Over the years I have heard people talk about taking QUIET TIME with God. Nothing sounds more depressing and brutal to this extremely talkative extrovert than QUIET time with a non-talking entity.
I grew up in a household that had the television on non-stop day and night (so it seemed). It was the noise that coated the back ground and I believe dispelled any feelings of loneliness. I would do my homework with the tv on, with the radio within reach, talking on the phone. Now granted I loved math and science so NO real comprehension was necessary just get the mind around the puzzle-see the pattern I use to say. I did suck at reading comprehension and mostly because reading SHOULD be done in quiet. AGAIN with the QUIET.
Somewhere in my growing up I decided I didn’t want to be bound to the habits of my youth and ONLY be able to do things the way I had ALWAYS done them (because that would mean I was turning into my father – TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE). So I would challenge myself to come home and NOT turn on the tv or the radio; but just survive in the quiet. Yes I mean SURVIVE because in those early moments of doing this it was surviving. It wasn’t absorbing or enjoying the peace it was practical TORTURE to be, live, make dinner, in the QUIET.
It also feels very lonely in the quiet. No family to come home to, kids to demand your help, or spouse to ask how was your day. It’s just you in the house, apartment, room alone with your thoughts and the QUIET. It wasn’t peaceful or enjoyable in the beginning. But I made myself do it. I wanted to KNOW I could DO it if I needed to. I wanted to say I didn’t HAVE to have these things, but that I got to choose the days it was on and CHOOSE they days it was off.
I think people can get focused on the introvert who won’t be social, and invites them to get-togethers, challenges them to participate and maybe even speak to a group. Something in our culture is focused on the outside display of life of the party and anyone lacking in that area must immediately be conformed. But the extrovert who can’t be quiet or can’t be alone… now that doesn’t ever seem to be a focus point.
I can definitely say I believe it is a mighty lesson learned when an extrovert can train themself to find the value in quiet and alone times. It is not MY natural state, nor is it easy for me to choose it, but I do (at least I am doing more NOW than I EVER had in all my life). Now that I have had some practice it is no longer about just surviving it, but it has become something I truly appreciate. There is peace in the quiet, there is reassurance in the mental deep breath that can be taken when alone, and God can really speak in his still small voice when I stop talking, especially on my phone… while driving… while drinking my coffee… while training someone how to run a report…
Guess I haven’t given up my High School study habits after all.