I was challenged recently to be silent – that is where today’s inspiration comes from but not the message that has transpired! It just got me thinking about silence.
People who know me, know that I am an external processor and I think constantly and my brain fills up quickly and when I’m around people, I want to speak it out.
People who know me well, know that I actually enjoy being quiet, moments of solitude and silence. It’s why I enjoy walking. It’s in these moments where all the thoughts and ideas the extrovert in me has collected get to merge together and form patterns. It’s what inspires what I write, what I say when it needs to be more than conversation. I enjoy being around people who don’t need my words to know my heart, I enjoy just resting with people. Yet, where there is talking – I want to join in.
This isn’t so much however about that kind of silence. This is about the silencing I see in people when they don’t speak what needs to be said because of fear, anxiety or lies they believe. I had the phrase “to be shut down, to be silenced”
Shutting someone down can be used as a weapon, I have seen it, heard many stories of it, had it done to me and used it myself. To shut down or silence someone is to make them retreat, hold back, it corrodes people. I have been silenced externally but more than often I am silenced internally.
My mind keeps recalling a story from something I have read and forgotten where from*. The details are vague but the message clear. It was about a group of women, one was broken but believed a lie not to share her pain. Another thought to ask but believed she’d be seen as nosey. Yet another felt motivated to suggest they prayed, she too was silenced by lies and fear. Eventually, one woman bravely stepped out of the fear and stuck a sword in the silence. The curse was broken and freedom came to all those involved.
There are times to be silent, in fact sometimes it is exactly what God asks us to be. We need to learn to discern his voice over the lies. I am all too aware that not stepping out when I have felt my heart urge me to has led to another person not receiving freedom or help as quick as they could have. I am also aware of the lies that I submit to:
- I can’t share this – people will think I love myself
- I can’t ask that – people will think I am nosey
- I can’t say this – what if I’m wrong, or people think I’m pious
- I should stop talking no one actually cares
- People don’t want to know how I really am
- I shouldn’t say what I really feel, people might walk away
…more I should suspect.
Now the opposite of these is not always the action to take because that too could be motivated by fear, control or lies. Instead, we must discern the situation, ask God if it is him and then step out in love. (And run back to God if it goes pear shaped)
Recently I had a dream, although much seemed real. Most of it was influenced by a true happening in my life and when I woke, my face was wet with tears. I don’t often have dreams when I do, they are often battles. This dream was a battle I experienced. A battle in my mind about me, my identity, my heart… It became corroded lost somewhere. I believe I must be a different me, a me that someone else defined and manipulated, one who had a foothold and dug in deep with it.
That was many years ago and God has rebuilt walls and passions and heart in me. But sometimes I find it’s influencing me again, I become scared to be me. I retreat I am silenced. These moments are rare, but they often bring along a party of lies and fears from many different inferences.
God has not purposed me for this.
I am not to retreat in fear but to step forward in love. Not the pink heart shaped love, but love that is powerful and fierce. His love for me, not my love for me. More than that God has equipped us and shown through Jesus that we are to silence the enemy.
Last week I began reading through Mark 1 and I saw Jesus and how he uses his words bring life and also to silence that which is not of him.
I believe God is calling us to take hold of all he has given us and to speak life into situations.
I believe he is asking us to notice each other’s language about ourselves and battle for freedom in our minds – together. Not retreating in fear but instead learning to silence our foe.
What is God asking for you to speak silence to in yourself and in others?
Step out in love and ask that you would bring life.
[This is inspired by Nathan who doesn’t read my blog, but did bring the challenge]
* please let me know if you recognise it.