“So He said, ‘Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?'”~1 Kings 19:11-13
We live in a very distracted modern world. At no time in history have we been able to access so much information and entertainment, and get a hold of each other so easily than now through technology. And while there are a great many benefits and blessings to this, it is also that much easier to crowd our minds and hearts with noise, and avoid the silence and solitude that is so needed for our souls in order to hear God.
I have always been a very introspective and introverted type of a person. Growing up, it was not hard for me to enjoy quiet alone time. Yet, over the past few years, I have noticed a tendency for myself to succumb to this crazy distracted world in which we live, and crowd out the little silence that I get with activity, television, music or podcasts, by checking my email or social media. My habit of enjoying the silence has changed and I noticed I often bombard myself with information, noise and things that I want to get done, all the while my spirit is just longing for a little silence. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a little distraction and entertainment from my deep thoughts is welcome and needed, but avoidance for long periods of time through distraction also does not give my spirit a chance to hear God or to rest, and leads to avoiding indefinitely any problems I may need to address.
Just like in Elijiah’s experience, God does not speak in the strong wind, or the earthquake, or the fire but speaks in the quiet sound of gentle blowing. If we want to be able to hear God speak in our hearts and change our lives, we need to create an internal, as well as external environment in our lives for silence and quiet. As a mom of three young children, I know this can be very challenging. I often think, that’s exactly all I want! A little peace and quiet! Yet, I know that I then need to fight for and protect the moments of silence I can get, whether it is in the shower, when I am rocking my baby to sleep or when I find myself alone driving in the car. It is then that I hear God speak to me and inspire me.
Getting used to creating silence in my soul and environment is still a habit in progress, but I have found the more that I try to instill this habit, the easier it has become to not only enjoy it, but to hear the voice of God. At times, it can be uncomfortable, yet, it is such a gift to be still and give space for quietness in my heart and mind.
Next time you find yourself trying to fill a void, try embracing that silence, embrace the uncomfortableness or the boredom that may be fall upon you. Open yourself up to hear the voice of God, to be inspired, to stop and smell the roses and to see the beauty all around you. It is then that you will hear God’s still small voice and be transformed in your life!