As a parent, you’re busy. Who has time for reflection? Who really has personal time anyway?
I know I used to resist being alone. I found it awkward to sit in silence. I’m a bit of an extrovert (less so with the passage of time) and an A type personality, and my discomfort with quiet and solitude was high grade. After ten minutes, I was ready for noise, activity, friends or anything other than the gnawing silence.
A number of years ago it dawned on me that perhaps fear and unrest were lurking underneath the silence. As I probed that, it occurred to me that maybe I was afraid of what I would discover inside me. I think I was also afraid of God. What God might say…what he might want to change in me. It’s easy to resist silence. But I realized that if I continued to resist the silence, I’d be resisting God.
So I embraced it. Little by little. Step by step.
I discovered that my fears were actually well founded. There was work God wanted to do in my life. There were changes he wanted to make, to my character, to my leadership style, to my heart, to my parenting. It was difficult. In fact, for whole seasons it was incredibly painful. Who wants to change after all? I didn’t.
But here’s what I discovered. By embracing the silence and letting God do what God wanted to do in me, I began to change. Over time, I became (and am becoming) a better father. A more understanding leader. I more empathetic listener (still working on that one, actually). It changed who I was and continues to change who I am. There is much more to go.
Ironically, the change that God is engineering in me has given me some of the richest father-son moments of the last five years. Not only has that investment of time, silence, prayer, scripture and wise counsel impacted my life, but it’s impacted my family.
Our kids don’t really need to see a perfect parent. They live with us; they know we haven’t got our act together. But there’s something amazing that happens when they see a growing parent. The faith journey springs to life. God becomes not an abstract theological concept, but a personal God who’s leading someone they love into new possibilities.
I could have resisted the silence, the time alone with God. But I’m so glad I embraced it. In so many ways, it’s given me and my kids a front row seat to the grace of God.
My encouragement? This weekend, take 15-30 minutes to sit in silence. Grab a bible, pray, or simply sit and start a conversation with God. You might need to work hard to make the time and fence out the kids. But do it. Even ten minutes of silence a few times every week could lead you to a whole new place in your spiritual journey. And with it, you might just bring your kids.
What have you learned about silence? What’s helped you grow your walk with God?