In the Quiet Places

My past few days have been odd due to working late four out of the past five nights. I feel like a vampire and my sleep schedule has been turned upside down. Which is why, as I felt compelled to write this post, I initially decided to wait because  I won’t get any readers on a Saturday night.

And then I realized it was Tuesday.

Since around June, I haven’t been attending a church. The church I was going to, while the messages were good, was lacking in hospitality and I found myself coming and going each week with no social interaction, no one saying hi and trying to get to know me, even though I had been going there for almost a year. I know that this is partly my fault, but there it is. And although I’ve been lacking a local corporate spiritual community, I’m in the Word everyday and get a lot of insight from blog posts of people like Rachel Held Evans and Good Women Project, not to mention a few friends to share Christ with.

Over the past couple of days I’ve spent a lot of time playing guitar, learning new songs, playing through old ones, to keep my fingers nimble and my callouses from going away (!) and I began playing some of the “old” worship songs we would sing at my church in DC. Old as in like 3 Hillsong albums ago, which really isn’t that old. It’s been a really good time of nourishment and I’ve felt the Holy Spirit a lot, something that I haven’t felt a lot since I stopped going to church. But this post isn’t about that. And sorry I’m rambling on…I like context.

So tonight, after remembering my way through some good Brooke Fraser songs, I decided to sing and play “How He Loves,” which for a while was the most overdone worship song, in my opinion. When you do something so epic so many times, it loses its epicness, no matter how genuinely you are singing it. But anyway, I hadn’t thought about that song for a really long time.

Part of the epicness of the song is that it’s one of those that the person usually sings the chorus in the lower octave first and then in the higher octave later to promote said epicness. But I was too lazy to find my capo, so I sang it in a key where I couldn’t do that. I kept it all quiet instead of taking a big breath and yelling the chorus “YEAH HE LOVES USSSS, OHHHHH etc.” In that moment, God spoke to me. He spoke to me about quiet and change.

A couple years ago around Easter time, I made a comment to someone about how, unlike most people who are appropriately excited and want to yell He is Risen! on Easter to all their friends on Facebook, I find myself more contemplative and quiet. The person I was telling this to gave me a look and then mocked me by remarking how Jesus’ resurrection was definitely something to keep quiet about. It was pretty disappointing and, frankly, hurt my feelings.

I immediately thought about that conversation when I was quietly singing How He Loves. Don’t get me wrong, there are times to scream about God’s undeserved grace til you lose your voice. But, dammit, you can still praise God in a powerful way and not be loud. And that’s when God put this idea in my head.

Change doesn’t happen when things are loud. Change happens when things are quiet. Change happens when you can hear yourself think and give yourself enough time to reflect and understand how a concept has suddenly brought a new meaning for you. When you get something for the first time, something you’ve been trying to understand for so long. Peasant_Mary_192px I have found that the most profound truths have come to me in silence not in sounds. I’m reminded of Mary, Jesus’ mother, how she was always cherishing things in her heart. She wasn’t loud about what she was seeing, she was quiet. I love that.

I wondered why God was putting this thought in my head. I quickly linked it to the fact that my future career is all about helping someone change. Not in any big way. But in small steps. The field I want to work in is Hospice. You can’t get much quieter than that. In fact, the guitar I was playing tonight and that I plan to use in my practice, was my travel guitar. I like it better than my full size guitar because it’s quieter.

I don’t know if this will mean anything to anybody, but maybe somebody is supposed to read this. If you feel like you need to change or are on the verge of changing, look for it in the quiet places. Whether it’s a word from God you’re hoping for, discernment for a big decision, or a little decision. Or just simple clarity on who you’re supposed to be or what you’re supposed to do. Try quiet. Not everything has to be epic.

Change comes in the quiet places.

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