Lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve become increasingly sedatephobic. Don’t worry, I looked up the word for it before writing this, just so I could sound intellectual. It’s the fear of silence. I don’t mean the absence of sound, like your annoying coworker or ex-girlfriend who just can’t stand it if no one’s talking and has to fill the dead air. I’m talking about the quiet times when there’s no one around and it’s just you with your mind left alone to wander. Traditionally, I’ve loved those times. It’s in the quiet times that God has spoken to me most. It’s also when I do my best thinking. In fact, I submit that 90% of all great ideas and inventions in history have been conceived while on the toilet or in the shower. Even mowing the lawn, there’s nothing to do but think.
Lately though, I haven’t relished that time. I’ve come to realize that a combination of a rather crummy last 14 months professionally, and serious lack of prayer and worship time, I just don’t have my head screwed on right. My defenses are in a pitiful state. Now when the quiet time comes, darkness takes in. Where serenity once lived and thrived, bitterness, lust, envy, and resentment now reign with brazen contempt. I tell myself that I’ve forgiven certain people for things that have happened in the last couple years. If that’s the case, why do I mentally rehearse all the things I would tell them if I ever got the chance to tell them off? Is that love? Is that forgiveness? No, it’s pride and folly.
When I can’t pretend I’m not thinking these things any longer, my first reaction should be one of submission and repentance. Instead, I fall for just about the oldest trick in the snake’s book. Shame. God knows every wicked thought that was going through my head, and instead of manning up to it and asking for His forgiveness for having done it and His grace and strength to withstand the temptation to go there in the future. I mentally hide in the woods, searching for a fig leaf, pretending it didn’t happen; as if stopping the sin erases it from history.
The only way to fight this is head on reckless abandon. I must pray for strength and wisdom, fortify myself from attack, and strike down my pride so that I may seek forgiveness.
I’ve been going over a couple of passages over and over, drilling them into my head. Setting perimeters for defense.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or admirable think about such things.–Phil. 4:8
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.–2 Cor 10:5
“Keep this on your mind – keep it within your eyelids” The Devil Wears Prada – Gimme Half
“I’ll never look back. I’ll never taste it again. I’ll never stop. You can’t stop me.” Project 86 – Stalemate
I’m sick of trying to keep my mind occupied just to avoid the mental silence. I hate that it’s been robbed from me. Rather, I hate myself for letting it be taken so easily and without a fight. I’m taking it back by force. Silence will once again be a time of rest. A time of serenity. A time of worship. I will leave the past in the past where it belongs. (I’ll never look back.) I will leave anger and resentment and impurity at the foot of the cross, not to be picked up again. (I’ll never taste it again.)
Consider it a vow.