The Silent Years: What to do when you aren’t being noticed

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

As artists and musicians, we might answer the dilemma posed above this way; if no one is around, the sound makes no impact.  We create with an implicit expectation that our creations will be noticed, and there’s nothing wrong with that expectation.

However, creative people can become dismayed when our art is stuck in the silence. The song sits unheard in a playlist of ideas, the painting sits on a dusty shelf in the studio, or the book remains a collection of words on a desktop computer. We inevitably question the value of the silence, as if when there is no audience, there is no art.

“Jesus in the workshop of Joseph the Carpenter”, Georges de La Tour

Compare these feelings of obscurity with what Jesus might have experienced as a young man. Bible scholars point out that there is no mention of Jesus in the scriptures between age 12 and age 30. We can assume He was in his father’s workshop, doing the duty of a son in those days, building common household articles that would never be seen as special. We know nothing of his work, nothing of the preparation for the ministry He would launch, nothing of the molding years of the Messiah. Silence.

18 years is a long time to work in silence when the Voice of God is inside you.

Clearly God understands the struggle of the artist. We carry the echoes of His creativity within us. But that means we are also required to work in silence as He did on earth.  Are we also willing to endure the silent years?

You may be concerned with how long your season of silence will last.  Perhaps you’re in year 1, year 12, or year 17, day 364. You can not predict when God will use your art to speak in a more global way. Until then, work faithfully on your craft, just as Jesus worked on piece of wood after piece of wood, learning the discipline and obedience that he would need one day to complete his most important work.

Embrace your time of silence. When the time is right, the world will hear you.



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