We’re craving rest and quiet. At least, that’s what I gather from my own life and the comments I received after writing about 4 Ways to Experience Rest.
Yet craving rest, and actually finding ways to experience it are two different things.
Silence is especially challenging. Right now, close your eyes and listen. What sounds do you hear? My furnace kicked on. I hear video games upstairs and kids talking as they play together. A snow blower hums outside.
When was the last time you took a half hour, an hour, or part of a day to be quiet? When did you last silence your mind, quiet your heart, toss the to-do list, turn off the devices, and just let your brain be quiet?
We fill every minute of every day with stuff. Tweets to tweet. Posts to like. Texts to answer. Calls to make. E-mails to write and answer. Work. Work. Work.
When do we ever reflect.
God urged us through the Psalmist to “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). When the Lord spoke to Elijah, it was through a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12). God warned Israel through the prophet Isaiah, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” (Isaiah 30:15).
What might we be missing by not being quiet and still? What peace might we gain by listening?
Quiet space will be a challenge if you have small children at home. I confess, a number of times, I have taken a really long bathroom break with the fan turned on, but really, I’m just sitting on the floor with my eyes closed for a few minutes of quiet! (Please don’t tell them about my trick!)
Finding silence will be a life-long challenge. I think if we find ways to make silence part of our daily routines, like brushing our teeth and combing our hair, it will become more natural.
Here are 7 ways I’ve found to add a bit of silence to the day.
Turn off the radio while driving.
Notice your surroundings, the sky, the fields you drive by, other passengers in cars next to you. Especially if it’s a familiar route, try to notice details you haven’t seen before. (Note for those with kids, silence while driving is such a thing for me, that even my kids – now 8 & 10 – know that car rides are often just quiet. Often. Not Always. I think it’s good for kids to learn routines of silence too 🙂 )
Go for a walk or run around your neighborhood without headphones.
Don’t keep an eye on your watch or your phone. Observe your surroundings.
After your alarm goes off, lay in bed for a few minutes.
If you use your cell phone for an alarm, don’t check e-mail, facebook, texts, twitter, or anything else. Turn off the alarm and stare at the ceiling for a few minutes. In these quiet moments, I often think of friends or family members and what they are waking up to today. I offer a silent prayer for them.
Take a minute to watch the sunrise or sunset.
Stand outside until the color has melted into the earth or blended into the sky. If it’s too cold to stand outside, stand by a window and just watch. If you live near a beach, don’t talk to me. Just kidding. Take a regular day per week and go to the beach to watch the sunset.
Show up somewhere a few minutes early.
When heading to work, a meeting, or picking the kids up from school, give yourself a few extra minutes to arrive early. Take the extra time to sit in your car and be quiet.
Set a period of the day to turn off your phone.
Maybe it’s just for 30 minutes. Trust me, the world won’t fall apart! Give yourself a break from the pinging and dinging!
Use headphones and white noise.
If you’re in an environment where you can’t escape the noise, like a coffee shop, use headphones and find an app or website that plays the sounds of the ocean or nature outdoors.
How do you incorporate silence into your day?
Tweetables:Show up somewhere early, and 6 other ways to add silence to your day. 7 ways to add silence to your day.
How do you allow for silence in your day? 7 ideas here.