The Beauty in Stillness
I recently attended a church service at my home church, Genesis, in Bloomington, Indiana. The Senior Pastor, Tim Woodcock, discussed the importance of silence and how it can be used to connect with God. His sermon inspired me to think about my own life and to reflect on the busyness of my days. I fill my days with purpose and work tirelessly towards my goals, but do I attempt too much? Yes, we all do.
I find it nearly impossible to sit still, let alone in silence. There is too much to do and too many distractions. Checking my phone is an impulse built so deep into my muscle memory that it’s become an extension of my brain. I find comfort in the distractions. Sometimes it’s scary to think and ponder life. The future can be daunting and the past can be emotional. It’s easier to remain distracted and avoid the inner voices that emerge from the cloud of silence.
I’m afraid to stop moving, because I don’t want to lose my momentum, or lose my edge. But, am I losing much more by not allowing myself the benefits of stilling my soul and welcoming the silence as it creeps into my heart? What will my inner voices say? Which voice will emerge as the dominant voice and am I willing to listen?
Pastor Woodcock taught that there are four inner voices that emerge during our silence:
- The enemy’s voice – This is the force that wants you to fail. This voice preys on your weaknesses and leverages your fears against you.
- God’s voice – This is the voice of your Creator. It’s steeped in love and wisdom and wants you to commune with Him and align with what He has planned for your life.
- Your voice – This is the voice of your flesh. It’s your own inner monologue that is based on the foundation of your experiences that are unique to your journey.
- Other voices – These are the voices of those people in your life that influence who you are and the decisions you make. These are your family, your friends, and the podcasts or news programs you consume. These voices shape your paradigm and over time become YOUR voice if you allow them to influence you.
Becoming still, forces you to push the distractions aside and allow your voices to fill your soul. One voice will emerge and will be a clue to where you are in your life. So how do you recognize your dominant voice and what do you do if it’s the wrong one?
- The enemy’s voice – Whenever you sense fear in your voice, that’s the enemy. Fear is the enemy’s tool. Rebuke this voice and reject its words. They are full of lies and deceit.
- God’s voice – You will sense peace and warmth when this voice emerges. God is love and peace and will bring hope to your life. Hold onto this voice and use it to energize your soul.
- Your voice – You will sense comfort in this voice, because it’s what you’re used to hearing. It’s a constant voice that is always in the back of your mind. It’s also in flux as you experience life. It’s okay to listen to this voice, but this voice cannot stand alone. It must have a partner with one of the other voices. This is the danger. If this voice is partnered with the enemy’s voice then fear will be amplified and destruction is in your future; however, when your voice becomes aligned with God’s voice, then peace and love will become your paradigm.
- Other voices – This voice is accompanied by a feeling of confusion and conflict. This is not a bad thing, but it can be frustrating if you have competing voices dominating your mind. This voice will be the loudest in the beginning as it lives on the surface of your conscience. Sitting still and in silence allows you to sift through these voices and determine which are helpful and which are harmful. The silence will allow you to adopt the voices that are healthy and make them your own and apply them to your own journey.
Pastor Woodcock encouraged the church to get into the habit of sitting in silence and allowing God to speak to us individually. I think that is a great goal. I believe sitting still every day and allowing your mind to settle and to sort through the voices in your head and to calm your spirit is healthy and wise. You might not like what you hear in the silence and what emerges in your spirit, and that’s okay, just become a good listener and aware of your dominate voice. We’re all too distracted and become frustrated when our lives spiral out of control. Take a moment and allow your mind and heart to be still. Are you willing to listen to what your spirit has to say?