I am learning something about words and silence. Namely, that I need to use fewer words and be silent more often.

Verbally expressing what is in our hearts may serve to extinguish the fire in our souls. Though the words we say might be good, encouraging words, letting them out somehow reduces their intensity. As Henri Nouwen discusses so beautifully in The Way of the Heart, citing references from Vincent van Gogh and Diadochus of Photiki, when we leave the door open, the heat inside the room rapidly dissipates.

I experienced this recently when, in my excitement over God’s leading and a resulting wonderful outcome, I spoke about it. The friends with whom I shared were close as sisters and have frequently joined me in prayer. Even so, the sharing diminished the experience; it damaged a sacred moment for which, apparently, God wanted only my thanks and delight expressed to Him.

Instead of the profuse sharing encouraged in Christian circles, maybe God sometimes prefers that we leave the door shut to further warm the fire in our souls and draw us closer to Him.

May I be ever mindful, Lord, to tend the fire inside.

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