God wants to speak to you: Are you listening?
By Vanessa Walsh, Retreat & Communications Coordinator
We now find ourselves a week into Lent. How are you doing with your Lenten commitments? During Lent I find it helpful to step back and examine my priorities in life. I’ve been struck a lot lately by the noise that constantly surrounds us. Walking across campus we are on our cell phones; at the gym we have our headphones in, sitting in our rooms we turn on music or the TV. Where does silence play a part in our lives? How often do you find yourself in silence?
I can tell you that my life has been enriched by adding more silence into my life. I’ve been on two silent retreats in the last month; once by myself at a hermitage an hour north and then this past weekend with 55 UST students. For me it all started in college; I had an hour commute each way and there were times that I intentionally turned off the radio and just drove in silence. I found that the silence helped my heart to feel settled and at peace. And I began to discover that I yearned for more and more silence in my life.
Being in silence allows us to reflect in a deeper way; it gives us an opportunity to process our thoughts. Silence also provides a beautiful invitation for the Lord to speak to our hearts. God can speak to us in a myriad of ways: through a friend, a breathtaking sunset, or reading Scriptures. The list can go on and on. But if our lives are too noisy, how can we hear the Lord’s voice?
Time and time again I am struck by the story of Elijah in 1 Kings. Elijah is fleeing from those who seek his life; he has done his best to be faithful to the Lord and in this moment he is tired and weary. He ends up in a cave on a mountain and vents his frustration to the Lord. Let’s take a look at this passage:
The Lord said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord, as the Lord will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. (1 Kings 19:11-12)
When Elijah heard the tiny whispering sound, he knew he was in the Lord’s presence. Before that there was chaos: wind, earthquake, and fire. What is the chaos in your life? We can easily replace wind, earthquake, and fire with the busyness of classes, balancing work and school, and making time for friends and fun. In our modern culture it is a great challenge to be silent. We are constantly bombarded and have technology ever at our fingertips. In the midst of the chaos in your life, are you able to hear the Lord’s whisper?
The Lord wants to speak to you. Are you listening??
Take time this Lent to reflect in silence. Whether that’s taking out your earbuds, or sitting in the Chapel, or turning off your phone and computer for a time. It may seem awkward the first couple of times you try it, but keep it up. Turn your thoughts to the Lord. Instead of a rushed prayer here and there, just try to sit and be aware of the Lord’s presence. Great fruit can come from spending time in silence; you will sense that you are calmer, more peaceful and in tune with the Lord if you take time to be quiet and be in the Lord’s presence.