Many people are fond of bemoaning the declining state of the world, of pointing out how it’s getting worse all the time. For my part, I’ve always held with Ecclesiastes 1v9-11:
History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.
In essence, the world has always been messed up. Violence and depravity are not 21st century inventions.
While the world may not be worse now than any other period in history, I do believe it has gotten… noisier.
We are dwelling in a loud world. The amount of noise and distraction each one of us faces on a normal day is nothing short of ridiculous. I did a little research to find out the number of advertisements the average American human is exposed to on a daily basis.
Would you like to know how many? I’d tell you if I hadn’t gotten distracted by the number of advertisements on the article page. Not to mention the invitations to share said article and follow said page on various social media outlets.
If I laughed, it was to keep from crying.
The only good thing about this cacophony is that it just gave me an excuse to use the word cacophony.
But guess what! The din is not merely external! I don’t know what it’s like for other personality types, but if you’re anything like me, the inner chambers of your mind often bear a remarkable resemblance to a kindergarten classroom on the last day of school. Throw in some angry howler monkeys running amok with air-horns, too, and the occasional siren blaring by in the background.
As someone once said: Quiet people have loud minds.
Maybe you struggle more with the external noise, or maybe the internal noise. Maybe it’s a dead heat. Whatever the case, we’re all in dire need of a little peace and quiet. That’s why I made it my #2 resolution to quiet down.
In many ways, quieting down goes hand-in-hand with last week’s resolution, opening up. It joins up rather intrinsically with #3 (Pray), as well. All these things, you may start to see, are links in the same chain. A chain that will hopefully bind us closer to our Heavenly Father.
(Note: Obviously, to know Christ is to be free, not chained. Please excuse that terrible metaphor until I think of a better one.)
A resolution of this kind is not the same as a habit. It won’t work to say, “Oh, I’m just gonna start doing this every day”, the same way you might squeeze in exercise or flossing. At least, if it does work that way for you, life is not fair and you are not my favorite.
In general, quieting down is a practice that must be cultivated. Adding or subtracting some smaller habit-type-things might help you to this end, but I’m not going to try to prescribe habitual antidotes for anyone. This isn’t a self-help blog.
What I do want to do is encourage my readers (and myself) to be more mindful. Don’t let the noise, whether inside or out, overwhelm you. Find time for quiet. Find time to be still.
Let me bring in a scripture or two, before I start to sound new-agey.
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. (James 4v8)
Have you tried drawing near to God in the midst of a hectic week? It doesn’t work so good. The noise keeps us from Him. It drowns out His word. This is why cultivating quiet times is so important.
Matthew Henry paraphrases Psalm 46v11 as follows:
“Let his own people be still; let them be calm and sedate, and tremble no more, but know, to their comfort, that the Lord is God, he is God alone…”
My prayer is that we would learn to be still in the midst of the chaos without and within, and that in the process we might be drawn nearer to God.
As a special treat, here’s a wee playlist I threw together to go with today’s post. It’s short and occasionally random, so if anyone has their own song suggestions, please let me know!