When Silence Is Golden & Speech Is Silver In Recovery

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I sat down the other day determined to have a conversation with God. I was frustrated because I hadn’t heard from Him in a while and I wanted to know what was up. I had some important prayers that needed to be answered and I was only hearing crickets. No voice, no action, no answered prayers. My frustration soon became angst then anger. How dare He ignore me! I am one of His chosen and therefore I should be important to Him.

Oh how my ego loves to be cunning and start running the show before I even realize it. My demands were presumptions and my hubris was out of control. So while I was yelling at God and flipping through my bible to find scripture that would support my nonsense and validate my pity party, I flipped to Mark 4:39, without realizing it, and read the words ‘Peace, be still!’.

Jesus said, “Peace, be still!”. I love when I see an exclamation point in God’s word. I automatically stop, re-read, go a few verses before and after the statement in an attempt to comprehend the full context. If there is an exclamation point – it’s there on purpose. There are no accidents in the word of the God. In Mark 4:39, Jesus was exasperated and His disciples were impatient, demanding and fearful. Jesus calmed the waters. The scripture continues with Jesus saying “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Jesus told them to (basically) hush up and stop talking. Have faith and trust. My world came to a stop – like an emergency brake on my mouth was pulled and I couldn’t find words to speak.

“Peace, be still!”

Like the petulant child that I can be, I wanted to yell even more but the spirit of God that resides within me told me, like Jesus told the sea, to be still. Be still. Two words that I have had forgotten.

What does being still even mean? As an adjective, still means not moving or making a sound. Motionless, unmoving, immobile – like a statue. As a noun, still means deep silence and calm, quietness, quiet, quietude. I needed to let go and let God do what He said He was going to do. I was reminded of Psalm 46:10. This verse is well known and in context, God was offering reassurance to His people that He would defend them.  Just because I didn’t hear Him say anything doesn’t mean that He didn’t speak.

Why do we expect to hear God when we won’t stop talking?  

I struggled and continue to struggle with being still. I chronically feel like I need to make up for lost time or always be doing something and in the frenzy of doing something all of the time – I actually accomplish very little. When I was first sober, I was anything but still and now in long-term recovery, I have to make a conscious effort to be still so that I can hear Him.

If I can’t hear Him, my recovery can become compromised as He is the foundation.

If you want to start to hear God again or hear Him for the first time, becoming still is paramount. It takes practice but if you incorporate time into your day to talk to Him, then sit and be quiet – you eventually will hear His voice. God doesn’t have to scream and shout at you just so that you can hear at your preferred decibel level. His voice may be small. 1 Kings 19:11-13 reminds us of that fact. If we are searching for a huge production – we will miss it. I have fallen short of standing in full integrity many times because I was too busy telling God how I wanted to hear Him that I drowned out His voice.

There is power in the pauses. When we pause and become still. We are respecting, honoring and creating space for God. I can actively call for God and consciously be still and wait. At times His voice may be small but His word is always good.

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