Scared of the Silence

If you’re like me, you sometimes find it difficult to slow down and sit still. My to-do list is often the culprit in making “down time” feel a lot like “wasted time.” There are two things in our current cultural climate that make this even more challenging: constant noise pollution and an increasingly short attention span. 

One of my favorite things to do is to get by myself with a notebook and pen and write out my thoughts. I’ve kept a journal for the past several years where I process my thoughts, write out my prayers and goals, and keep track of things I’ve learned. It’s very cool to look back through these and see the hand of God at work in my life.

It’s interesting to me that something that I enjoy so much and find so helpful is sometimes the hardest thing in the world for me to do. When I have to opportunity to get some time of quiet reflection, my resistance to the idea is evident in my excuses. I seem to always be lacking the necessary ingredient to have a successful “quiet time.” “Hmmm…” I think to myself, “I just need a hot drink in my hand to sip while I sit.” Or just the opposite, “I just need a cold drink in my hand to sip while I sit and think.” In fact, I’ll go on with things like: “This room isn’t quiet enough;” “This room is too quiet;” “I don’t have the right book;” “My computer is a distraction;” “I need my computer to take down my thoughts.” The list could go on. For whatever reason I have a hundred excuses for the best things for me.

In this case the answer is the same as any other activity that we try to excuse. As the Nike slogan puts it, “Just Do It!” The only way for me to sit down and be quiet is to stop making excuses for myself and get down to business. The key ingredient is not my environment, my mood, or my resources. The key ingredient is ME. So if I’m there, I can do it.

The rule applies to exercise, prayer, cleaning up, balancing the budget, or any other activity that is good for our well-being. Chances are you don’t need another set of Under Armor in order to get back in the gym. Start with what you have and the rest will happen as it should.