, and humility? That may certainly seem a tall order of goals for a New Year, but have you ever considered that this achievable goal sits before each one of us every day? It all begins with the very gracious gift of gratitude. When we embrace gratitude fully our attitude towards life changes for the positive and in turn reflects a life of graciousness, love, and humility. By allowing the gracious gift of gratitude to shape our lives, we think differently and see the world in a different light. It is in this way we can shape the world for a light-filled life.

Continue reading The Gracious Gift of Gratitude: Shaping the World Together

Belonging: How to Cherish and Celebrate Acceptance

Belonging in the New Year

Belonging: Cherish It! - A Studio 1-37 original Image

Are you comforted with a sense of belonging and acceptance in your life? Often in a New Year, we try new things, do things differently, try to be better at being us. Sometimes this is difficult as we lose who we are or who we think we are as our sense of belonging weakens. It is hard to start over again with a new lifestyle, or a new place, and perhaps with even new friends. We miss that sense of belonging, acceptance, or just knowing what to expect and who to trust. When we struggle with belonging it is difficult to find acceptance much less cherish and celebrate it.

Continue reading Belonging: How to Cherish and Celebrate Acceptance

Experiencing the Lasting Gifts of Christmas

Gifts of the New Year

Gifts for King - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Are you starting the New Year by experiencing the lasting gifts of Christmas? We are leaving the Advent and Christmas seasons and entering the season of Epiphany this Sunday. The word Epiphany is a Greco-Roman word that originally meant a designation for the public appearance of state officials in provinces. The literal meaning is to manifest, clarify, or show forth. The first-century church embraced the term as a signifier for the manifestation or the brilliant appearance of Christ as of flesh in and for the world. Therefore, the Season of Epiphany follows the Season of Advent for the Messiah has arrived and we find ourselves in His illumination. Christ’s arrival brings to us the lasting gifts of life and much more.

Continue reading Experiencing the Lasting Gifts of Christmas

Decisions: The Cause and Effect of Living Life

The Problem with Decisions

Decisions,Secisions, Decisions - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Do you find it difficult to make good decisions or choices for your life? They are both a cause and effect of living and can sometimes be hard especially when they may alter our world. The problems arise not so much from the actual decision-making process but the fear of living with the results of the choices made. For as the author of, The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst says, “Today’s choices are tomorrow’s circumstances.” And this is where the real problem arises when we are forced to make decisions.

Some decisions in life are silly and really not of any great consequence or at least not that really affects anyone besides us; like whether we order the chicken salad or the quiche for lunch. Some decisions, however, have a bit more lasting result even though they seemingly may just affect our self. This would be like yesterday morning when I spied the ginger snap cookies sitting on my desk and decided they would be excellent with the rest of my morning coffee.

Continue reading Decisions: The Cause and Effect of Living Life