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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Silence: the non-thought of the week

About six months ago I saw an old friend from my days before I hit rock bottom. I hadn’t seen her since a few months after hitting rock bottom. The only thing I can almost remember about that meeting is my mind was really hazy and I desperately wanted to move back to New York. I was stuck in San Francisco for the day and would be stuck in other parts of the country for nearly a year. I was pretty hopeless.

I have been learning something recently about hope. It is when I finally become without hope that I find hope. When I don’t even have one solution I can construe in my mind to fix my situation, that is when I finally surrender and tell God He is going to have to fix the situation because I am entirely unable to even imagine a solution to a problem many times bigger than myself. It is when I no longer have a solution, I have learned to follow Him as He leads me to His solution.

I really wish I could say I was wiser and gave things over to God while I still have many solutions which might work if only I tried hard enough to make them work, but I’m really not wiser. I’m working on it. I am much further than I used to be, but I certainly am not where I could be.

Anyway, back to the meeting I had with my roommate a half year ago. She kept repeating, “Laura, you are so calm now.” I took it as great encouragement someone could tell I had changed by merely being in my presence for five minutes. The change, which felt so much on the inside, really was making it to the outside.

A little over a month ago, I turned 31; so far I recommend 31 to people. It is a nice age. I wondered what I could do to make it special. Celebrating birthdays has not always been a high priority in my life; but these last couple years, as I have learned to celebrate, I have tried to do something special to celebrate life in general and my life in particular.

This year I came up short on ideas. Honestly spending any money at all was going to stress me more than it was going to help me celebrate. I don’t know if you have ever been in a situation like that in your life; but sometimes the reality in my life is no matter what I buy with my money, I will have wished I had just saved it for the necessities.

So in between my rock and hard place, I wondered what I could do to make me feel special this year. What would make my life better? I thought of all the stress I put on myself to have as little time alone with God as possible. I know, I know; and yes, you read that right. But I hate being weak. How much time could I possibly need with Him anyway? Seems most of the world functions on five minutes or less a day. Shouldn’t I be able to?

So I decided to give myself as much time with God as I wanted for the entire year. I knew how much time I wanted. My super productive hard-working American mentality always prevented me from having it without feeling guilty. (Interestingly enough I went over my journal from step group this week, and I noticed six months ago I was punishing myself by taking away my time with God. Last week I shared how I punish myself by not eating. It seems on some subconscious level that I really enjoy destroying my own life.)

There have been a few changes in my life since I have stepped into my birthday present. On more than one occasion I have had to skip serving at the homeless shelter or cancel a social engagement in order to spend time with Him. Basically my time with God has forced me to reprioritize my life and quit connecting with so many people. The latter makes me sad, but there have been positive changes as well. I no longer feel nearly as guilty for spending time with Him. Somehow giving myself the gift of time has helped me step out of being so overly focused on productivity.

The biggest change is entirely in my mind. My brain has started to work so much slower. Now as I process my emotions, it happens much more quietly. I can think one thought at a time. Sometimes I am so quiet that it feels like only my heart is thinking and not my brain. I am learning to be silent.

Now before you think I am super pious on account of this article, sometimes I am just quietly bitter. It seems I can think bitter, angry, unforgiving thoughts in slow motion as well as fast forward; but I am enjoying the quiet. I figure thought patterns may be easier to change when I am not thinking them so quickly. Like how doing a U-turn at 90 miles per hour is really impossible for the average American, but at 9 miles per hour it might be entirely doable.

There are other things that are changing, too; but I thought I would let you know how nice it is to be quiet on the inside. To practice silence in the rat race of the city.

Someday my “quiet time” may actually be quiet.

How do you practice silence? Do you ever have to sacrifice things you would rather do in the moment in order to spend time with God so your life is better in the long run?

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