Silence can feel like rejection and abandonment. This, however, is a lie. This observation is fueled by thoughts that have no intention for your good. It stems from a mindset that says your self-worth is based on constant outward affirmation of a very specific kind. But what if silence itself is an affirmation?

What if silence is actually a space of reverence and awe about who you are? What if silence is an opportunity to refresh yourself in the Presence of the Lord? What if silence is actually a potent weapon against shame?

What if silence is the soil of personal growth? What if silence is the fresh air after a storm? What if silence is the best, most hopeful experience you’ve ever had?

What if silence is the very whisper of God saying, “I love you”? Anything can happen in a space of silence. You can tell yourself any story you wish. You can make some of the most important and influential decisions while engaging in silence, whether or not you sought out that silence. Sometimes you crave it, sometimes you are force-fed it, but you can always benefit from it.

The key is to sanctify the silence. Use it to set yourself apart from the commotion of other moments and rededicate yourself to your mission, your purpose, your identity. Make it your manifesto of self-directed grace. Make it your statement of trust in the Hand of Providence.

When used in this way, when viewed from this position, any sense of shame is subverted because no longer is the experience a result of what you are not, but a gift in honor of what you are and what you will be. Silence is the breath of life—make sure you remember to come up for air every now and again.

On one of my many pilgrimages from my apartment to the library, I came across this sight:

We are the branches, He is the vine.

This branch was dead. The first word that came to my mind was “withered.” I think it reflected my current feelings of my spiritual life. I felt like I was withering.

Noise.

In the past, when I felt like I was withering, it was usually because of noise. People around me are always searching for some sort of external stimulation: television, music, talking, eating—whatever they can find to fill space-time around them. They have lost the art of silence—the blank canvas of life. That’s another discussion. My point is that in the past, I found myself spiritually parched because of excess noise. This time it was different. This time I had not enough noise. This time I had grown complacent.

I felt the usual uncertain, unguided longing in my heart and suddenly realized that I hadn’t spent much time lately with Jesus and I sorely missed Him. I was shocked at first because I had been surrounded with so much silence and then I realized that in the face of pure silence, I too had sought other things to clutter the canvas of life.

Odd: when I am surrounded with other people’s clutter, I make room for empty space. When I am surrounded by empty space, I splat whatever cheap paints I can find onto my canvas. The freedom of silence is what we were made to live in, but we do that so poorly that one begins to wonder if true freedom can ever be achieved. Thus begins my next challenge over summer: I make room for God in the midst of other people’s clutter quite well; now, can I make space for Jesus in the midst of my own clutter?