lead a quiet life
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Take a break from the chaos
It’s surprising how loud silence can be. Especially when you’re not used to it.
Getting away from time to time has always been a human necessity, but it’s all the more pressing in modern life. Especially urban life. By all accounts, things are more crowded, and noisier, than they’ve ever been.
“One of the costs of technological advancement,” says Don Whitney, “is a greater temptation to avoid quietness.” And so, many of us “need to realize the addiction we have to noise” (Spiritual Disciplines, 228).
And so the excesses and drawbacks of modern life have only increased the value of silence and solitude as spiritual disciplines. We need to get alone and be quiet more than ever before.
But merely getting away isn’t enough. There is benefit to be had in just letting your soul decompress and getting out of the concrete jungle, enjoying nature, and letting your soul breathe fresh air. But there’s nothing distinctly Christian about that. For those of us who are in Christ, we want to come back better, not only rested, but more ready to love and sacrifice. We want to find new clarity, resolve, and initiative, or return primed to re-double our efforts, by faith, in our callings in the home, among friends, at work, and in the body of Christ.
One benefit of silence is simply searching the depths of our own souls, asking what our blind spots have become in the rush of everyday life. In the busyness, is there anything important I’m neglecting or repressing? How am I doing in my various roles? What needs refocusing?
So we might get alone and be quiet to hear our own internal voice, the murmurs of our soul easily drowned out in noise and crowds.
But the most important voice to hear in the silence is God’s. The point of practicing silence as a spiritual discipline is not so we can hear God’s audible voice, but so we can be less distracted, and better hear him speak, with even greater clarity, in his word.
Most talk about silence and solitude as spiritual disciplines seems to imply some kind of special retreat from normal life, but small, daily “retreats” can be vital as well. Such a brief season, alone and quiet, for hearing God’s voice in his word and responding to him in prayer, may be most fruitful in the morning when rested and alert, and the chaos of the day isn’t snowballing around us yet.
Some Christians have called it a “quiet time,” highlighting the silence; others, “time alone with God,” emphasizing the solitude. Call it what you may, these short daily stretches of engaging directly with God in the Scriptures and prayer are possible amid the chaos of modern life, and invaluable in guarding our heads and hearts in a noisy, crowded world.
Should Christians Start Revolutions or Just Live Quietly?
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