Silence. It is one of the most counter-cultural subjects of our time. If you do not know what I mean, I wish for one day, your ears could hear what mine do from start to finish. Sometimes silence is interrupted not just by actual noise, but also by the mundane.
The day in the life of Nikki:
What sounds like a bomb goes off.
Arm comes up, slaps it off.
Another round of bombs go off…arm comes up. Slaps it off.
This happens at least 18 times, mostly because Apple decided it was a good idea to not give a limit to the amount of alarms you can set.
I then fly out of bed, realizing I am already late.
While quickly swiping off all my alarms as they continue to rage, I realize I have 13 unread text messages.
I run out of the house, yoga pants on, coffee in hand.
If I am lucky, I do not spill my coffee all of my shirt or pants.
I speed at least 10 over; still surprised I have not been pulled over these last 3 years flying down the Denver highway.
Once I have had my full cup of coffee, I am alert enough to realize all the things I have to do for the day.
When I leave work, now smelling of babies and the spaghetti I decorated my shirt with, I am met with a laptop full of school and emails. Before I know it, It’s past ‘my bedtime’ (whatever that is…) but instead drink another cup of coffee and try to get at least one thing done before the day finally ends. Before I close my eyes, I think to myself, “Tomorrow morning I will finally get up early and go on a run”… or “Get it together Nikki…” Next day. Repeat.
Though many of your lives are probably a little more pinned up than mine, I am sure you can relate to parts of this. Our culture is fast-paced and seems to pull in every direction. With full time work, full time school, and an extroverted personality, I leave little time to just breathe. I find that there are seasons of life I can barely keep my head above water. Some days, if one more thing gets added to my plate, I swear I will just fall down and die from overload.
This year has been hard. Not just physically and mentally, but spiritually. And if I am being honest, most of this chaos stems from my spiritual life. Have you ever felt disappointment after disappointment? Maybe you’ve had one relationship heartbreak after another? Have you cried out to the Lord to help over and over, only to be met with silence?
The Lord’s silence in my life came at a time where my heart has never been more broken. It didn’t make any sense to me; why would a loving God bear watching me cry so much? At least say something. I would have taken a single word, but it was nothing. FOR. SO. LONG. It frustrated me. It defeated me. And man, does the enemy have a foot in the door when we start feeling like that.
As I look back these last few weeks, I’ve seen God more and more. He is unfolding a story in my life, not just for me, but for you too. I still have so many unknowns in my life. I am sure you do too. Frustrations in relationships? Same. But through those situations, He is there.
As an artist, I have discovered more and more, I am very much a visual learner. God often has spoken to me in the past not just by spoken words, but by showing me visually—typically an image or word I see. For instance, just the other day, I was caught up in a situation that hurt me deeply; I felt so betrayed. When I was waking up the next morning after the situation took place, I felt a surge of anxiety and anger all over again. I immediately started thinking of all the things I could say. But before I even opened my eyes, something stopped me in my tracks. A word came to my mind so vividly. I didn’t hear anything, but I saw it. It was in big, bold, black letters.
It even had a big black period at the end for extra emphasis.
As I began my day, I realized that “SILENCE” was God telling me to keep my mouth shut. I knew if I didn’t remain silent, this person would be gone forever. I spent that whole day fighting myself to remain silent. I wanted to respond to her words to me. But the more I thought on silence, I realized that the word was spoken to me for more than just this particular situation.
You guys…A single word in due time has humbled me to my knees! Isn’t it funny that “SILENCE” was not spoken to me, but shown to me in complete quiet silence. It was in my sleep, in the silence of the morning, just before I opened my eyes. And I didn’t hear it, I SAW IT. Fully emphasized with a big giant period at the end. I’ve been begging God all year to speak. But he wanted to SHOW me. He wants me to watch him work. He wants me to wait in the silence and find him (Isaiah 38:17). You will find Him when you continue to wait despite everything in the world telling you right now.
I am not sure who this is for, but man does God want you to know He is there with you. In the silence. In your heartbreak, He might not tell you your life will always be comfortable. But He may just want so badly to show you and unfold things in HIS perfect way. He wants you to watch him orchestrate. He is the great conductor. And guess what…some songs are far more beautiful without words!
If you endure the most broken state, God will lift your chin just enough for you to see Him move. Ask Him. Wait. Watch. Breathe. You don’t have to DO anything. He’s got you. Let us stop striving to fulfill our lives on our own. He is sovereign over every alarm we slap on snooze. He is sovereign over your chaos, beloved. If God were to tell me all of the next steps right NOW, I would (in a flurry of spilled coffee), try to rush things. His silence may be detrimental to your story. He knows what is ahead in all of the next chapters. He wrote it!
Lastly, know that as you continue to follow the Lord in an ever-increasing darkness within the world, His light will shine that much brighter through your suffering. Do not give up on Him. He watches you every moment and wants you to see Him work in every moment. Is it safe to say that silence and waiting are often most necessary during times of the greatest suffering?
A couple scriptures that speak to those in the waiting:
“The Lord is my portion, says my soul, Therefore I hope in Him!
The Lord is good to those who WAIT for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and keep silent, because God has laid it on him; Let him put his mouth in the dust –There may yet be hope. Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him, and be full of reproach. For the Lord will not cast off forever.” (Lamentations 3:24-31, emphasis added)
“ Lift up your eyes and see. Who has made these stars? It is the One Who leads them out by number. He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His strength, and because He is strong in power, not one of them is missing. O Jacob and Israel, why do you say, “My way is hidden from the Lord. My God does not think about my cause”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The God who lives forever is the Lord, the One Who made the ends of the earth. He will not become weak or tired. His understanding is too great for us to begin to know. He gives strength to the weak. And He gives power to him who has little strength. Even very young men get tired and become weak and strong young men trip and fall. But they who WAIT upon the Lord will get new strength.” (Isaiah 40:18-31)
Lord Jesus, thank you that you are sovereign over our chaos. Over all the noise in life, you are present. Help us Lord to have the grace to wait on you. Amidst the threatening clanging circumstances that are frequently introduced, help Jesus. Show us the humility to greet the offenses in silence, though, not without reproach; knowing that the battle has already been won. I know that silence is counter-cultural and everything around me is busy and far from quiet. Reveal to me the moments I can just sit in your presence and breathe. When life is crushing and people tear us down, help us put our confidence and trust in you. When there is no one to defend us, YOU will. God, you have seen how we are wronged. When every door seems to slam in our face, help us have patience for your timing in opening the right door. God, you hold the pen to my story. Why are we worried? Help us find you in the everyday beauty of life, where words are not found. You gave us life to enjoy, not to strive doing. Let us find you in the silence. Time and worry have nothing on You. Let us find beauty, as worry stops with time. Thank you for Your unfolding in the perfect time. We love you God. Amen.
Further Reading: 1 John 4:4; Ephesians 3:20, Jeremiah 33:3, Mark 1:35, Ephesians 4:20