We live in a noisy, noisy world. Our ears are constantly barraged with a cacophony of televisions, radios, snow blowers, lawn mowers, car alarms, cars passing, phones ringing, dogs barking, and the myriad of beeps, buzzes, and hums emanating from various household appliances. It’s a normal part of life that surrounds us every day. Some of us have become so comfortable with all this noise that we are unable to relax without it, needing to turn on the t.v., some music, or a fan in order to help us sleep at night because we are uneasy in silence. Most of us are so accustomed to living enveloped in sound, that we often don’t even notice it. Our senses have become dulled.
With all this noise, it’s a wonder that we can even hear our own thoughts. But we still hear them, don’t we? How is this even possible? In addition to all the outside sounds that accost our ears, we experience even more inner noise. Our minds are bombarded with seemingly endless sounds of thoughts, music, memories, and conversations both real and imagined. Have you ever just listened to the soundtrack within your own head? What did you hear? Did you know that your thoughts affect the rest of your life? If you can’t take the time to quiet the world around you, how will you ever learn to quiet the noise within? In order to remain mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy, it’s important to be able to master that inner noise. Getting quiet is a big key to helping you gain control over your thoughts.
Are you uncomfortable in silence? Personally, I really enjoy it. In fact, I often consider the most valuable portions of my day to be those that I set aside for quiet time. However, I’m not really sure that true silence even exists anymore. The quieter I get, the more I seem to notice the subtle sounds that surround me. That quiet, high pitched electrical noise – I don’t know what it is or where it’s coming from, but I can hear it. I hear drips, cracks, and pops from the vents and walls in our house. I also hear many sounds coming from my own body. The soft wind of my breathing, the swish of my throat swallowing, the rhythmic cadence of my heart beating, and the whir of my own blood as it is pumped from my heart, circulating within my body. Have you ever lay in bed listening to these sounds? If it’s quiet enough, you can hear them all.
In the Bible, there are several passages about Jesus retreating to quiet and solitary places. Here are a few references: Matthew 14:13, Mark 1:35, 6:32; Luke 4:42. Why do you think Jesus did this? Do you have any ideas? I do. I think Jesus went off to be alone, so that He could listen for the voice of His Father. We should follow His example and do the same. When we take the time to quiet the noise within our lives, it’s easier to hear God’s voice. God doesn’t always speak to us in a booming thunder. Sometimes He whispers (1 Kings 19:11-12). If our minds are cluttered with noise, how can we hear Him whisper?
Don’t you want to hear God’s gentle whisper? I do. I want to recognize and be moved by His softest voice. If we want to learn to hear in this manner, we must make it a point to get quiet and just listen. This isn’t something to do sporadically either – it’s for every day. It’s a lifestyle. As we cultivate the quiet and spend time listening, we will learn how to truly hear.