Sunday, May 06, 2007

Quiet

Sunday mornings are not quiet in my household. My husband usually plays bass for the worship team, and so that leaves me at home, praying for patience in getting four children out the door on time, in a presentable manner, preferably in Sunday best with braids in hair, though that is not always the norm. (The patience thing, I mean.)

Today is quiet. There is a hum of the dishwasher behind me, baby is napping upstairs, and everyone is at church except for me. This is rare for a Sunday.

I suppose you are anxiously awaiting my great revelation on Solitude. I'll preface it this way: I don't have one. But I have thoughts on the matter, of course, and so I'll do my best to get them out. Whether or not it's using flowery language or spekaing creatively, I can't guarantee that. I'll speak plainly, here.

Is Solitude neccesary? In a word, yes. The week before this trip was very difficult. I was busy, tired, unable to process thoughts, or put together fragments of thoughts. I'm a thinker, you see, so I need to do that to feel sane. Is taking a 24 hour trip away once a year neccesary? I would say yes and no, but the right question would be Is quiet neccesary? And to that, I say yes...yes it is.

I don't know what I expected from this trip. I really didn't expect anything. All I know is that I wanted a break, wanted some uninteruppted time to read my Bible, write in my journal, pray, be quiet, and think. All this I did. Did I rearrange all my thoughts in a neat, orderly fashion? No, I did not. Did I pray about everything I needed to pray about? No, I did not. In fact, a lot of the time I was silent, only saying, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24) A good prayer.

What I found was this: although I made this appointment with God on my time, His time is not the same as my time. He spoke to me on certain matters, but not all matters. That's His way. That's ok.

I do know that I need quiet. The room I stayed in had no T.V., but instead of relishing this uninteruppted time with my Lord, I found myself wishing for a little noise. Although I am mindful of the noise in my own life, and try to cut out the noise in my own life, I really saw that I had been conditioned to accept noise over quiet. Mothers, we need quiet.

We need quiet to think, to pray, to read our Bible uninteruppted, to listen to God, to confess sins and ask for forgiveness. For wisdom. Pouring in, pouring out to our family.

What does this look like? I am hesitant to say what that looks like. Who mothers their children the same? Does it mean we love any less just because we don't mother the same? Of course not. In the same way, what's quiet for me may be different for you. Number of children, time constraints, husband support. But I do know that our God is creative and that there are a million ways to the means in His book.

And so, in closing, what I found is that I need to seek quietness. Yes, I already knew this, but He confirmed it. And thankfully, He gives what we need for each day.

9 comments:

Mama Monk said...

I really value your thoughts on this. Your reflections are well-written and thoughtful.

I have felt similarly during solitary time away. It is amazing, as you said, how much noise is in our lives. The silence can be deafening and uncomfortable.

This past winter, we had three days when the electricity went out all across the lower mainland. The familiar hums of my refrigerator and computer were gone. And the silence was deafening. I remember feeling anxious and squirmy, almost willing SOME SORT of noise in the background.

But, I agree with you. That though the silence be uncomfortable, we need it. We desperately need it to HEAR on another level.

I am glad you had your time away. Thank you for sharing the beginnings of your reflections. I wouldn't be surprised if more emerges over the week. And when it does, please share more with us! :)

AIMEE said...

I was gone this past week too...not in solitude (it was a vacation with 22 family members!) but surprisingly "quiet"...my blog tonight alludes to that. We may be learning similar lessons...

Laura said...

I've spent a large amount of time in different ways of silence these past few years and it was so uncomfortable at first. I squirmed and kicked through so much of it. Now, I crave it!

I'm so glad you got away and that you heard what you needed to hear in the midst of the silence. :)

Sarah said...

My bedroom, during afternoon naptime, is my little peice of quiet, IF I will seek it as you said. It's amazing what even just 20 minutes will do for you though, I LOVE it! And as you said, we can't always expect big revelations, but I think the Lord enjoys those times with us, when we cuddle on the couch with Him, so to speak, without saying a word. I do think I'll be trying to get that 24 hours of solitude, at least once a year as you did, great idea.
Sarah

Betty said...

I've been following your entries on this topic with alot of interest. I have had the same experience, except I did go into a short planned solitude with expectations. I was so confused when I was done. I wasn't able to shut off my mind. I got restless with the quiet. I couldn't even rest/sleep. But I was so sure I needed it. I think I still do, but I realize that there's more to it than what I know.

My dh just left for work. The children are still asleep and I am enjoying the quiet in my home. I do crave this. But then I turn on the computer...more internal noise. I'm off to read my Bible.

I'm thinking for that me right now, it might be better to plan these little moments of quiet into my day and wait on the Lord to lead me to quiet streams to refresh my soul. He may use a phone call, a blog, or just a wonderful time of prayer with Him. My expectation maybe should be more on expecting God to refresh my soul at some point without putting definitions and requirements to that. Does that make sense? I haven't had my coffee yet. AnnV. had a really great post on God our Peace last week. There seems to be quite a number of us on the same journey! God speed!

Blessings,
Betty

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Hmm. These are good thoughts. I think there is an element of discipline for creating quietness even when it is not seen or even experienced externally.

bluemountainmama said...

lovely thoughts, andrea. and so glad you had that time of "quiet". i know, personally, i need that. i grew up with quiet in a very rural area where you heard nary a noise in the evenings except nature sounds floating in the windows......

when i am around too much noise and activity constantly, i feel frazzled and unable to gather my thoughts, as you said. it's funny how we just get used to it, though, and don't realize how frazzled we are until we take that quiet time.

Help meet said...

It's funny, as I read this article, I'm actually having a moment of quiet, as the kids nap. We loose power in our area frequently, and I tend to love those times of quiet it brings. (I actually wrote a blog on this same thing, not too long ago). I remember one of my dear friends saying, after her colicky newborn was born, "I never thought taking a shower could be so wonderful." For her the sound of the water running was the only, "quiet," she could often get.

Mrs Wibbs said...

Am so glad you had your time away, Andrea! It seems that the Lord did share His thoughts with you, and through you He is ministering and speaking to many of us...so be encouraged, that He had His plans for this time away with you and that just by being quiet, you made yourself available to Him, to hearing His still small voice. I would love to have more opportunities to be in complete silence, although I also find the thought of it somewhat unsettling...But I think it is quiet I need to seek, not silence for quiet is a state that comes from within, and with that comes peace, stillness, serenity.
God has much to teach us, mothers, about being still and knowing that He is God...
Many blessings to you, and may you reap the benefits of your solitude trip, for many days to come!

Ps. My husband Mark also plays bass in the worship band at church! And I sing in it when I can get someone to watch the kids...