What if I said you could take a mini-vacation this week . . . but still get all your holiday preparations done? And done with less stress? What if at the same time you could get advice to sort through all the conflicting demands?
The practice of silence can give you a 10-minute vacation every day, for as many days as you want. And as you regain internal peace you can become a peacemaker for others. That time resting in God also helps you follow His leading for some hours afterward.
That is especially important right now because Christmas offers unique opportunities we can so easily miss in all the busyness:
• People put more weight on family interactions at Christmas. They might be open to mending a rift if we gently reach out. People can also be deeply hurt by any harshness at this time of year, and being left out can feel like a major rejection: “If my own family doesn’t want me there . . .”
• People are more open to visiting church than at any other time of year. If we have quiet hearts we will be more likely to recognize an opportunity to invite someone. Quiet hearts are also more likely to notice and welcome visitors who are new to your church.
Silence creates greater opportunity for God to call our attention to things.
It could be the most important 10 minutes of our day.
Even though 10 minutes of silence may not feel natural at first, you can definitely do it. Here’s how:
• Prepare: Find a quiet(ish) spot. Turn off the ringer on your phone. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
• Enter in: Take a few deep breaths. Relax any tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, or face. Say a phrase to invite the presence of God. One simple option is, “Come Lord Jesus.” Or, you might imagine yourself handing your problems over to God, or leaning into His shoulder.
• Rest: You don’t pray (though it’s good to do that at a different time). Bible study is for another time too. Just sit quietly with God. If your mind wanders, just say your phrase and come back.
• Gently leave: When the timer goes off, don’t rush away. Is there something that came to mind that could be from God? A person you should call? A change in schedule? Pay attention to that. Then, go out slowly to the rest of your day.
• Repeat as needed
I’ve noticed time resting with God actually helps me get more done . . . and what gets done seems to turn out better. I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise to me. Of course God can do things better than I can.
Personally I wonder if my struggle to give Him time on busy days isn’t an indication that I’m relying on my own strength. Am I feverishly rowing my boat here and there, when, at the same time, God is encouraging me to open my sail instead and let the wind of the Spirit carry me along?