“Silence is how we start to listen to the small, still voice of Jesus.” Luke Whyte //
Perhaps because it is Christmas, your doubts are put aside. You’re able to listen in the silence and ignore the questions and fears that have been clamoring in your ears, coming against your faith. Or maybe, because it is Christmas, it has been the exact opposite for you. Because we are celebrating Jesus’ birth, even more doubts could have come up, whether about what you believe as a whole or perhaps a seemingly impossible situation you may be facing.
Regardless of where you fall this advent season, seeking silence is most likely not on the top of your priority list. In fact, silence may even seem like a bad thing, because it allows more space for the doubts. However, if we never take time to be silent and listen, we will not hear the voice of the only One who can answer our doubts.
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will not receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6-8
Doubt inhibits our expectations of what we think we can receive from God, making us unstable in what we believe. For example, if I doubt that He is a Good Father, then it is unlikely that I will trust Him in sharing my heart. God already knows my thoughts, feelings and emotions, but if I doubt that He cares or even wants to listen, I won’t want to talk with Him which means that I will feel alone and distant. It isn’t about not feeling doubt. It is about choosing to press in and listen even when it is uncomfortable and maybe not our first choice. Going back to that example, I can acknowledge that doubts are coming up but, instead of listening to the doubt, I can choose instead to quiet any other voice around me and listen to what God has to say, letting Him communicate His Father’s heart for me in ways that He knows I need it.
Silence gives space for us to hear what God is speaking. If I am never silent, then I’m actually not really listening. And if I’m not listening, then I am missing what God is saying.
So how can you increase the silence in your life? How can we savor, lingering on what God has spoken to us? How do we listen? Here are a few thoughts on how we can do that and questions to ask yourself and God:
Where have you been rushing in your relationships with God? Or better yet, what makes you rush that time with Him? Maybe you know that you have to get a certain amount of sleep in order to wake up early enough so you don’t have to rush the time you spend with Jesus. That means being proactive the night before to go to bed earlier because taking time with Him in the morning is worth it. Where can you slow down in your relationships with people around you? What would it look like to be present today?
Is Jesus truly the center of your attention and does He have all of your affection? If someone were to look at how you spend your energy, time and resources, would they see it reflected there? It’s not about doing it to be seen or making people notice, but if we really love Jesus and are focused on Him, it is going to make a difference in our lives.
Value the Voice.
No matter my situation or experiences, I can still believe the best about the One who has spoken. I can remind myself of ways that He has been faithful and provided and healed before. I can testify to others, and even myself, of who God is and value what He has to speak to me. This can be through the Bible, community and my personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. Do you value what the Holy Spirit speaks to you? What does it look like to steward what has been spoken?
Offer Him Your Doubts.
Isn’t it so kind that God does not just ask us for blind obedience, compelling us to suppress feelings and questions? I can have doubts, but it doesn’t stay there. I give them to Him, trusting that whether or not I get the answer I’m looking for or whether I get any answer at all, God is still good and it is all worth it. What are the doubts that are at the forefront of your mind? Have you given them to God? As you give them to Him, what encouragement or promise does He have for you in exchange?
It all begins and ends with rejoicing. Rejoice always. Even when it seems like worshipping and praising God is the hardest thing to do at the moment, we are still called to rejoice in the Lord always, and a lot of times thanking God can bring us into alignment to see Him, ourselves and the situation more according to how He sees it. How can you rejoice in God right now? Take time to read and put into practice Philippians 4:4-7. Pray through what is bringing you worry and then thank Him in advance.