10 Reasons You Might Be Afraid of Silence

10 Reasons You Might Be Afraid of Silence

Just the other day, I came home from an appointment expecting my entire family to be there. Instead, I arrived at a still, silent, and empty home. My mom took my kids to the store, and my husband went to play basketball. I was home alone, something that happens very rarely. 

I didn’t turn on the TV, a podcast, or a YouTube video. I wanted to bask in the quiet and enjoy the stillness. It was so relaxing that I fell asleep. Silence has a way of calming our souls and giving us the space to process and hear our thoughts. It’s very good for us. However, living in such a busy and rushed world, we may find ourselves at a loss for silence so much that it’s become uncomfortable. Instead of calming, silence may make you feel anxious and fearful without you even knowing why.

To help you understand why you may avoid quiet, here are 10 reasons you may be afraid of silence and how to overcome them:

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  • 1. Anxious thoughts fill your mind when it’s quiet.

    1. Anxious thoughts fill your mind when it’s quiet.

    When you’re busy, your mind is focused on the task at hand. However, when you have a moment of silence, your mind may take over with negative thoughts. Maybe your thoughts drift to a bad memory, or rush to what terrible things may occur in the future. Either way, wrestling with anxious thoughts causes you to seek noise and sound that could hush the negativity. Instead of running away from anxious thoughts with more noise, face them with prayer. 

    “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV)

    Prayer helps you to focus less on your problems and more on God, who has the power to solve them. 

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  • 2. You feel pressure to perform.

    2. You feel pressure to perform.

    You may fear silence because you feel like you always need to be on or entertaining around other people. Quiet around other people can feel awkward, compelling you to say something just for the sake of it. Still, there is even a place for silence around others. If a friend is grieving, for example, your presence may mean more than words. In fact, pausing for silence gives others room to speak. You’d be surprised how someone you consider to be quiet will open up to you if you provide them the necessary silence they need to talk. 

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  • 3. You like distraction.

    3. You like distraction.

    I’ve realized something interesting lately. I once thought my generation was addicted to our phones or social media, but I’ve come to realize we’re addicted to distraction in general. We run from the moment we’re living to focus on anything but, especially if the moment is quiet. We like being busy and focused on many things at once. Maybe it makes us feel important or that we’re getting a lot done. I’ve learned, however, busy is not the same as being fruitful. We think if we have time for silence we’re not getting things done when in actuality pausing for silence can energize us to get more done than we could have ever imagined. 

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  • 4. You’re scared of the unknown.

    4. You’re scared of the unknown.

    There was a time in my life when I could not sleep without the sound of my TV. I needed the background noise to calm my nerves so I could fall asleep. Noise was more relaxing than silence because if I’m honest, I was simply scared. I was afraid of silence, kind of like people are afraid of the dark. It repressed the unknown and left room for the unknown to surface. If I filled that space with noise, I wouldn’t have to fear.

    One night, however, I accidentally fell asleep without the TV on and slept really well. I realized I slept better without the noise and trained myself to fall asleep in silence. At first, this made falling asleep more challenging; however, once I fell asleep, the sleep was always better than sleeping with noise. Now I can’t go to sleep without silence. 

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  • 5. You’ve been criticized for being quiet or shy.

    5. You’ve been criticized for being quiet or shy.

    Our culture puts a lot of pressure on people to speak. Don’t get me wrong; we should speak up against injustice and voice our opinions. But like the Bible tells us: there is a time to speak and a time to be silent (Ecclesiastes 3:7).

    We’re afraid of silence because we’re always expected to have something to say. More quiet people are labeled as shy when they actually are more thoughtful. If that’s you, that’s ok. Be who God made you and don’t give in to the pressure to feel like you always need to be talking. 

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  • 6. You’re afraid of not being heard.

    6. You’re afraid of not being heard.

    You’ve heard the saying: “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” As I do believe we should speak up for ourselves, we also need to ask ourselves if we are speaking up out of fear. Are we afraid of not being heard so much that we won’t keep silent when it’s necessary?

    This attitude can get us in trouble and harm our relationships as we strive to be heard over following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We don’t need to use our words to cut others down or drown them out. To overcome this fear, we must realize God always hears us and fights for us. 

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  • 7. We misunderstand prayer.

    7. We misunderstand prayer.

    Prayer requires times of silence. It’s not all about listing off our request to God and asking for what we want. Much of prayer is listening to God; however, we can’t listen until we are silent. Remember to make time in prayer to be still and listen. 

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  • 8. You don’t want to deal with your emotions.

    8. You don’t want to deal with your emotions.

    Silence gives us space to process our emotions. If we don’t want to deal with these feelings, we may drown them out with noise. This is dangerous because avoiding your emotions with noise is not the same as healing. Silence is necessary to process how we feel. As we do so, God can bring wholeness to any broken places in our hearts. 

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  • 9. You fear looking weak.

    9. You fear looking weak.

    As previously said, many people who are quieter in nature may get criticized for it. This may cause fear to arise in us that if we are silent, we may come across as weak. However, as children of God, we do not need to worry about the opinion of people.

    We avoid silence because we’ve been pressured to believe that quiet means weakness, and that’s not true. Many times it takes more power and strength to keep our mouths shut than to speak.

    “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling.” (Isaiah 30:15 ESV)

    Our strength does not come from avoiding silence and always speaking; it comes from trusting in God. 

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  • 10. You fear not being busy.

    10. You fear not being busy.

    We tend to feel guilty if we’re not busy accomplishing goals and crossing off items on our to-do lists. Noise then becomes a signal that things are happening in our lives. We fear silence, thinking that it means we’re not moving forward. This fear will burn us out. Even Jesus took time to be silent. 

    “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35 ESV)

    Let’s follow the example of Jesus. Silence is not to be feared but embraced. 

    Christina Patterson is a Bible teacher, author, and speaker passionate about empowering women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. Christina holds a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a 501(c)3 non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She is also the author of several books, Bible Studies, and the creator of the LIFE Bible Journal that helps believers to intentionally study the Bible and apply God’s Word to their everyday lives. Connect with Christina at www.belovedwomen.org

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