If you’re a psychologist I invite your diagnosis in the comments below. I can take it. I promise. Loud and unorganized sound creates anxiety in my head. It is subjective in that it has to be unorganized to me to facilitate this response. For example, if I am in a loud restaurant that is full of people, music, and one that has hard tile floors I begin to feel my head hurt. However, I can listen to some crazy music that most people would consider extremely unorganized and love it… because it is organized to me. This is just one of those quirks (psychotic characteristics?) about me.
Yet because of my sensitivity to this phenomenon it has caused me to notice some things about our culture. We have generally become a people who no longer hear noise. We are flooded with so many bells, whistles, dings, rings, beeps, and other notifications that we no longer give them attention. It is as if we don’t ever hear them. I’ve sat right next to someone at a restaurant whose phone was ringing and rather than grabbing it to silence it (or even answer it) they seemed to not even hear it.
As we have slowly but surely become completely desensitized to noise, we have, in turn, become comfortable and maybe even dependent upon it. Rather than silence being a reprieve is has become a place of fear and discomfort. Unfortunately our spiritual lives have been invaded by the noise as well. Instead of being in the presence of God and His word through meditation and prayer for a period of time, we have allowed the noise to determine our spiritual journey.
I was preaching from my iPad one Sunday morning, which I do every week, but for some reason the notifications (noise) had not been turned off. So, as I was preaching I had little notifications popping up from Facebook, Twitter, email, and ESPN. I had just updated and had forgotten to change the settings so that I did not received all the noise. I would have much rather had 10 screaming babies scattered through the first five rows that morning. It was so incredibly distracting.
I wonder how many of you have felt the same thing… just in a different setting. Do you use an iPhone or other device to read your Bible and then hear the ding or see the popup of an email which you had been expecting? Or maybe you saw that 20 more people just ‘liked’ your deeply spiritual status update on Facebook that morning? Or, to completely turn the tables, does your time with Jesus amount to a sermon podcast in the car during a commute to work all the while you are trying to survive the throws of the Houston spaghetti bowls of traffic?
We see this happen a lot in marriages. The beautiful and loving wife is communicating profoundly important ideas to her husband while ESPN is on and her voice is nothing more than more noise inside his head (he might not use those words).
What it would it look like if you separated the noise from your time with Jesus? In other words, what if you turned your phone off (along with any other electronic device) and gave yourself completely to being in the presence of your Savior? Is He important enough to you that you might just try?
Challenge: Would you be willing to try for just 7 days? Could you commit to spend time with Jesus that is completely uninterrupted for 7 days? I know… you might have to get out of bed earlier, stay up later, or go out of your way to create this space. I promise, your Pursuer, our awesome Savior, is worth it.