I am extremely extroverted. In fact all of the online tests I take testify to this claim. Being around people gives me energy and life.
Thankfully, God gave me a big family to grow up with. Being one of the five boys in my house, I loved the never ending adventures that presented themselves in everyday life. Rare were the days of elongated silence, and I liked that. Growing up as a pastor’s son, church too, became a place of social engagement and loud activity.
Unlike many, I thrive in the constant rush of life. It actually excites me. After living and working on a college campus for over eight years it wasn’t uncommon to have 10-20 different conversations on a slower day. It didn’t take much for me to adapt this fast, loud, and busy pace of life. It was amazing, but I didn’t know that I was missing out on such an important piece of life: stillness.
I didn’t know that moving to a new community just 45 minutes south of my hometown would be such a challenge. Instead of the 10-20 different conversations on a slower day; in my new normal, I’m lucky to have five conversations with the same small group of people. This is not a bad thing, it’s just extremely different. In the six months since my transition to Oceanside, I’ve learned some valuable lessons in this quieter season of life.
Silence is worship too
Strip away the conversations, take the head phones out, and close the door. These are some of the ways I’ve learned to worship the Lord. In the stillness and quiet of the room, I’ve found that silence is pleasant to the heart of God. In the silence, I’ve been able to hear the still small voice of the Lord and often feel His holy presence surround me.
It’s in these hushed moments that I understand why the Holy Spirit penned by the Psalmist encourages us to “be still” and know that He is God. It’s these moments that God has another opportunity to love on us and remind us just how treasured we are.
Quiet introspection is good for the soul
Pastor Timothy Keller explains it this way. “If we give priority to the outer life, our inner life will be dark and scary. We will not know what to do with solitude. We will be deeply uncomfortable with self-examination, and we will have an increasingly short attention span for any kind of reflection. Even more seriously, our lives will lack integrity.
Outwardly, we will need to project confidence, spiritual and emotional health and wholeness, while inwardly we may be filed with self-doubts, anxieties, self-pity, and old grudges. Yet we won’t know how to go into the inner rooms of the heart, see clearly what is there, and deal with it. In short, unless we put a priority on the inner life, we turn ourselves into hypocrites.”
More and more I’m learning that in the solitude and stillness before the Lord, God moves towards us with His loving tools of sanctification for my good and His glory. I’m realizing that quietness is a yet another platform for God to conform me into His image and make me into the man that He desires me to be. With this understanding, I no longer shy away from the stillness but advance towards it with holy anticipation.
Shutting up in 2019
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to dial back on social engagement. This also applies to the use of social media. I wonder what secrets the Lord will whisper as we wait upon Him.
Dear reader, join me in a quieter year before the Lord. Let’s hear His voice better than we did in 2018. Let us familiarise ourselves with how He moves our hearts and speaks to our souls. Like my mum’s bathroom plaque says, “Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.”
Aaron Sabio lives in Oceanside is a pastor at Calvary Chapel Vista in Southern California. He enjoys coffee, volleyball, and singing.