I think there is a bit of irony in the fact that I’m writing a blog post about quietness when I am admittedly not the quietest person you’ll ever meet. Historically, I’ve been known as someone who is outgoing and only at a loss for words when I’m sleeping.
A few years ago now, Mama called me on my birthday and did this thing she likes to occasionally do where she tells stories that begin, “On the night you were born….” And this particular story went like this:
“On the night you were born, you didn’t cry. I looked at your Daddy and said, ‘Why isn’t my baby crying?!’ Then, you started screaming and you’ve never stopped!”
Yes, I was a colicky baby. Does that really surprise anyone who knows me well?
While it’s fun to joke about it, there’s also a serious twist to the topic in that, quite honestly, I’m a bit of a screamer.
A number of years ago now, my friend, Missy, invited me over for a visit and like most good, Southern women, we ended up in her kitchen, chatting over sweet tea. Her two oldest girls were in the back of the house, playing quietly in their rooms, but after a while, I heard the baby wake from her nap and start to cry. The cries grew louder and more insistent until after a few minutes, the oldest daughter brought her wailing sister to Missy. The mother took her youngest child into her arms and began to try to nurse her, but the infant was inconsolable. The comfort of her mother’s breast was right there, but she was so wrought up that she couldn’t calm down and receive it. And in that moment, I heard God say, “Sarah, you’re just like that baby.”
Years may have passed and I may have changed a lot, but one thing that has remained the same about me is that it doesn’t come naturally to me to get quiet and listen or receive comfort – even from God. The more emotional and upset I am, and the more strongly I feel about something, the less likely I am to close my mouth and open my ears. I’m far more likely to rant and holler and cry and slam drawers and then do or say the exact wrong thing in response.
There’s some truth to one of my Dad’s favorite sayings: “God gave you two ears and one mouth so you can listen twice as much as you talk.” So many of the answers of life would be clearly apparent if I would more often close my mouth and open my ears – especially in prayer.
In this week’s chapter, Bob Sorge points out to us that, “quietness is not silence, but it is a quiet heart.” I’m not so great at that, either. From the time I leave the house in the morning until the time I fall exhausted into bed at night, I’m filling my life with noise – busyness and voices – the radio and the TV and the internet and work and errands and whatever else I can fill my life with to keep from having to deal with difficult and painful and uncomfortable things.
Sorge points me back to Philippians 4:6 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” And he rephrases that: “Quiet your hearts, and then express your requests to God.” But I want to take it back to last week’s lesson and rephrase it this way: The Father is saying, “Let me hear your voice. But then, let yourself hear Mine.”
This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Bob Sorge’s book, “The Fire of Delayed Answers.” You don’t have to read the book to hang around and chat with us! If you did write a response to this week’s chapter, go visit my co-facilitator (and friend!) Jason Stasyszen, and link it up at the widget.
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