Facing the Silence
Sometimes I love silence. The surreal stillness and calming sense of nothingness. The feeling that I am alone and able to unwind from noise and clutter and busyness. Silence and stillness is a true gift that takes courage and discipline in stewarding.
Then sometimes, I absolutely hate it. The eerie stillness. The fear of nothingness. The feeling that I am alone with my thoughts and unable to unwind from the screaming stream of consciousness that seems to never end. I'm a constant thinker, both in life-giving things and in extremely unhelpful things. I dream and imagine and plan, enjoying the vivacity of the mind's creations; but I find myself wound up in thoughts that are based out of fear, and not based in truth. Sometimes my husband asks, "doesn't your mind just ever stop?" As he sees my eyes animated from within as I look out a window. But it really doesn't.
This last week, I could feel the thoughts and concerns in my mind growing into knots. Tighter and tighter. I realized that I had not really asked the Lord what he thought about them, or invited him into that space; but rather I had just continued to push through them and pretend they would dissipate. In doing so, I continued giving them more power.
I knew what I needed to do, but I was hesitant to do it.
I needed to face the silence—the silence that I feared would magnify the enormity of thoughts in my mind. I had to physically find a way to deliver these thoughts and hand them over. The Lord knew I needed this, too.
I got out one of my many journals (because I'm the least organized journal-er you'll ever know), and began to write out all my thoughts. They were directed to the Lord, so I suppose they were prayers. But each phrase began a bit like this:
I feel unsure...
I feel alone in this...
I feel trapped by...
I feel paralyzed because...
I am disappointed from...
With every stroke of ink, I felt something lift. Pages of questions and statements like these led me to ask the Lord, "What do you think about these things?" And in the ask came both the freedom to release and the clarity in knowing where I needed to press in a little further.
The Lord already knows the thoughts that we try to actively avoid weeding out. He already sees how these thoughts affect us physically and emotionally. He already has grace awaiting us freely, a grace that we have to choose for ourselves. He knows what we need before we express it.
In these specific few hours of my life, my Savior knew that I needed to face silence—or really, to just face myself—and that I needed to uproot unhelpful thoughts that had taken me captive. To physically write these thoughts onto paper gave them less power and space in my mind.
Through this simple exercise of writing and being vulnerable with my own self, I somehow walked away feeling more empowered and confident in my abilities to take action and be accountable where I needed to.
It's this personal journey of prayer and expression and vulnerability with Jesus that fuels me as I step into areas of community and leadership. It's often ugly, this whole sorting-out-my-true-thoughts thing. But we all have them, we all fight them, and we all come together on Sundays with them.
If this view into my personal walk with Jesus can encourage you in anything, I hope you receive this: it is one hundred percent worth it to be vulnerable, to bring the things to light that hold power over you. With yourself, your tribe, your Savior. We must see our vulnerability as courage as we summon the courage to be vulnerable.
Thanks for joining me today,
Jamie L. Robison