Monday, August 6, 2012

Solitude, stillness and silence

Hi friends, I'm back.

I took a nearly two month hiatus from writing and I wish I could say it was because I was off on an adventure of sorts, or swept away to a tropical island by a tall, dark and handsome.  Nope, not at all.

 In early June I ran for the hills, away from the public eye out of fear and panic that I was exposing myself "too much too soon" and afraid of what was at stake in doing so. I was experiencing burn out from the pressure of keeping my life exciting enough for these posts to keep an audience drawn in and captivated for three posts week. You cant blame a girl for being exciting, inspired and amitious about her new blogging hobby, but the ramifications were inevitable.  Writing had chewed me up in its mouth and spit me out raw, leaving me tired, anxious and feeling like a failure.

I have reassessed my goals and have come back to play in the sandbox with you all, but just once a week for now.  I believe that I can realistically hold to that as well as juggle full-time work, full-time grad school and maybe a social life in there, too.

While these past two of months made for a challenging season to say the least, I was able to grasp onto some valuable lessons that God was teaching me through trial. I would like to share these lessons learned over the course of the next few blog entries (I promise to not let two months span between again). Its on my heart today to share with you what God has been teaching me about solitude, stillness and silence.

There's something profound to be said about being still and quiet.  To shut ourselves up every once in a while and just listen.  Not necessarily to anyone or anything, but just to listen in to the present moment. It is in this stillness that I have often found God's presence clearer and hear His voice louder. By nature, we like motion and noise; we live at a ridiculously fast pace. going a million miles a minute in our minds, overdosed on caffeine and never allowing ourselves just to sit and enjoy a moment of silence. Whoa, breathe Kathryn. In fact, we have made up the term "awkward silence" to justify how silence truly makes us feel.  But what makes silence awkward and uncomfortable to us? We do.  We feel the need to push silence away because our past has collectively taught us that it is distasteful, uncomfortable and that we should not allow silence in.

God tells us a different story.

Psalm 46:7-11

The Lord Almighty is with us, the god of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breasks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, "Be Still and know that I am God;
I will exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

Not only does God allow us to be still, he commands it. He is our God who can stop the chaos of the world, stops wars and breaks our weapons to emphasize the importance of pausing in all of our business, self control and independence to reflect upon the truth that HE is God and WE are not.  He is above all and is all. He is lifted high above all else. God calls us to stop, be still and know that He is who he says He is.

I love The Message translation of verses 8-10:

Attention, all!  See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, Bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across his knee. "Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything."

That certainly convicts my heart when I read it. It forces me to really check myself: Am I so busy that I forget to acknowledge God throughout the day? What is more important than my God who has provided the food in my stomach and the shelter above my head? Or put in other words, what am I making more important than God? I admit that there are many days that it isnt until Im laying my head down for sleep that I think to give acknowledgement to my Creator. What is that?? Admitting that out loud makes me nervous, so I am trusting that you're not judging me upon it :) What is that though?! Simply put, that is the traffic of our lives - the business, chaos and hyperindependence that we live in - that we put above our God.

But God graciously calls us out of that, to live set apart. The truth that keeps coming up in various conversations lately is that "We are in this world but we are not of this world" as laid out in John 17:14.  If we believe that, it should cause us to live differently.  What does different look like? For me, it looks like taking moments to be still and stand in awe of Him. To lay aside agendas and plans and bask in His Glory. To acknowledge that He is God and I am not;  that He is worth our time, our energy, and even our silence. And that type of silence, my friends, is not the awkward kind.

I pray that this lesson comes to you gift-wrapped exactly as you need it to be today. I am hopeful that it hits your heart and stops you in your tracks a bit, as it did for me. I love you all and it feel so good to be back. :)



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