When I am out on my bike or out running, I rarely see anyone without earbuds in. Everyone has tunes that they are jiving to. Very few are embracing silence as they exercise.
Except for me.
I used to run with my earbuds in. I had to wear them. For biking and running and even races, I wanted my tunes. They were motivational. They kept me going.
But I changed my mind. I changed when I realized that silence in my life is at far more of a premium than motivational tunes.
It started by choosing to leave off the car radio on the commute to the pool in the morning. And then it spread to running without my iPod. I found the silence to be a blessing.
I am surrounded by noise from fairly early in the morning to fairly late at night. I live in a noisy environment. I live in the city so there is always the sounds of traffic and trains and other people's voices and music.
And I live in a noisy household. I live in a house with four wonderful kids who all talk all the time. (they get it from their dad.=)) Even during quiet time they are talking. From the least to the greatest, they all constantly have something to show me..."look at this mom."
The phone rings, the timer rings, the dishwasher runs, there is the incessant pitter-patter of little feet.
It is rarely completely quiet. Not only is it rarely quiet, it could be described as non-stop noise.
Except early-early in the morning. 4:30, 5:00, 5:50, 6:30, 7:00. Then it is quiet. No trains. Very little traffic. No kids and their conversations. Just the wind, the birds and the church bells.
I've come to realize that these early morning moments of silence are a gift. They are a gift to refresh my heart. They are a gift of precious time to listen and ponder and pray.
So instead of filling my mind and heart with pre-determinded tunes, I take this chunk of relative silence and speak to God and listen to God. I stew over the verses I read before I took off for my exercise. I let Him lay thoughts, words, and even tunes on my heart. I listen to His voice on the wind, and through the birds. I hear His voice saying write about this or do this.
I am not advocating that everyone should exercise sans music. Exercise is my guaranteed moment of silence each day-whether I'm running or biking or swimming laps.
No, rather what I am advocating is some moments of silence every day for everyone. Whenever you personally can carve those moments out...nap time, early morning, late at night. Shut off the television and the computer. Huddle into the silence. And listen. Listen to nature. Listen to the silence. Listen to God. Ponder what He is saying to you.
God tends to speak in a still small voice not with a flashy bill board. It is like what is taught in crowd control: if you are trying to get someone's attention, don't always raise your voice. Lower it sometimes. Then your listeners need to lean in to listen. They need to work to listen.
I wonder sometimes if we are afraid of the silence because we are afraid of what we might hear if we actually stopped inundating ourselves with noise. If we actually stopped to listen.
How often do you have moments of silence in your life? Have you set aside a particular time daily that seems to work well for you to listen in the silence?