The other day while driving on the highway, I did something that I never do.
I turned the radio off.
That might not seem like a big deal to most people. But for me, it was HUGE.
See, I never and I do mean NEVER turn the radio off. It is always on and if I happen to need to hear something, I will turn down the volume. But I never turn it off.
I’m not even sure why really. I just always like to have music on in the background.
Or so I thought.
But as I sat there in my newly-silent car, putting along in construction traffic on the interstate, it was like I had stepped into a different world.
Suddenly, everything seemed to slow down. The construction vehicles to the left of me and the cars to the right and front of me all seemed to just fade away. I looked up at the trees through my windshield and as I watched them sway gently back and forth in the breeze (I was only going like 5 mph, so I could look away), it was almost as if I could feel them moving.
It was an amazing moment and I literally thought to myself, “So THIS is what life is supposed to be like!”
Of course, I am only human, so that feeling only stayed in my body for a few minutes. But even as that incredible connectedness subsided, I still felt incredibly calm and at peace.
Which for me… was weird.
Because not only do I never turn the radio off in the car, but I pretty much avoid silence like, always. It just makes me feel very anxious. If I’m home alone, I’ll turn the television on in the background or play music on my phone or computer. I like to sleep with a fan running for white noise and I’ll always be the one to fill in awkward silences during a conversation (even if it does make things more awkward!).
So, the fact that I was sitting here in silence in my car and actually not freaking out, was a pretty major deal. But it also got me to thinking…
Why was silence such a big deal for me in the first place?
Well, it didn’t take long for me to get the answer. Almost immediately, God spoke to me in that soft voice inside and told me the Enemy didn’t want me to be in silence because that’s when I could hear so directly from Him and connect so completely.
It was so surprising to hear, yet at the same time, kind of a “duh” moment.
I know that Satan likes to keep people busy (Being Under Satan’s Yoke) to keep them from being in relationship with God and keep them focused on things that don’t really matter. But for some reason, it had never dawned on me that my supposed “anxiety” about silence was actually just another tool to keep me at a distance.
Well you can bet your sweet bippy that I drove around the rest of that day (and several days since then) with the radio off in the car!
Now, I’m not saying that you will have a huge epiphany or an intimate moment with God every time you turn down Taylor Swift in the car.
But what I will say is, there is value in silence.
But what I will say is, there is value in silence.
With all of us being bombarded 24 hours a day with television, radio, social media, newspapers, magazines, traffic, coworkers, children, spouses and the other 100 things vying for our attention, it is important to take time out to just…be…quiet.
Even before I had my little highway epiphany, I knew that I was avoiding silence for a reason. But I thought it was mostly because I didn’t want to hear the “noise” in my head.
You know… all the worrying, stressing, overanalyzing, negative and frankly, just plain exhausting thoughts that seem to run through our minds 24/7. I didn’t want to hear all that mess, so the easiest way to ignore it is to cover it up with something louder.
Or again, so I thought.
Thing is, even if you choose not to listen to all that chatter in your head, it’s still going to be there. And most likely, it will choose a more annoying time to show up, like when your head hits the pillow at night.
After all, that IS the first time you’ve quieted down all day, so your brain thinks “Woohoo! It’s time to go! Ok, so let’s talk about everything that happened today! First, that breakfast that we had today, I’m not sure about that…”
And on and on it goes until it’s 4 in the morning and you’re about to drink a bottle of Nyquil or throw your alarm clock out the window.
That’s why it is so important to let yourself be in the silence at some point everyday.
Whether it’s to have a moment with God or just to give your brain a break, everyone can use a little quiet.
And ya know what?
In the end, it’s actually not that scary. I don’t know what I was so afraid of all this time.
In fact, dare I say, I’m even starting to kind of like it a little. Now that doesn’t mean I will be ditching my bedtime fan anytime soon yet, but it does mean I am okay with being in a no-noise environment from time to time.
Because in those moments is when I am most truly me, I am most truly connected to God and when I am able to see this world the most clearly.
Not a bad switch off for Swifty, huh?
By Jenn Baxter
Jenn Baxter is an accomplished author, speaker and freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has been published in numerous print and online publications and appears at tiny house festivals, healthy living festivals and private engagements across the country, speaking on the subjects of downsizing & minimalism, clean eating, healthy living and spiritual health. She is a regular guest on the NBC morning show Charlotte Today on WCNC-TV and has also appeared as a guest on several tiny house-themed podcasts including the Tiny House Podcast and Tiny House Canada.