Our busy, technologically connected society is averse to silence. We avoid it in conversations, labeling it “awkward” and rushing to fill the space with words. We avoid it in our home, playing music or the TV. In our cars, we often play the radio, our phones or a podcast to pass the time during a commute. Very rarely do we intentionally allow silence into our lives.
Yet silence is a big part of a thriving walk with God. If that makes you uncomfortable, you’re not alone! Being still and resisting noise does not come naturally, especially in our noisy culture. But there are some significant benefits to pursuing silence as a Christian discipline. Here are four of them.
1. Silence requires focus. Embracing quiet forces our minds to deal with those thoughts we’ve tossed aside, those nagging questions we don’t deal with in the busy hours of life. As our minds calm down enough to focus, we’re better able to define our priorities, meditate on God’s Word and listen for God’s voice regarding our relationships and life decisions.
2. Silence produces rest. We don’t always realize how mentally exhausting noise can be. When we take a break from it, we find a level of rest we didn’t know we needed! Quietness of mind leads to quietness of body and spirit. But if we constantly surround ourselves with noise, we remain in a state of stress, sometimes without recognizing it. By scheduling quiet times within our day—whether for an hour of reading or 15 minutes of prayer time—we rest our minds and are better able to enter the spiritual rest God promises.
3. Silence facilitates thought. When we consume information constantly—via TV, news, podcasts, phone calls—we never have time to fully process that information. Cultivating times of silence grants us time to think through what we’ve learned and apply it to life. This is especially important in our walk with God! No matter how much Christian music we listen to, how many sermons we hear or how many godly friends we talk to, the ultimate transformation in our lives comes from God Himself. We need to be still and listen for Him.
4. Silence draws us near to God. We don’t need silence every minute of every day to be close to God. Like anything, we strive for balance within the reality of our lives. But when we make silence a regular practice, our walk with God deepens and we draw nearer to His heart. It is in the quiet place that we know God better, where we can hear Him more clearly without the bustle of busyness in our ears.
It’s not easy to separate from the noise of our world, but it’s possible. How will you make time for quiet in your life?