Monday, May 20, 2013

In the Quiet

One of the most difficult things about blogging is writing for yourself. I find myself evaluating my journal entries for post-worthiness.  My very thoughts feel potentially public.

I'm left with an academic overview of my life, some removed third person narration.

The same thing happens when I read. I find myself flying through scripture seeking verses to teach the girls, verses to add to my memory app, concepts to write into a self-deprecating story.

So ironic... Practicing transparency and accountability with anyone who cares to read my confessions, while avoiding unfiltered honesty with myself.

Publicity requires filtered honesty. Not falsehood or misleading. Truth strained through the sieve of propriety. Sift out the complaining voice, the pious tone, the judgmental thoughts.

Filter long enough and you forget that all that ugly is still present.

In Kenya, we {the wimpy, visiting westerners} filled our water bottles every morning from the designated RO faucet. Healthy, bacteria-free water. Drink all you want. It lulled us into false confidence about the campus taps. Without thought, we started rinsing toothbrushes under the bathroom faucets, straining bacteria into the bristles, exposing ourselves to all the Kenya water had to offer. Filtering the water was necessary and dangerous at the same time. Dangerous by our complacency.

My heart is no different. I filter for the girls' sake, filter for the blog, filter for general politeness and good opinion. Until I convince myself that the danger is gone. That the sickness is no longer lurking. 

Isn't that exactly when I'm in the most danger? When I forget the danger. When I walk confident.

Throw a sheet over the pile of broken glass. Cover my ears to the lion's roar. I don't see it anymore, so it must not be there. I don't hear it anymore, so it must be gone.

The real source of my complacency is my own head racket. So busy forming pretty, filtered thoughts that I don't listen to the real noise inside me. Nor can I hear the words whispered by the Holy Spirit, prompting me to confess, not hide. To repent, not filter.

Because filters deteriorate. Time dulls the mind and all the built up sickness of the heart leaches through, revealing the sharp-tongued old woman who was always under the surface.

It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of The Lord. Jeremiah 3:26, emphasis mine

In quiet, the Spirit does his saving work. Doesn't just clean the outside of the cup, the words that pour forth. He digs deep to the source of the sickness, the very heart of the woman. He chips and digs away the stone heart with its selfishness and bitterness and envy and malice. He provides new, a heart beating with grace and love from the Father, so that what bubbles up isn't filtered. Doesn't need the filter. The words are lovely because he gives us love. The thoughts are beautiful because He is gives us beauty.

We are made pure in the quiet. When we turn off our own commentary to listen. When we release the marvelous thoughts that occupy the mind and practice still.

Still doesn't require rest. Quiet doesn't require silence. It's present in the pre-dinner kitchen clatter if our heart's ear is attentive.

And Still isn't forced by rest. Quiet isn't brought about in silence. Not if minds still race and write and filter the very words spoken to our own selves.

Quiet is a mental position, a humble posture of expectation before a God who speaks enduringly.

In the soul silence we find a new voice filled with honest words. God's gift in Still.

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