I’ve always enjoyed music. I never really thought of music as filling silence or needing to have it playing at all times. I just enjoy singing along, being swept away in a beautiful melody. I didn’t need silence and I usually had something playing in the background.
Three kids later and my appreciation for quiet has grown. It’s a funny paradox: we eagerly teach our children to talk and exclaim with delight when they can finally communicate. But we quickly become weary of constant questions, commentary, and the inevitable noise that accompanies them. My children have all been early talkers — even before we could understand their words they had something to say all the time. My daughter who is just over a year will frequently walk into a room, speak emphatically while waving her arms, and then leave.
Quiet has become a rare treasure in my life. And if it isn’t my kids, it’s the phone, the computer, the fridge, random dogs and children outside. The world is a noisy place and it’s almost impossible to completely retreat from it. The other day, I was walking in my neighborhood alone. I heard the wind sweeping through leaves, bees buzzing over a flowering tree, birds tweeting. I closed my eyes for just a moment and let the calm pass over me. It didn’t last long; a car came screeching down the road with radio blaring. But for a minute, I not only heard the quiet, I breathed it in.
Sometimes I don’t realize I’m craving silence until the noise level escalates. When the kids start screaming, a dozen toddler toys are playing a dozen different sounds, and I can’t put words together for all the exterior distractions, I suddenly feel the need for quiet. For calm.
But silence doesn’t always mean rest. We live close to many beautiful, scenic walks. Places far from cars and barking dogs. But even when I’m surrounded by physical quiet and calm, often my heart is restless. I’m worrying about something or anxious for the future. I’m concerned for a sick friend or burdened for someone I’m witnessing to. I worry for my kids — their salvation, future, decisions — and for my own desires — will I ever finish that project, publish a book, finish weeding. Even in the quiet, it can feel suffocating.
I’m slowly discovering that quiet for my life right now doesn’t always equal being alone in total silence. Sometimes it’s my heart and mind that needs to be quieted more than my kids. Even if the noise continues around me, I can find quiet for my worries, anxieties, and fears through God’s Word. The Psalms are a wonderful place to dwell when things are noisy around us.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9
Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. Psalm 54:4
When the noise and cares of the world crowd around you and leave you longing for quiet, run to the Bible and rest in His promises. They are unchanging and will quiet your restless heart.
Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash.