Loud, purposeless noises bother me. If I’m trying to concentrate, even noises with a purpose really frustrate me. I have trouble hearing what I’m trying to listen to or concentrating on the task at hand when there is a lot of noise going on around me. For example, even if the TV is more than loud enough to be heard, and Sarah can hear it just fine, I might not be able to discern what is being said, because other noises in the house are preventing me from processing it. It’s annoying to me, because I miss a lot; and it’s annoying to Sarah, because the only ways for me to understand are to turn the TV way up and turn the captions on (neither of which she is a fan of). I can basically only hear the loudest thing in the room well, and everything else is just static noise in the background.
There are other kinds of noise in my life that drive me crazy: seeing a lot of junk email when I open my email in the morning, hearing or seeing constant complaining, most TV commercials, which are still louder than the show you’re watching no matter what the FCA has decreed, and even an overbooked schedule. These things bother me, and I just want to escape. They keep me from seeing, hearing, and focusing on what I want to be taking in. So I’ve started eliminating them. I’ve probably unsubscribed from 20 email lists recently that I was on for one reason or another. If someone only ever complains on Facebook, I won’t unfriend them, but I will hide their posts. I’ve taken to seeking more quiet in my life and then allowing God to fill that quiet, as opposed to allowing it to be filled with nonsense.
Jesus did this, and when I read Luke 5, I realized it was something He was demonstrating that I should have been following. In that chapter, Jesus heals some people, so everyone goes looking for Him to have Him heal them or their loved ones. But in verse 16, it says, “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” There were important things to say and be done, but He withdrew to quiet, solitary places, and He spent time with God the Father. He sought quiet and then filled the quiet with listening to God. I’m trying to do that now. I used to listen to the radio or my iPod to and from work. Lately, I’ve been using at least one of those trips to listen to my Bible. I’m planning to go through the entire Bible this year. I read some of it, and I listen to some of it in the car. Now instead of being filled with sports, nonsense, and commercials every time I’m in the car, several car rides have been spent listening to Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Psalms, and Proverbs, because that’s where I have been in my reading.
I’m shutting things out. Sometimes I’m shutting people out. I need to, because I need quiet. I used to feel too guilty to ever not check my email and respond right away, but not anymore. I noticed that Jesus disconnected from people who wanted to hear Him teach and be healed, so He could be quiet and pray. I think I can unplug from email, talk radio, and Facebook from time to time, too.
What do you need to disconnect from, so you can seek God in the quiet?