The Practice: Noise

If we hope to move beyond the superficialities of our culture, including our religious culture, we must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation.

– Richard Foster

It’s 8:30 on Monday morning. This blog was supposed to be written long ago and sent out at least a few hours ago. It’s been a busy week followed by an even busier weekend.

We had family in town for my daughter’s first birthday which culminated in a family party Friday and a bigger party with friends on Saturday. Suffice it to say I failed to write any blog posts all last week.

Sure, this week was an exceptionally busy week but on any given day there are plenty of things to distract me.

There are constant Twitter updates. Incessant Facebook notifications. Emails begging to be read and dealt with.

Even when we get some quiet time most of us look for a distraction. We turn on Netflix or play a video game or read an article. Noise is all around us.

Most of us probably listen to music or a podcast while we’re in the car or walking somewhere. Many people like to have the TV on just for some ambient sound. Our culture is addicted to sound. Silence is terrifying.

But I don’t think it was a coincidence that Jesus would often go off by himself to pray immediately following busy events. It’s hard to hear the voice of God when we’re constantly surrounded by noise.

In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster says, “In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can engage us in ‘muchness’ and ‘manyness,’ he will rest satisfied.”

That was written in 1978 and 40 years later it rings just as true as the day it was penned.

For many of us, myself included, we want to hear from God, but we don’t want to change our lifestyle. We want God to shout loud enough that he’s heard over the constant distractions we surround ourselves with.

But that’s not how God works. He speaks in a gentle whisper. He beckons us out into the wilderness away from the busyness and hurry of the modern world. It takes work on our part to silence the world around us.

This week, as you continue to practice the discipline of meditation, try to find five minutes in your day for silence. Maybe that means waking up early before the kids or the spouse or the roommates get up. Maybe it means staying up a few minutes later. Maybe it means going to a park over your lunch break.

Find five minutes each day for silence. Pray the prayer for desire and reflect on the fact that God is good and loving. Try to do those things in silence and listen for God to speak as well.

One thought on “The Practice: Noise

  1. “Our culture is addicted to sound.” Wow, that truth is so powerful! Thank you for this post, it gave me a good “nudge” to reaffirm my dedication to daily (quiet and still) meditation time with God.


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