Noise is relative, isn't it - David got out of the car in the village centre yesterday and said "It is so quiet here" and so help me, all I heard was noise. It is relative. He has been living in a small city - that is where he goes to university. This is a village - even though there are over 6000 people living in it, it is still a village. And to him, it is so quiet. To me it is noisy. The kind of background noise I am used to. Although I remember moving here from a huge city and seem to recall it was quiet then too to me........
When I go to Switzerland, I find it so quiet. My sister may not agree. It is all relative.
And then there is the kind of noise in my head as well. Not audible. Just words and thoughts and ideas, and worries and fears and delights and lists and challenges....... You will all know exactly what I mean. I sit down and to an observer, I will look perfectly peaceful and at rest. Hahahahaha. My mind is a kaleidoscope of colour and sound and the words zoom around like deranged spacemen in super fast jets. Star Wars in the head. And they just don't stop.
We live in a world where you can't get away from anyone. Mobile phones, laptops, 24 hour news channels, emails...... 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, our "inbox" is flooded with words. Our inbox = the brain / mind. I often wonder if being able to get the facts immediately is progress or not. Our imagination doesn't get much of a chance to exercise when facts are at our fingertips. Mind you, when you have kids on global trots, you really do need the instant access to facts, because we all know what over-active maternal imagination can do and Interpol doesn't need every mother calling every 2 days. They could just have better things to do.
Words. Images in the mind. When I sit down to have a quiet time, and just "be", it is warfare of the mind. I start talking to God, and zoom, zap I think about whether I switched off the gas, when the washing machine will finish the load, what bill needs to be paid, the phone rings.... Or I start talking, and I see the fingerprints on the silent tv. The dust on the coffee table. Then I think of the needs I have..... when to do this, write that. I read a passage and it triggers a thought and off I go on a totally unrelated detour.
I am an expert at distraction. Focus? Not easy. I don't want or need to empty my mind. That can be very dangerous. I just want it to slow down and go into sleep mode, so I can concentrate on being with God, and listening for that still small voice. That still small voice which has to compete with the Star Wars scenario. And yes, I am well aware that God is quite capable of booming and upping His volume. But I also think He needs me to put Him first and to learn to listen. And I am not very good at it at all. I need more discipline. And a load more humility.
We are learning about the gifts of the Spirit at church at the moment and today was about prophesy, something we are all able to do. Prophesy. Pass on the word we are given. That, of course, would be if we shut up long enough to hear the word in the first place. How many messages have I missed? And how often do I make excuses for not listening? Or not believing what I may hear? Or ignoring it as a phantom random thought?
I am too busy trying to save the world. My world. Fix things, Sort things. Keep on. Survive. Be all things to all people, and forgetting that I am a child of God, and that I have responsibilities there as well. To listen to what He is telling me.
I fill my mind with words about Christian living. But I don't let myself digest them properly. I read them, finish the book and start a new one. I just don't slow down and think about what I have read. Learn from it. The input rate must stay on a maximum setting. I fill my days, my nights, with sound. New ideas, new possibilities, all jostling each other to become more prominent. Maybe I let my mind run so fast because I am afraid to stop. Afraid of what I will hear.
The solution is simple on paper. "Be still and know." There must be a book on being still somewhere....you see how my mind is working?? Ridiculous.
I had just written all the above, and stopped to do some unplanned but lovely entertaining this afternoon. And then I came back to finish this post and I heard the ding to say I had a new email. Ahh. Good. My daily devotional from The Purpose Driven Life . Pop over and read it. I think it is the equivalent to a sledgehammer on the head. The still small voice just got really loud. Booming even.