Have you ever been in a crowded room before and struggled to hear what someone was saying to you? Maybe it was a restaurant or a friend's house during a party. These situations can often make us frustrated and leave us wanting to give up trying to communicate at all.
Think of an old radio and the "fuzz" you hear as you try to tune in to a particular station.
Have you ever noticed life can be the same way?
Lately I've been thinking about all the noise in my life. There's a lot of it, even in my own mind, and I really believe God is calling me to lay down all the distractions. I've been trying to be more attentive the past few days to the thoughts I allow occupancy in my mind, and you know what? Some of them are crazy. Many are fears of things that would never happen. Others stem from fruitless anxiety. Perhaps most problematic are those times throughout the day when I catch myself "praying" but never really casting my cares upon the Lord. Instead, I just rehash whatever I'm worried over until I come away feeling even more anxious than I did to begin with. Have you ever found yourself in the same boat? This is not God's will for our lives, or the way our relationships with Him ought to go. Pressing in and diligently lifting prayers to God is one thing, but praying about something obsessively because it makes you feel like you've completed a task is quite another. And boy do I struggle with that. I'm telling you, it's a good thing I didn't live in Chaucer's day because I probably would've paid all my money in penance, then wondered why I wasn't seeing anything change.
See, we treat God like a vending machine sometimes. We put a few quarters in, thinking we've done our godly duty for the day, and then wait for a Coke to shoot out at will.
This creates an environment where, essentially, we see ourselves as knowing what is best rather than God. Instead, God becomes the means to a more-important end. Friends, God isn't just the means. God Himself is the end.
We must guard against this tendency to listen more to the clamoring noise than the still, small voice of God in our hearts, and I think one of the best ways to do that is to practice simplifying our lives. Our thought lives, our schedules, our prayer lives need an overhaul. I know mine do. Rather than try to hear God better over the noise, why don't we just turn off the distractions?
This passage is a powerful reminder of the limited time we have in this world. Let's not grow complacent about making the most of our days. Would you join me in consciously checking your thoughts today and plucking out those that are unproductive and would lead you down the wrong path?
Ephesians 5:15-17 "Be very careful, then how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."
Do you struggle with simply being still? What distractions do you find clamoring for your attention, and how to you cast those aside to regain perspective?