I’ve been thinking lately about noise. Have you noticed how very noisy the world is?
There is so much noise competing for our attention that sometimes I think what I need is for all the noise to stop. But actually not all noise is the same. Maybe instead of no noise, we just need different noise.
Here’s a story to illustrate what I mean:
One time I was at the hair salon completely enthralled in a book I was reading. I was sitting under the hair dryer, and I didn't notice anything else going on around me. I didn’t even hear anything else that was going on around me. The words on the page of my book had my total focus. When the dryer turned off I continued to read, but actually, instead of continuing the story that I had been so captured by while the dryer was on, I began to re-read the same line over and over again without actually comprehending anything.
I had become distracted by a different noise, the sound coming from a television.
I began to wonder why I was having difficulty concentrating now when just a second ago, I was totally focused. The only difference was that the dryer had stopped. None of the noises in the salon had changed, except that one of them had ceased. The dryer had been the loudest noise in my ears, and now it had stopped.
I asked myself what the difference was between the noise from the television and the dryer? Why is one kind of noise distracting while the other is actually quite soothing? Why does one kind of noise break my focus while the other actually aids my concentration?
I think the Lord gave me an image that day of what hearing his voice is like. Keeping God’s voice in my ears is like having my head and ears covered in that hair dryer. I heard him saying to me, “Keep my voice closest.”
When we listen to God’s voice, when we know and “hear” his word, we are able to stay calm and focus on what is in front of us, regardless of all the other noise in the world.
But the moment we tune God’s voice out and turn away from God’s word, we become easily distracted by whatever is present.
As Christians who desire to be like Christ, it can be so intimidating to follow in his footsteps. Jesus never got caught up in the cares of this world. He did not rush around from one activity to the next. He kept his focus on God and on completing the work that God gave him to do on earth.
Sometimes I wonder how we are supposed to follow in Jesus’ footsteps in today’s world when at any given moment we have so many noises competing for our attention. I am so easily distracted. It doesn't take much noise before I find that I have lost a lot of time on unimportant things, even neglecting the things that matter most to me.
Recently I heard this quote about living in our world that often glorifies being very busy:
“If the enemy can't make us bad, he makes us busy.”
I relate to this so much because while I can easily turn away from the more obvious “evils” of the world, I struggle with filling up my schedule and focusing my attention on everything but God’s voice.
So I love the picture of putting on the hair dryer to hear God’s voice. And only His voice.
Are you finding yourself distracted or unable to finish the work that you know God has given you to do?
Or are you wondering what it means to really “turn your eyes upon Jesus.”
I think part of the way we keep the noise of the hair dryer (my picture for God’s voice) in our ears is that not only do we read His word, but we hide it in our hearts.
We memorize Scripture so that when the enemy sends distractions our way, we have God’s word in our hearts to call on. Reciting verses to ourselves can be like pulling that dryer down over our ears and choosing to tune out everything but God’s voice.
Also we can cut out the noises that we know are keeping us from concentrating on what the Lord wants us to do. What’s playing on the background screen in your life? Are there small and trivial, but unworthy noises that you can eliminate so that you can better hear God’s voice?
We can choose to intentionally keep our hearts and minds on Jesus and his words.
Wouldn’t it be great if in the midst of a world that is noisy and loud, we stay unbothered and serene, focused on the task God has placed in our hands, because all we hear today is his sweet voice in our ears?
Tell me one action step you can take today, to hear God's voice more clearly over all the noises of the world?