Last Sunday we had a missionary from the Middle East visiting our church. The man brought it!
One thing he said was that “Success in the public place is always tied to success in the secret place.” I jotted it down, said an “Amen” and filed it somewhere in the back of my thoughts.
And then this morning, the first thing that popped up in my Facebook news feed was a post by Priscilla Shirer on the importance of spending time in “the secret place”.
In both instances, the secret place refers to getting alone and listening to God. For a talker like myself, this is one area that I really struggle with. I’ve been doing a 100 Days of Discipline Bible reading plan where I read a chapter a day and then journal about what I get from that chapter. I’m also doing three Bible studies and attempting to read at least one book a week. I pray (I do all the talking) as soon as I wake up. By the time I’m done with my prayer time, Bible reading, journaling, and daily Bible study work, I’m trying to figure out how on earth I can accomplish half the stuff on my daily to-do list and still do a halfway decent job of being a wife and mom.
My “secret place” is very much driven by me with little room for listening. When I was in college and running from God I decided to explore Buddhism. My exploration didn’t go very far. I was an emotional/spiritual mess at the time and my first attempt at meditation confirmed that it just wasn’t for me. The last place I wanted to be was alone with myself in silence.
The difference between then and now is that I know I am never “alone with myself”. God is ALWAYS present. When I sit alone in a quiet place I am absolutely certain that Big Daddy, my brother Jesus, and my Mama’s voice (aka Holy Spirit) are all right there in the room with me. The problem is that I haven’t done a very good job at shutting up and listening to them. Which brings me to today…
With Sunday’s sermon and this morning’s Facebook message ringing in my head, I went through my morning and early afternoon finding myself longing to shut off all the noisemakers in the house and lock myself in my room. Both of my girls were home sick today and I needed to be a nurturer. See the conflict? I awoke this morning, read my chapter of the day and jumped into the day without praying or journaling. I was driving on an empty tank.
At the point in the day where I started praying out loud for God to PLEEEEZZE make Sofija fall asleep for a couple of hours, someone threw a hand grenade at me that completely caught me off guard. I was told that I do not have the capacity or the ability to live out the life God has given me. I immediately made it clear that only God has the power to define me and that my worth is found in Him alone. And then… I sat alone in my room and listened.
The first thing I heard was “Be Quiet!” Kinda funny since that’s exactly what I was doing already. Before I could take much pleasure in the fact that I was already doing what Big Daddy wanted me to do I heard the words, “… for the rest of the day.”
With four kids, a husband, and a house guest, I had a hard time deciding if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Hooray for not having to answer the same question twenty times before the day is over! Boo for not being able to tell anybody what to do and how to do it!
Before I made my very short vow of silence official I made sure that it’s a Biblical thing to do. I’m a little fanatical about testing everything against the Word of God.
My search for silence in scripture led me to…
Ecclesiastes 3:7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak. ~which also gave me a little more confirmation on the post from yesterday.
And… Matthew 27:12-14 But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.
So here I sit, biting my tongue and missing the sound of my voice. In the last three hours I’ve written a few notes to my kids and had a couple of text conversations. There are three hours left in the day and
as painful as it may be I am going to give those three hours to God.
Say a prayer. Wish me luck. Think about me. This isn’t going to be easy, but I have high hopes that something great will come from it.