Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom

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When Luci Swindoll told me one of her favorite inventions was the alphabet I knew we would always be friends. I love words. I’m a bonafide verbiage collector. I love small words like gnu, descriptive words like dollop, and filler words like thingamajigs and whatchamacallits.

There’s something magical about lining up letters and finding the very thing you want to say. So imagine the jolt I got when a couple of my friends showed up at a conference sporting, “On Voice Rest” badges. “What does that mean,” I puzzled. They rolled their eyes and pointed at the confusing script. “On Voice Rest,” I squawked. Still befuddled I asked, “but does that mean you’re actually not going to talk?” They nodded. I was almost silenced, but then I rallied and decided I could talk for all three of us. So I was chatting away when one of them got up walked over to me and pulled from her pocket a backup badge and pinned it on my collar. Harrumph.

C’mon, not talk? Think. About. It.

I read once about a movie actor who fasted from words on Wednesdays. He said it added such a flurry of creative energy to his work and it helped him be more word sensitive when he did speak.

Secretly, I admired his choice but I have yet to duplicate it. I have however remained silent on two hour flights only to get off and magpie anyone within a 10 foot perimeter. It’s like the accrued word count within me had percolated in my silence until when I disembarked I erupted into a volley of caffeinated chat.

I do have a propensity to go on-and-on. I know that. It’s like I have no edit button. When in truth I know it’s a matter of changing gears (slowing my pace) and installing a conscious (Holy Spirit) awareness of my need to at least minimize my word count.

Voice rest has multiple benefits.

  • Those who have grown weary of our deluge are relieved.
  • We listen more closely, (because we are not busy crafting our response).
  • Our new discipline will spill over into other frayed areas of our life.
  • People’s trust in us grows.
  • And our center stills. We feel less frantic and surprisingly, more heard.

So what about a wordless Wednesday or having a mute button installed for Monday mornings? Or being silent long enough to hear what God’s curriculum is for us?

Think about it. I am.

“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.” Francis Bacon

This post was inspired by the Luminous Project. Luminous is a creative spiritual event in Nashville May 1-3, 2013. To find out more, check out www.luminousproject.com. You can use the promo code ‘BRINGitHERE’ to get 35% off the registration price.

  • http://twitter.com/normalrockstar normalrockstar

    Love it, Patsy! Great post and encouragement. I’m curious to see what my wife would think if I instituted a “no-words-Wednesday”. My gut says her response would be “You don’t usually meet your words quota ANY day – why take a day off alltogether??” Ahh yes… :)

  • Sue

    Wise words for those of us who love to chat. Thanks.

  • alina y

    Thank you, this is a great idea. I tend to chat on the phone more then needed. I have small children so maybe I can still talk to them but have a no phone Wednesday. Thank you, this great idea will help me battle my phone chatting and help me be a much better mom.

  • Red

    The event sounds intriguing. I will check it out. Thank you for sharing.