Our head spaces are noisy. We switch from one thought to the next, to the next… We have normalised racing hearts and minds, rarely slowing down to a comfortable pace.
Smart phones have addicted us to scrolling, taking information in at high speeds, yet never satisfying us. We have created in ourselves a shorter attention span, a ‘need’ for more information, and a fear of missing out. Most people’s schedules are more hectic than ever, even just looking at the diary is enough to trigger stress and anxiety.
Is this the way the bible asks us to live? I have been challenged over the last year to SLOW DOWN. Not in my work for the Lord, or in my care and love of others. But in the way that I think and process things. Hurry, for me, has become the opposite of love, joy, and peace. When am I most likely to be frustrated and angry towards my children? Answer: when they are not putting their shoes on as fast as I would like them to. When do I put my needs before the needs of others? Answer: when I am in a hurry.
We are so easily distracted that prayer and meditation on God’s word can become a tick in the box, not the bread and water of life it should be. Then we wonder why our efforts are not having more of an effect on our broken hearts and behaviours. Real change can come when we STOP. When we are STILL before the God of Heaven and Earth. When we realise our place as humble servants before an awesome sovereign King.
I am learning to quiet my inner noise and fussing, like King David in Psalm 131: My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.
Knowing God as our refuge and strength is much more real when we stop to SLOWLY MEDITATE on what those particular words truly mean. We can use our God-given imagination to hide, and abide. But it requires a quietening of our hearts first. That is to say, shhhhh! to our inner noise, and listen instead. Psalm 62 begins, ‘I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him’.
To stop striving, and start resting in Jesus takes a laying down of pride, and an admittance of inadequacy and weakness. “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken”. Waiting and being quiet is not something I am good at, but by God’s grace, silence and solitude are becoming my friend. Why? Because by being alone with God daily, letting His presence quiet my inner noise through meditating on His word, along with pouring my heart out to him, brings me closer to my loving saviour.
There are no quick fixes. Most of the time, God works SLOWLY to change our hearts. But if we believe the Bible is God’s living word to us, we know it will not return empty. Might we welcome interruptions to our day like Jesus did? Especially when they come to us in the form of needy souls? Next time you feel that itch to pick up your phone or the TV remote… when you have an empty few minutes of time that you just MUST fill… BE STILL, before the Lord. Take a mini sabbath – pour out your heart to him, because your Father cares for you more than you even care for yourself. One day every knee WILL bow, so let’s start now in the daily quiet of our hearts.