Do not read this if you are in a hurry. If you have fewer than four minutes before whatever comes next, this is not for you. Do not read this if you have something on the stove. Especially do not read this if you already can’t wait to get to the end. It’s not for you.
If you’re still here…
Turn off your music for a moment. Mute your phone. Close the door. Do what you need to do to create a small space of quiet stillness, of solitude.
Set up a sanctuary.
Sanctuary is not a native state for us. We are a people constantly in motion. From this thing to that thing and from this place to that place. We are always headed to something else, somewhere else, or someone else.
It could be Albuquerque. It could be a job interview. It could be a job interview in Albuquerque.
It could be a tee time or a friend’s wedding. Maybe it’s a friend’s wedding but you wish it were a tee time.
It could be a drive thru, a school play or a date. Whatever it is, it has purpose. Even if it’s a Sunday afternoon drive to nowhere, it’s intentional.
We are a people constantly in motion. So much so that sometimes we forget the value of stillness, of sanctuary.
Is it because if we were to stop and smell the roses we might feel guilty? Is it because we need to keep ourselves this busy so we don’t have to think, or to contemplate? It’s far easier to be busy than it is to look within.
Stillness goes so far against our “programming” that we get anxious when there’s dead air on the radio station or a blank screen on TV, or if someone isn’t moving toward an empty podium. We have to speak if no one is speaking because emptiness is a bad thing. Quiet is unnatural. Silence itself becomes awkward and uncomfortable.
We think that silence is contrary to listening. That stillness is the absolute absence of movement. That, like sharks, if we stop moving a part of us may die. Maybe more than a part.
Newsflash. You are not a shark.
Silence isn’t the opposite of sound. It anticipates it and it completes it. Stillness isn’t the absence of movement, it opens our eyes and allows us to see movement all around us.
Silence is essential to listening. Listening is a fundamental step toward obedience. Obedience is crucial to faithfulness. Faithfulness is where motion begins. And sometimes it is where motion ends.
So stop for a second. Be still. Be silent.
It isn’t going to kill you.
Nothing else matters.