I have combined my thoughts on chapters 6&7 because I needed to catch up. But as I went through Foster's chapters on Simplicity and Solitude (silence) I realized it makes sense to discuss them together. Foster's take on Simplicity and solitude comes down to a matter of trust.
Trust as it relates to Simplicity seems, well, a fairly simple concept. We entrust our possessions to God. We trust that God will provide, we trust that God will care for our stuff and we trust that if we give our stuff away God will honor our act of sacrifice.
Trust, as it relates to solitude, IMHO is a more complicated matter. It is trust indeed that that allows us to embark into solitude. Foster tells us that solitude and silence go hand in hand. Here is where the trust comes in: "We are so accustomed to relying upon our words to manage and control others. If we are silent who will take control? God will take control; but we will never let Him take control until we trust Him. Silence is intimately related to trust."
So...Do I trust God? With my possessions? I have good days and bad days. When money is tight I am much more likely to say, "okay God I'll take the wheel for a little bit."
This is one where I could really see Jesus looking at me and saying, like he said to the disciples, "Are you still dull?" He has provided for my family in miraculous ways, time and time again. And yet I still feel like I need control over my finances.
Do I trust God? With my silence? When it is just me and God, I have grown to really enjoy these times of silence. More to Foster's point, however, when there are others involved I am much more likely to break the silence. I attribute part of this to leaders I have worked and served under up to this point. Each of them very dynamic, outspoken, often opinionated men who lead with their words. At some level, I feel compelled to a more verbose leadership style. It often feels awkward and not at all my style. The rest is exactly like Foster describes. I often speak to control and influence those around me. I speak to make sure people leave me with the impression I desire. I need to trust God with my Silence.
If I can do that, I think I could actually be a more effective leader, husband, friend, father. If I were to concentrate on my silence I would be likely to "say what needs to be said when it needs to be said." I would hear more of what people are trying to say to me. People might leave with the impression that God desired rather than the one I desire.