Friday, July 31, 2009

Silence Is Golden

I'm going deep. Deep into the essence of "me". Deep into who I am. It's a place in my heart, I think.

It's a place that is surprisingly simple and easy to get to. It just takes putting aside my agenda - and what I want to do and say and think about - and simply "connecting", person-to-person, with the Jesus who lives in my heart.

It's a place that I love more than life itself - because He is there, the lover of my soul. (And the creator of it, too. It's a place that I have neglected, sadly, for most of my life, simply because I didn't know it was there or how to get to it - that it was where I would find God or that it may be the only place on this earth where I can truly know him.

"Deep calls unto deep," it says in Psalm 42 and I have a new understanding of what that can mean. God is deep - and he calls to my "deep". He wants to relate to me.

I've always believed, I guess, (I must have, because that is the knowledge I acted upon and positioned myself for) that God is "up there" somewhere, and we are here - separated by our sin. When I prayed, i would think about "approaching him", and what I needed to do to be presentable in his presence as I approached "the throne of grace". I would spend the first big chunk of time thinking about how holy he is, how he is surrounded by the glory of his pure righteousness - and feeling sorry for my sins - or trying to - and confessing and asking forgiveness for whatever I might be feeling guilty about at that particular time - and feeling very apart from him. There was so much between us, after all, all the sins I had committed since the last time we had met - me very much below him...

"He shall be called Emmanuel, God with us" the Bible says - with us - and in us and through us.

"In Him we live, and move, and have our being." another scripture says.

I can believe that I didn't know this before - or understand it completely - or appreciate its value. And I'm so incredibly grateful that I know it now...

Yesterday, as has been my custom, I left my office to go for lunch and to take Peach for a bathroom break. I went to the car first, and did a couple errands. On the way back to the program, and my office, I stopped in front of the park, over by the soccer fields where I know it's deserted at this time of day. Peach fairly fell over herself door when I opened it and then she ambled down the hill. She played and sniffed around my feet, while I found my spot on the empty bleachers. I sat down and turned my palms upward - because I was coming "just as I am". I turned my attention inward.

My brain travels at a thousand miles a minute. My thoughts are far from organized - they tumble and fall and interconnect and disconnect and it's going all the time. If my brain is like a computer and full of files, then I am running to and fro constantly from this file to that, leaving drawers open, and papers scattered here and there, as I to the next one - or two or three. It's never quiet inside my head. Never. But I tell it all to be still - I will those thoughts to be still - and I begin to look inside - to find that place where He lives. In the silence of my heart, in the centre of my being. It's a simple thing to do, but it isn't easy. It's about centreing. It's about leaving all that peripheral stuff and going in to lie down beside still waters - where He leads me. My own thoughts want to break in - to sabotage this silent connection with God - but I keep pushing them back. Occasionally a thought breaks through, and sometimes two or three running, and though it might distract me, I don't let it side-track me. I stay put, and I will myself to go right back to the silent place in my heart. The silence has become precious to me - and worth fighting for. It's precious because it's where I connect with God. When I have found that still place, and made that connection, I am ready to listen, to hear His voice. That's when I open the devotional book I brought with me, and I begin to read - to "hear" what God is saying to me through it. And to hear what he is saying directly to my heart. Mostly it's about just loving and being loved - the heart of any relationship. The one we have with God is no different.

I had to rearrange a few deeply held misbeliefs about who God is and what he wants from me and it's taken me a lifetime to get to this place of replacing my ideas about things with His ways... and that's where I'll pick up next week...

In the meantime, it's all about grace. Just like it says in everyone's favourite hymn - It's grace that's brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home..

6 comments:

Belinda said...

What a powerful revelation God has given you; and I imagine that he will reveal more of his longing for relationship with us, through what you have written today. Thank you for putting all of this into words so that we might put aside the barriers that God didn't erect. I think of that verse in Hebrews 12:1 "...let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that hinders our progress." Today I think of a different perspective on those words...if Christ died for our sin and sins, "It is finished."

Marilyn said...

I look forward to next week's words! THANKS for the insights into Ps 42. Thought-provoking!

Deidra said...

I don't have words for this except to say it is heavy with significance and I have been blessed today. Thank you!

Brave Raven said...

I love what you said about silence. Precious and worth fighting for. Meeting Him is always worth it. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Joanna Mallory said...

Susan, I come from a background of viewing God as "up there" too, and struggle to know His nearness. I've experimented a bit with the "centering" prayer approach but haven't found my way into it yet.

Believe it or not, something that might help me is beginning by looking at God's goodness. Not His intimidating holiness, but His love, steadfastness... His character. Picked this up from a book I'm reading: Whispers That Delight: Building a Listening-Centred Prayer Life, by Andrew T. Hawkins (Canadian!).

What really catches me about this post, so much that I've come back to read it again, is your description of the whirlwind of non-stop words -- and your success at stopping them! Last time I told someone "the words never stop" I got a VERY strange look and decided I should keep quiet!

Willing the thoughts to be quiet sounds like it takes practice. Does the sweetness of the reward make it easier to work at the practicing?

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Yes... always... it's all about grace....

I sing the hymn with you...

All's grace,
Ann