a slice of silence

I’m becoming increasingly aware that my nights will soon be pierced by the sounds of an infant crying, my days will be filled with zombie-like interactions, and that with two sons any extra time I have for myself will soon be squeezed out. This makes me increasingly nervous.

I recently posted a video blog on 30God.com on how the spiritual discipline of silence has become increasingly important in my life in the past few years.

Whether it has been 20 minutes where I can journal and pray in peace, taking two minutes just to breathe and enjoy my surroundings, or a precious few days at a silent retreat center like The Hermitage, one of the places I miss most in West Michigan, silence has been a gift and a discipline to help recenter my life on Jesus.

lots of space to roam at the hermitage

Many times when I mention silent retreats people will raise their eyebrows and ask “but what do you do with all that time?” That’s one of the best things about it- going away to be silent forces me to remember that so much of my life is caught up in maximizing every moment to be as quick and efficient as possible that it can be easy for me to rush through things that are should be savored- a meal, reading bed-time stories to Reuben or even just being aware of the people around me. Silence makes me aware of the background noise that is ever-present in my mind and gives me space to invite Jesus into all the noise and give me his peace that amazingly surpasses all understanding.

I’ve been curious if silence is more difficult for introverts of extroverts to experience during silent retreats.  As a raging extrovert in some ways it’s pretty easy- I just shut my mouth and stop talking. But since introverts process so much of their world internally, is it more difficult for them to silence the internal conversation they have with themselves? Introverted blog readers- inquiring minds want to know. And since you can think about a response and type (not actually even have to speak) perhaps you’ll let me know what it’s like when you take silent time for yourself. If you’re extroverted- how have you learned to embrace & enjoy silence as a spiritual discipline?




  • joyce

    I find it extremely difficult as an introvert! My mind never seems to stop running and I have a hard time ignoring the internal conversation that goes on inside. I really need activities to focus me, like journaling, or focusing on a particular passage of Scripture. Sometimes journaling even gets the best of me via internal conversation… doh.

  • Mae Ellen Fick

    How I enjoyed your comments on Slice of Silence. Walking alone, swimming alone and sitting alone with Jesus in a quiet place are good for me. I used to use breast feeding time for listening to Jesus and stroller rides for mental journaling.
    Love and prayers,

  • Grace Biskie

    working for IV has made me so much more of an introvert, man! I love the silence of silence retreats and have no problem quieting down like a statue…they always end too quickly no matter how long the retreat is…. now, part of this can be my never getting space from having 2 loud boys crawling all over me & needing me every second of every day… so the time alone feels like a million bucks. R u taking one soon? I’m hoping to get out to the hermitage as well in july or august.

  • April

    As an introvert, I can say that you’re totally right about our difficulties of silent retreats: the conversation in our head never seems to stop. I love silent retreats though. I’m actually wanting JB and I to each take one when we go on vacation in the U.P. in a few weeks. Hopefully it’ll be a good “God” time and not just “me” time. I’ve been singing “The Sound of Silence” in my head for sometime now because man do I crave it! 🙂

    One of the things that keeps me focused when retreating is reading the Bible. Not books about the Bible, but the straight up Bible. My mind doesn’t wander as much when I’m reading that. But that is still kind of filling my time with words and not listening to God without distraction. ???

    And I just recently decided to use nursing time as God time. Right on, Mae Ellen! Bye bye, Sudoku on my phone! 🙂

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