Maybe silence is the right next step

Taking a few breaths can provide surprising clarity
Taking a few breaths can provide surprising clarity

It can be hard for anyone to find silence in their everyday life. The world we are living in has become so noisy with notifications and breaking news that silence has become some sort of a luxury. Even with a busy list of to-dos and racing from point A to B, we can still find silence in our day, even if just for a few breaths. 

Practicing silence does not come easy to a full-time college student who is a part-time yoga instructor, bartender, freelance artist, intern, and a full-time girlfriend. Moments of silence are actually few and far between for me recently. I feel like my head is always spinning with a to-do list of odds and ends. I have been blessed with so many wonderful career opportunities, but that has meant that I have had to sacrifice fun things, and quiet time.

Here is my issue: I am always seeking out the next greatest opportunity, not silence. In fact at times, I feel that it is ironic that I am even a yoga instructor, because I feel like silence is not my forte. Since most of my days are busy working on more than a few different projects I often find my thoughts bouncing from one thing to the next. Often it puts me in a funk. Negative thoughts creep in. Even when nothing is wrong, the busyness takes a toll.

That’s when I know it’s time to pause. I take three breaths. Then I take in the environment around me. If I can I pull out my phone and open it up for some quick encouragement or guidance I do that too. I have a Tumblr account for the sole purpose of getting quick Bible verses or access to Christian blog posts. So in these moments of internal chaos I open Tumblr to redirect my thoughts. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing. I pretty much always have my phone on me, and can escape into the internet. 

Struggling to control the unknown

Recently I have been struggling with the fact that I am going to graduate from college in May and I have no idea what I am going to do after that. The thing is, after I graduate I have a lot of decisions to make that could totally change my life. I could get my masters in Scotland, I could go work in a National Park again, or I could stay in Chattanooga. Having an overwhelming amount of opportunities is stressful. I want to pick the right one, and I am afraid of making a poor choice. I want God to part the clouds and tell me which way to go or who to follow. But God doesn’t always do that. God doesn’t always give obvious signs or speak in a loud manner. In fact, I have found God often speaks in moments of silence. That’s why I like starting off with that little breathing technique to prepare my mind and heart for silence. I am physically making myself still. 

 

In my most recent moment of chaotic thought, I paused, breathed, prayed that God would speak into my mess, and I opened up Tumblr. The first post I saw said this: “I know that God is faithful and I know that God is good. Some days that is all I need to know.”  

 

Some days that is all I need to know. 

Some days I do not need to know what my future holds, even though I desperately want that. But every day I need to trust in God’s faithfulness and goodness. 

A lot of the time, God leaves the decisions up to us. God provides the freedom for us to live our own lives. God loves you so much that God gave you the power of free will. However, if you quiet yourself in the present moment I do believe God will guide you to the next step. Some days the next step is just trusting and knowing that God is good and God is with you.

After my moment of silence with God, I felt like I gained clarity and peace of mind. Since then, I made some decisions to lighten my workload and cut down on some titles that I hold. I need more silence, more space in my life where I can listen. 


Madison Myers is a student at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, majoring in marketing. She has traveled to a majority of America's National Parks and is eager to see them all.