The Nouwen Challenge, pt. 1

I’ve been thinking a lot about silence lately. I don’t encounter much of it in my life. Even when I’m alone at work, the silence is only external. Inside my head is a running dialogue of to do lists, e-mails, and ideas for getting stuff done. At home, the sounds inside and outside of my head are much more enjoyable, but the the noise exists nonetheless. I’m beginning to think that I thrive on it… I even have an iPod dock in the bathroom so I can boom music when I’m getting ready in the morning (music preferences in the bathroom… TMI?).

If you happen to be one of my regulars, you might remember my blog post about Henri Nouwen’s classic writings on solitude. Since writing that, felt a little convicted that I should go and revisit the post as a reader instead of it’s author. I’ve been noticing just how little time I give God to actually speak to me in silence. One of my favorite persons from the Bible is Elijah, and one of my favorite stories is found in 1 Kings 19 where God speaks to Elijah not in the deafening chaos around him, but in a still small voice. In my spiritual life, I’ve found that God works this way more often than not, perhaps waiting on the periphery until we make room for Him in the priorities of our daily lives.

All this to say that I’m challenging myself to something new this week and I’m inviting you to join me. I’m going to do what Nouwen suggests – starting off with just a little time every day to sit in silence and let God speak. I’m going to pick 10 minutes every day (not sure when yet… either during the work day or at night after the kids go to bed), go someplace dark and quiet, clear my mind of all the chaos, and try not to fall asleep.  Whaddya say, ya up for it?


4 Responses

  1. That is truly a challenge. Even when I m home by myself, I don’t take advantage of the quiet. I will try to take this challenge with you. Blessings

  2. I’m in

  3. I am going to try. It is going to be really hard to quiet my brain.

  4. I’m in too.
    Been trying for a while to discipline myself to sit in silence for a few minutes a day. Somehow the days go by fast and I realise that I have been racing around without stopping for a spiritual breath.
    Recently I sat for a while in a cemetery; sounds odd but it is quiet there and you can sit without anyone interrupting you. The cemetery near here has a running stream and the wind blow through the trees. There is no sound of traffic or people. Before realising it, I had spent a contemplative hour in silence! To try and encourage myself to take the time to repeat this, I have set up my own blog – then came across yours. Thanks for the encouragement.

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