I think a lot. ...maybe too much at times! Not that my thoughts are particularly profound or important; mostly they are not. Much of the time I am thinking on the mundane, the every-day, and the confusing. Tasks, to-dos, worries and cares can occupy or plague my mind through the day. But, regardless of what I am thinking, I do indeed think a lot.
In the last 10 years, silence and solitude have been extremely important to the vibrancy of my walk with God. I am so grateful for a mentor who opened my eyes to this essential concept by pointing us to Henri Nouwen's book, Way of the Heart.
So with the combination of "living in my head" and my need for silence, you can imagine that the tinnitus that I have experienced this past year has been quite a struggle for me! This "ringing" has been pretty-well constant and loud since September 2009. And, it can really throw me off!
This morning I sat for my solitude time with the Lord. As I sat there all I could hear was the ringing. R..i..n..g..i..n..g..!! (I can even distinguish three different tones).
Ugh. Father!! ...my heart cried out! Would you please heal this! I can hardly hear myself think. How am I to find you here and to hear Your voice?! Father, please... (this isn't the first time I have asked Him for healing. I can't count the number of times...)
The ringing continued and there was no healing. Not today.
But there was a whisper into my heart... loud and clear. I believe the Spirit answered my plea with a two simple words, "deeper still".
Deeper still, Stephanie.
The Kazakhs believe that you live life, your passions, your loves not from your head and not from your heart, but from your innards. They believe you life it from your gut. The word for "heart" in Kazakh... when you love someone or something "from your heart" ...is liver.
To a Kazakh you love your wife with your liver. You love your children with your liver. In fact when a Kazakh becomes a believer in Christ, he doesn't ask the Spirit of Jesus into his heart--- he asks the Spirit of God into his liver. The Spirit of God dwells in their gut.
Deeper sill, Stephanie.
I believe God is asking me to live from my gut. I believe He is inviting me to find Him deeper than my mind, my brain, my thoughts, my "beliefs". He wants me to know Him, love Him and find Him in my liver.
I know that we are wonderfully integrated beings... our "heads" and "hearts"--- our minds and souls --- our spirits--- are all beautifully integrated! But, I am simple minded. Truly, I am. And, so this distinction was helpful to me this morning.
Not from your head, Stephanie. ...know me from your liver. Go deeper still.
The stillness I seek is not to be found in my head. The silence isn't about my thoughts, the noise or my circumstances... that loud clock, the arguing kids, the laundry pile, or the construction next door.
I can find this silence, this stillness, this Presence, deeper still. I can ask the Spirit of God to well-up from my gut and fill my insides. I can imagine His living water moving, filling, and engulfing my innards.
So, I am asking Father God to show me Himself deep within. I am asking Him to well-up worship from my gut today... not from my head. I am asking Him to let my heart, my liver, inform my mind. I am asking Him to let His Presence deep within overshadow the ringing in my ears and the mundane thoughts in my head. I am asking Him to help me to go deeper still...
"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life" Proverbs 4:23