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Cultivating more quietness in our super-busy, crazy lives can have wonderful physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits. (See this post for more about that.)
But what do we do when the silence we have seems empty and unfulfilling and maybe too quiet because of loneliness or loss?
What do we do when we set aside quiet time to more deeply connect with God, but often feel like He isn’t listening or even present with us?
A Purpose in the Quiet
I heard Kim Walker-Smith of the band Jesus Culture explain (along these lines) that even when our quiet times seem dry and fruitless, we can be sure that God is pleased and that the time we put in is like seeds that will grow into something beautiful in our relationship with God some day.
Sometimes we go “desert” times because our faith is being stretched. Will we believe that God still loves us, that He really is listening, and that He is on our side… even when it doesn’t seem like it?
These “too-quiet” times can compel us seek and find God even more. In the book The God Chasers: My Soul Follows Hard After Thee Tommy Tenney says that God often seems elusive because He is encouraging us to pursue Him and get to know Him even better.
He doesn’t want us to be satisfied with a surface relationship, but to keep seeking Him until our souls are satisfied. Like a “deer thirsty for water” (Ps. 42:1), we need to acknowledge our desperation for the Only One who can truly meet our needs, rather than settle for substitutes.
And like a Daddy playing hide-and-go-seek with His little one, He’s not going to hide forever… He’s happy to help us to find Him and to reveal Himself in good time.
So if your quiet times don’t seem to be making much of a difference, don’t give up! Keep seeking, believing, and trusting that He’ll come through for you. This time is not a waste.
What If You Lack Community with People?
But what if part of your “too-much-quiet” in life is because you don’t have a lot of good friends or the family life that you may desire?
First, seeking God as your confidant is still important, because no human can understand you or can fill your deepest needs like He can.
Sometimes, because of the loss of a loved one or another difficult experience in the past or present, you may need to find healing with a counselor or similar person who can help you. With a more fully healed heart, you may be better at finding and maintaining the healthy relationships you desire.
Some Ways to Find Community
Other times, you might be fine emotionally (for the most part), but just need to be more proactive in looking for places where you might find people that can fill your life with joy. This isn’t always easy, but try listing a bunch of places/strategies and then take a little step or two towards community.
You could look for a good church or faith community with a group of people you can learn about God and do life with.
Perhaps you can think of a place where others in your stage of life like to gather.
Maybe there’s a place you’d enjoy volunteering your skills, or even work.
But maybe getting out isn’t an option for you. Are there any ways you can invite people over or join a good on-line community?
A Time I Lacked Community
When I first had my son, I didn’t adequately prepare for the fact that most of my friends would still be working during the day, and I’d be at home alone most of the time with a crying little guy.
It took me a couple weeks, but I finally contacted a friend I had lost touch with who also had had a child quite recently. She invited me to a Mom’s Bible Study that I ended up enjoying very much (with child care, too!) and I also got together with her a bit, as well.
I began to drop in at “Baby Time” at the Early Years Center in our town, which helped me get some more socialization with other moms in the trenches.
And I began to volunteer at a place I could use my ESL tutoring skills once in a while. Gradually, my social life began to fill up and this time of life began to feel a lot more fulfilling and joy-filled.
How about you?
What are some ways you could connect with people, so you could add to their lives and vice versa?
How could you get some emotional healing you may need which will help you better connect with others?
How can you make your quiet time with God a priority as you continue to “chase” Him and look forward to a deepened relationship?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas, as well, about what to do when silence doesn’t seem golden. Feel free to comment below.