Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
It's silent. I hear only my own breathing. And then Michelle's puppy presses his paw against my bare foot--cute, clumsy paws gently brushing the thick carpet.
I'm not sure what I'm listening for. The right prayer? A whisper from God to my heart? I think, actually, I'm relishing the invitation to not think any thoughts. I think, perhaps, I'm enjoying not listening, not searching for what to say, what to do.
A few minutes prior, we read scripture; we layered praise together to our God; and then, in silence--here now, in the silence--we confess our sins. I love this part, this sitting together, in this circle of sisters, not saying a word. It surprises me how much I love it.
Silent confession? Fun? Is it the confessing I love? Is it being in the presence of these dear friends who know my heart so well? Is it the almost tangible silence I find mesmerizing? What part of this is so inviting?
I think it's all three.
Dolly, who, for almost seven years now, has led our little group through the experience of praying together for our children, guides us deeper into the silence. She loves to sit with her God. She loves to stay.
She helps me, here, by her example, with my sisters, to stay.
When we confess, privately, what is on our hearts, to our God, we stay there for minutes that stretch longer than time. We close our eyes and we sit and, well, I don't know what goes on in the heads of my friends. But I love this confession time because it's in this stillness, this quiet, that I breathe: My confessions to God are the act of emptying myself to be present to Him.
I spend a moment giving Him all the burdens of my heart, the ways I've messed up, the things I've tried to carry on my own. Through the act of confession my spirit is quieted. In the presence of my God I am quieted. The stillness is sacred space; this space with my sisters is holy. We are attentive to this presence of our Father.
Oh, I am thirsty for Him--although I struggle to seek God lately. I struggle to stay here, in the quiet, seeking the presence of the only One who can bring me exactly what I need.
Even with the kids in school now during the days, I jump into housework and errands and writing and work as soon as the house quiets down. Or, I'll take the dog for a walk or I'll talk to a friend on the phone or I'll exercise--and in these moments I am listening to a podcast, to my friend's voice, to music.
I am not quiet. I am not still. I am not inviting the emptying my spirit needs to be present to the Holy Spirit who makes me whole.
I work hard filling myself up with things--information, thoughts, media. It's my own pride that chooses activity over being still--I keep going and moving and working, believing productivity will bring joy and contentment and fullness, not my soul quieted while in the presence of God.
I am missing something.
Are you, by chance, missing it, too?
I am wondering if you might want to join me, your sister, sitting in the quiet together each day. How about we try it, say, for a week? This is what I propose we do: how about, for fifteen (or ten or five or two!) minutes a day we just sit. In silence. With God.
How about we don't have a pen or a journal handy. How about we don't listen to music. How about we don't read anything, not even scripture. How about we just find some place of relative stillness and stay in it.
How about we try it today? And then tomorrow, and then the five days after that? I'll check in on Facebook after I've done it each day, and that would be great if you wanted to check in, too. I might post about it again--well, yeah, I probably will. And if you could leave a comment here, on this post (subscribers, click here to go on over to the blog to leave a comment), to let me know you are here, sitting with me, in the quiet, well, that would pretty much make my day.
This is an experiment, for sure. But I think it's going to be pretty cool. I don't know what to expect, and I'm not going to get all freaked out if I struggle to slow and settle into the quiet, at first.
But I am going to expect Him. I am going to know He is with me. I am going to sit with Him and be quiet with Him. If He wants to speak, He will. If He wants me to speak back, I will. But I think there isn't going to be a lot of talking.
Let's quiet, knowing we don't, for a few minutes, need to do a thing. Let's remember, in the silence, He is the only one who makes us full.
This post appeared first at You Are My Girls.com