Slow. Small. Quiet.

Slow. Small. Quiet

Article by JC Neely
My soul, be quiet before God, for from him comes my hope.
Psalm 62:5

Last weekend, My wife and I snuck away with some of our friends. You won’t be surprised, but there are three words that describe our time, and those words made it feel Trinitarian.
We slept in. Had good coffee. A beautiful view. We confessed frustration with our kids. We shared honestly about our marriages. Ate good food. Went on a hike. Dreamed of a different kind of community and inviting others in. And ate some more good food.
On our hike, we shared that we had recently listened to the same podcast. On the podcast, they reported that there are currently 12 locations in the lower 48 states where you can go and be in silence for 30 minutes. No man-made noise for 30 minutes. The rumble of a far-off highway, a plane flying overhead, nothing. This was discovered by an acoustic ecologist as he attempted to get 30 minutes of uninterrupted sound in nature. Many are in remote national parks, and we can’t access them without some sort of investment.
Investing into silence.
What is my investment into silence? Clearly, it won’t find its way to us. We have created noise-canceling headphones, which we fill with music. We have white noise machines, and I almost constantly have ambient music on in the background.
Do you know what is opposed to silence? Fast, Big, Loud things.
Do you know what can facilitate silence? Slow, small, quiet things.
When was the last time we didn’t read a book but reflected on a book?
When was the last time we weren’t setting up a queue for the next podcast or audiobook but quietly sitting with what stirred in us from the last one?
When was the last time we didn’t flip the calendar to the next teaching, event, or program but just reflected on what the Lord spoke through the previous offering?
When was the last time we paused long enough for our mind to catch up with our heart… or vice versa?
One morning before we headed out on our hike, I found a book on the bedside table about wood splitting and firewood stacking. I was hooked. I love a good fire. I love seeing a good wood pile. As I looked over the different Norwegian styles of firewood stacking (yes, I read about this), one of the comments was, “You can’t stack the wood in a hurried manner, or it is bound to fall. Pay attention to the knots, inconsistencies, and ways that some pieces don’t naturally lay together… it will make for a better wood pile.”

Norwegian wood stackers are onto something.
Slow allows you to notice the inconsistencies.
Small allows you to see where things aren’t aligned.
Quiet allows for distractions to be minimalized.

Why do I want fast, big, and loud? Distractions are numbing at times. My inconsistencies are frustrating. The misalignment of my life is annoyingly repetitive.
I’ve had six different people- two middle-aged men, two young adult women, and two senior adult women reach out to me with texts or calls about some of the ways we did service a little differently on Sunday. We created space for prayer and confession. It was a great idea by Spencer and led well into Rick’s sermon. Six people who thanked us for our leadership, but I interpreted it as their spirit saying, “Thanks for asking us to slow down. Thanks for investing in silence.”
Slow. Small. Quiet.
The unhurried rhythms of grace I pray we can adopt and invite others into.
Sorry for the distraction of another post and another article.
Now go invest in silence at some point this summer.


Associate Lead Pastor
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