This semester, I’m taking a class where the main focus is learning about and growing our spirituality. Over the course of the semester, we declare 5 or 6 ‘experiments’ to practice in our lives daily for 1-2 weeks. This week, I’m working through silence and solitude as my experiment. This might come as a shock to those who know me (it shocked me), but on the Myers Briggs test we took for the class, I ended up as an ENFJ (Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging). Now, the version we took was only a sample. I went and found the real test for free, and the result said that I am an ENTJ. Despite this changed result, with more precise percentages for each category, I still disagree slightly. I’ve never thought of myself as an extrovert.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being with people (I wouldn’t be going into Youth Ministry if I didn’t). But I also enjoy my own quiet time. As I began thinking about this, I realized something extremely important; in my busy college life, I am lacking in the area of alone, quiet time. I’m with people all day every day. As much as I love it, I’m not able to quiet myself for even 5 minutes to enjoy a beautiful part of campus. This brought everything I previously thought about myself to be questioned; how can I call myself an introvert when I have begun to live my life as an extrovert?
That’s where my first experiment came into the mix; I need alone time. I need to gather my thoughts, and I need to listen. I need a moment of time to be as creative as I want without the noise of the world around me. I don’t need music or TV to distract me, and I don’t need to be anywhere other than my favorite chair in the dorms. Since it’s 5 pm on a Monday afternoon, and I’m just now getting around to writing a blog, I think it’s safe to say that living the introverted life is more difficult than I initially thought it would be. It’s funny how easily I notice noise and distractions the moment I sit down to take a few moments and live without them. It was in the first couple minutes that a police car came blaring through my small town with their sirens goings. The heater kicked on, and somehow I never noticed how loud it was until now. It’s a bit annoying, actually, and I can’t say how many times I’ve already reached for my phone to turn on music in the hopes that I could drown out the sound. But this is life. There are distractions everywhere, even in our moments of silence and solitude. Just because I choose to retreat from the world doesn’t mean that it no longer exists, or even that it pauses for a brief moment to let me be. The world will keep throwing distractions, so it’s my job to ignore the noise and focus on God.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10
One of the 4th century church leaders, Athanasius, once said, “the Psalms have a unique place in the Bible because most of the Scripture speaks to us, while the Psalms speak for us.” Last semester I took an Old Testament class, and ended up having to read Psalm for the final exam. I fell in love with the book almost immediately, especially Psalm 8. This verse is so fitting for this post, I think, because it is this constant reminder that God is in control of everything. He has a plan for his creation. He knows what will happen, and He understands our struggles in the world. Yet, He commands us in this verse to be still. He knows our struggles, He knows how busy things can be, but He still urges us to take time and just sit back away from the rest of the world.
Being a college student is hard enough, in and of itself. Adding on EDS, writing a book and a blog, and the added social pressures of everything else makes things so much more complicated. This verse is one that I don’t think about enough. Now, I’m one for adding context to the verse, and I absolutely love Psalm 46 as a whole. It presents God as this mighty fortress and refuge. While the world is always going to be moving, He is our strength to get through these difficult times. We need only be still and know that He is God.
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God by Martin Luther
“And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.”