If you know me well you know that I have a hard time sitting still and being quiet. If there is a break in the conversation, I am probably going to be the one to fill it. I am an outgoing and conversational person that prefers small talk over silence. Which probably leads you to ask, what could I possibly learn from a self-diagnosed motormouth about the power of being silent? Great question, but you see because I struggle with being silent I have to put a lot of work into this area of my life and I have found the benefits it can bring. Below I have shared some of the benefits I have found but this is not a full list. Please feel free to share any additional benefits you have found.
The first benefit of being silent is that it allows God to speak and lead us through the desert. Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Sounds easy right? Just sit back and let God work, but it isn’t easy for us at all. Just like the Israelites in the desert, we think we know what is right so we make our own way instead of following the Lord’s instructions. Although God’s way leads us on a path that might takes longer or goes through the valley of the shadow of death but He does not intend to keep us there. He has a plan to take us through all of the hard times and heartaches. When we continue to push our way instead of allowing God to lead we end up in the valley and cannot get out. I encourage you to start every day in pray and devotion to God. Use Mark 1:35 as the example, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” It doesn’t have to be early in the morning but we should be making time to be in silence with God daily.
The second benefit of being silent is that we might actually learn something from letting someone else speak. I have a tendency to speak up and give advice even if it has not been asked for. In doing this, I am saying that my way is best and no one else should even bother to give their opinion. Spoiler alert: There is never just one way to do something and having multiple ideas might actually lead to a more effective solution. James 1:19 gives us some solid advice when it comes to listening instead of speaking. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” When we allow others to speak up it displays humility and grace. When we stop pushing our own agenda it allows others to lead and feel valued. Our thoughts are based solely on our experiences which can be limited but when we allow others to speak up we open ourselves up to a large variety of experiences that can be helpful. So I challenge you to think before you speak and let other’s thoughts be heard.
Third, it can reduce our stress and allows us to refocus our thoughts. If you are like me, your mind runs at 100 miles an hour, and many times you cannot keep up with everything that is going on. One small thing can snowball into something else and lead to larger issues. I have found that If I can dedicate time to just sitting and being quiet with the Lord, my mind begins to slow down and I can unburden myself of all the stress I feel. Time in silence allows God to speak into my soul and give me the peace that transcends all understanding. Lamentations 3:26 says, “So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.” We know that God will provide if we just wait quietly for Him and don’t push our own agenda. Although sitting still may not feel comfortable it is what God calls us to do on many occasions.
Being silent reduces our overstimulation from the things of this world. Society has made it uncomfortable to just be in silence and reflect. It encourages us to fill every given moment with something and use every second of the day. If we have a moment of downtime we pick up our phone and began scrolling through social media. In doing this we allow the bad news and the worldly news to penetrate our peace that can be received by sitting in silence or praying. Even children exhibit this by constantly needing to be entertained and reaching for a tablet or iPad when there is nothing else to do. I believe overstimulation is one of the biggest issues in our country today. We can’t find peace so we fill our lives with noise and activities. This stands against what Psalm 46:10 teaches, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” When we fill out lives with everything else we leave no space for God which only leads to being lost in this world.
The last benefit of being silent is that it helps us to control our temper. Not everyone struggles with having a short temper but I am sure there have been times when you have said something you wish you could take back. When we take the time to be silent and process what is being said it allows us to react calmly instead of flying off the handle. Proverbs 17:27-28 says, “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Words can hurt if they are not closely guarded and even fools are considered wise when they remain silent. Proverbs 13:3 also tells us, “Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.” Word can be used for one of two things to build up or to tear down. Because of this, it is extremely important to guard our tongue and watch what we say.
I am still in the process of choosing silence over words and listening over speaking. So far in the process, I have received so much peace from taking the time to listen to what God is saying instead of trying to navigate my way without His guidance. I hope that you can also find peace and understanding in taking the time to be silent. I urge you to start small and build up from there. I believe if you dedicate only a few minutes a day to being still and quiet with the Lord you will see a difference in your life. If you don’t believe me I challenge you to test me on that. Give God 1 minute of complete silence every day for a week and see if you don’t feel more connected and relaxed from it.