There's a gas station in my neighborhood that I avoid as much as possible. Every time I'm forced to pull in, I cringe and grit my teeth. It's not because it's a terrible business that gouges its customers or anything like that.
It's because they have those TVs at each pump, blaring out commercials, weather, sports updates.
Each time I'm there pumping gas, I think, Seriously? We can't even spend three lousy minutes without noise?
Which is actually pretty ironic when I have the TV going at home and the radio going at work, just for the background noise.
But there's something powerful about noise. It keeps us from thinking clearly, from being single-focused, from hearing God's still, small, quiet voice as he tries to speak wisdom and direction into our lives. If we can't hear him, how do we follow him? How do we grow spiritually?
There are times when my mind and body ache for quiet. Silence. Solitude. Just to hear the sounds of nature. It's amazing what you can pick up when you listen to silence. Of all spiritual disciplines, silence and solitude seem to be two of the most difficult for us to experience and practice.
So in this issue, we help you get focused, help you figure out ways to incorporate times of silence and solitude—without feeling guilty about sloughing off on your busy schedule. And we help you uncover the wonderful discoveries you can make about yourself, your dreams, your calling, and about who God really is. All available to us when we practice being alone with God in the quiet.1