Thursday, May 17, 2007

What If...I took a vow of silence?

I am convinced that those who regularly practice the spiritual discipline of silence are blessed in their silence. I began to contemplate this whole idea of silence before I went to Costa Rica in April. I had been reading a book entitled Prayer...Finding the Heart's True Home by Richard Foster. The book was on prayer not silence but the month before leaving I began to practice something known as the Formation Prayer.

In Formation Prayer you spend the first week with dedicated time focused on the love of Christ. The second week focuses on the life of Christ. The third week on the death (crucifixion) of Christ and the fourth week on the resurrection of Christ. It was during this time that I caught a beautiful glimpse into communion with God without words. I was silent in the presence of God. Not only to listen but to "be" with God. To remember.

But...this is different than what I am refering to here on the vow of silence. (Or, is it?) Have you ever been acutely aware that IF you opened your mouth you would sin? That was the case for me yesterday. I was fuming mad over a situation of total immorality and the injustice that followed in the name of this immorality. I came face to face with a grotesque situation. I, literally, had to bite my tongue to keep from opening my mouth. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I opened my mouth the floodgates of my bitter heart would unleash.

So, I took it to God. I certainly wasn't silent with Him. The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak. I'm thinking that God gave me two ears and one mouth and that I should use them accordingly.

I'm thinking of starting a club called The Monday Mutes.

What do you think?

16 comments:

Anne said...

Wow, Randee. Two great subjects linked together. "The Monday Mutes". Interesting idea, though that might not work for me at the office. I've always been drawn to more contemplative prayer, though in actuality I haven't been disciplined enough to do it often. My fault might be in thinking I need a large chunk of time instead of even giving it just fifteen minutes. What I love about this silent prayer practice is that it's really just listening to God and making space internally to feel his presence. I have a book at home by Foster about spiritual disciplines, but I haven't read it yet. I've had his Renovare Bible on my wishlist for awhile now too. Your post is inspiring me to do more sitting in silence with God.

As far as your situation at work, I find the older I get the harder it is for me to keep quiet. It's so odd, because I didn't used to be that way. Do women actually get feistier when they get older? At first I liked the empowering feeling I had when I'd feel angered and speak out, but then I realized how easily I could lose control. I'm sorry that you found yourself in a situation that felt like such moral decay and had to endure what you were hearing silently. But then - God must have some message in wanting you to be silent. Perhaps your silence will open doors that an open mouth would have closed. Hmmm.

Randee said...

Yes, Anne.

Be still and know that I am God.

I love Richard Foster's work on the spiritual disciplines. There's another great author of the same subject...Dallas Willard, I think.

It's the opposite for me. The older I get the more silent I become. I figure that's because I spent too many years running my mouth too much. I think it's tired. Maybe I finally wore it out.

I sure could use an open door these days. Just a crack would be so nice.

Lori Arriaga said...

Just like Anne I believe I am speaking my mind the older I get but yes I still need to remember there is a definite time speak and a time to be silent.

I have been on a journey to learn more about prayer and I know it is those times I truly make time to listen that I get the clearest guidance from Him and sense His presense more.

lifecoachlynn said...

So many noises and distractions drown out God's voice. He has so much He wants to share with us, but we often tell Him "Talk to the hand!"

Anne said...

Randee, there is a lot of wisdom in holding your tongue or waiting to reply to someone. It was rather hard to let go of my newfound frankness when I saw that it bordered on rudeness and unkindness. Drat. I spent years never speaking up, and here I was having to learn it again. But it was different this time. Now I think God has a hold of me enough to sometimes look at things with a heart of love, and understand where someone is and why they're saying what they do.

But as Lynn mentioned, I still need to get past the noise and distractions that often keep me from spending time with our loving Father. Perhaps Spiritual Disciplines is really a book waiting with my name on it.

Norka said...

Wow Monday Mutes.Perfect day for silence.
Randee, your blog entry was truly a word from God. I must begin to practice this principle of silence. It is not only wise, but I think it will discipline my swift tonge and impusiveness. Pray for me, girl.

Randee said...

To All Of My Sisters...I read this quote by Os Hillman this morning.

You never know how well your house is built until it is tested by the elements. Torrential rains reveal the quality of your roof. Wind and cold reveal how well your home is insulated. Heat and sun reveal the quality of your paint and siding. All these elements reveal whether a solid foundation has been laid to make your home a secure and lasting place to live.

Many of us find that we have given only lip service to God's commands. We are faced with the reality that our foundations are not strong enough to weather life's storms. How do we react when the trials come? Do we fret and worry? Do we take life into our hands? Do we respond inappropriately when we don't get what we want? The Lord uses these times to help us recognize whether our foundations are sand or rock. Ask the Lord today if you have built on His rock. If so, you can be comforted to know that you can weather any storm that may come your way.

There's not much more to say than that, is there?

LaTara Ham-Ying said...

Monday mute club! Sign me up.

Shalene said...

I'd love to say I'd like to join the Monday Mutes, but I think I'd probably be kicked out within the first week, because I couldn't follow the principles of the club. :) I think for me, while I've always made a point (with myself at least) to try to be as tactful as possible, I've found that I'm just now at a stage in my life, where when I do speak up, I'm finally taken seriously. I'm not a teen or a young adult anymore. I think the 30's do that to you. I would however love to learn the discipline of keeping silent before God. So often, we send Him our prayers and nag, and nag until we get an answer, preferrable the one we wanted in the first place. I'll be praying for all of you and myself on that one. :)
Blessings to All

Randee said...

Shalene...in Ecclesiastes we're taught that there is a time for everything under the sun.

Perhaps, this is your time to speak up. I've seen this on more than one occassion with my coaching clients. Finding her voice. It's quite beautiful and empowering so...speak up, my friend!

Randee said...

Oh, and by the way, ladies...before I made the "Monday Mutes" spiel, I should have looked at my calendar.

Two phone appointments which obviously require talking. This is going to be more challenging than I thought!

Sheri said...

Proverbs 10:14 Wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.

Proverbs 13:3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.

Sheri said...

I love the idea of being silent. Even if I'm not it makes me seem wise. Or ponderous. (Is that a word?)

I find that when I feel the need to blab on and on I get myself in trouble. I end up saying something I shouldn't (gossiping.) And then I spend way too much energy worrying about it. (God please get me out of this one.)

The idea of intentional silence is terrifying and intriguing. I spend most days alone with my dogs so there isn't much said. That doesn't bother me. But making a pact of silence? What if God tells me something I don't want to hear? Yikes!!!

I've often wanted to go to a monistary located in Southern Indiana to try this idea of silent meditation. It sounds nice...spending time alone with God in His Word...praying.

Maybe I should just do it!!!

Randee said...

Sheri,

I find it interesting that you likened the perception of wisdom to silence. I have been on the receiving end of this kind of perception before.

What I mean is that on more than one occassion, I have been perceived as wise due to my silence.

The funny thing is that usually I'm silent not due to wisdom (by any means) but because I have nothing of value to add. Simple as that. Hardly wisdom.

Sheri said...

Randee,

Yeah, but what a witness that is. Even when we don't feel wise, when we act wise people will want that. I find when I'm in a similar situation people see God.

I had a salesperson come to my door a couple months ago. She talked on and on and on.....I didn't really have much to say. Finally, she asked if I go to church. I said, "yes." She said, "I thought so. I could see the Spirit in you." I think its because I was silent that God had a chance to reveal Himself. Does that make sense?

Randee said...

Wow, Sheri. How insightful.

I'll be giving this a lot more thought.