Silence – Part 1

 “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence: see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

Mother Teresa

Nature's Quiet Beauty

Nature’s Quiet Beauty

I’ve previously mentioned my conversion from New Year’s Resolutions to New Year’s Goals to the My One Word Revolution that began last year when I chose the word “Grace.”  The idea behind choosing one word is to pray about a word God leads you to by keeping in mind the kind of person you want to become and the characteristics that kind of person possesses.  If several words come to mind, choose just one that encapsulates them all the best.

Desiring to become better in an area of life that has plagued us in the past is a good thing.  However, when I made New Year’s Resolutions to change said areas, it was a rare occasion that I made it through January without “blowing it.”  And once I blew it, life reverted back to the comfortable, well-worn path of old behaviors, with the feeling of failure added to the mix.

Choosing one word to focus on, knowing I can start over at any time during the year, the month, or even the day, and start over as many times as is required, cements characteristic changes into place.  Even cement can crack, however, so a full year to practice living the principles surrounding the word God has led me to through prayer works perfectly.

2013 was a year I desired to explore Grace–living it, accepting it, and extending it to others.  I “blew it” numerous times over the course of the year, but that word, one that is pure and pleasing to God, remained engraved on my mind and in my heart, so that when I strayed from living through grace, it reminded me to do an about face and turn it around, doing whatever was needed to correct the behavior.  While I’m far from having perfecting living through and extending grace to others, I’m much better than I was when I started, and I’m okay with that.  Because for me it’s all about progress, not perfection.

photo (3)

Another component of the movement that I’ve incorporated as well includes choosing a bible verse that correspond to the chosen word.  I chose two last year and again this year.  Rehearsing the verses daily brings clarity and focus daily on the one chosen word.  I create cards on my computer with my one word as well as the chosen bible verses, in a fun and colorful font, and keep one at my desk at work, one by my bed to read first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, and one in my car.

It’s much easier to focus on one word that signifies who I want to become than try to remember a list of resolutions to change things I want to leave behind.

If you make the choice to join the movement, or if you’ve been participating already, I would love to hear the word you’ve chosen for 2014, and why.

Wishing you all a safe and blessed New Year filled with His presence and peace.

Thankful Thursday – Golden Silence

Silence
Silence – the absence of sound, chaos, noise. That moment that lends all consuming peace and serenity.

 There was a time in my life when silence was anything but pleasant. It was anything but peaceful and serene. In fact, it was equal to the most obnoxious pounding. Pounding which was probably the reflection of my heart pounding from fear. Fear of being alone.
As I’ve gotten older and have learned to grow more comfortable within my own mind–a place that has become a little less scary :-), silence began to change from fear to peace. A reprieve from the busyness of the life around me.

 I found myself looking for ways to incorporate more silence into my daily routine of living.

 I used to listen to my Ipod when I ran. When I was on vacation and didn’t have my Ipod, I was forced to listen to nothing but the sound of my feet on the pavement with each stride, the rhythm of my breathing, and nature’s sounds. It didn’t take long for me to prefer that to the constant chatter of talk radio from my ear buds or even music, as much as I love music.

 I ended my run feeling much more refreshed, energized and alive.

 While I used to love driving in my car with the windows down and the radio up, that has changed to my sunroof open and the radio off. I still love the fresh air, but without the constant voices from the radio. There are still times that I turn the volume up on my radio while I sail down the highway, but more often than not I’m reveling in the solitude of silence. Especially after a day at work when I’ve heard nothing but chatter all day. That silence within the confines of my car is golden.

 While I used to have the television on while I was home, for background noise, if nothing else, now I find myself content to read in silence or cook while giving my full attention to the easy sounds, feel, and smells of what I’m cooking or baking.

 Silence encourages my mind to seek God in prayer or explore ideas for my next writing endeavor, mentally creating characters and story lines.  My mind drinks it in, my soul absorbing it as a beautiful rain quenches the thirst of a parched land.

meditation

Practicing meditation has taught my mind to even find silence in the middle of chaos and noise. To find that peacefulness and serenity when my head feels like it might explode from sensory overload.

Silence really is golden. It’s not lonely anymore because I’ve found peace within myself.

Silence is golden and fluffy

I have discovered that silence is not only the absence of sound, but the presence of stillness. With or without external noise. Simply stillness within.

And for that I am thankful.

All is Grace.