After I get into bed and lie still waiting for sleep to come, as my breathing slows and deepens, my ears seem to grow large and take in all the sounds of the street outside. I can hear cars and trucks, trains and airplanes, not as white noise anymore, but as increasingly oppressive sounds.
When I take the time to notice, I feel the sounds of the world press upon my spirit too. As I live each day the voices of people crowd into my mind, and jostle for attention. The pressures of different areas of my life start up a clanging racket. Social norms and expectations, past experiences and the limits of my knowledge add to the clamour.
Amid it all I find I have begun to lose my own voice, and I struggle to discern the voice of the Lord.
I do not want to mishear Him by trying to listen through all the other noises, and I do not want to mistake another voice for His.
I do not want to repeat what other voices are saying; I do not want to be an imitation of some other voice. I want to be myself, and to speak with my own intonation and expression.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have silence as I fall asleep. I mean that heart-of-the-forest silence, that everything-is-holding-its-breath silence. For the spirit too, what is silence like?
We can experience silence of the heart and mind, but we must set aside time, and make it a priority. It is found in the secret place in God’s presence, where you are alone with Him. You have to leave behind all the competing voices of the world, become still before Him and tilt your ear towards His voice with expectancy. Then, in hearing His voice, you shall find yours again too.