Any time we spend a week away from our place of work, our friends, or our family it feels and seems like an eternity of things have happened in our absence. It can be a bit overwhelming coming home because people seem to have new inside jokes, or they’ve had a million conversations, or a ton of events took place while you were gone, to the point where we ask ourselves things like, “How did so much happen when I was only gone for a week?”
Coming back from Florida, this week has been one of those weeks for me. I came back to a long list of things to do, and it feels like I haven’t had any time to even breathe. Of course, that is not true, but it feels that way. There have been a lot of things I have had to deal with, both personal and for the church. Some of the things I have had to catch up on and deal with have been pretty stressful for me, and the stress has brought a lot of “noise” with it. By “noise” I am referring to thoughts I do not like and feelings that I should not ever have. Any time we have difficult circumstances that require difficult or uncomfortable decisions to be made, these noises surround us.
So what do we do with this noise? Do we ignore it, pretending we are good and these things don’t matter? Do we fight the thoughts with better thoughts? How are we supposed to fight feelings? What do we do with all the noise in our lives? These noises are just distractions to keep us focused on the wrong stuff…
This week, I got lost in the noise. It was so overwhelming. I tried to fight it with every technique I could think of, but I was quickly losing the battles and was about to give up hope. Sometimes we look at the greener grass on the other side of the fence, and it just gets so difficult to talk ourselves out of desiring to climb over to the other side, wishing for better. That is where I was yesterday. I had both hands on this fence, and I was just gazing over to the beautiful, green grassy field on the other side, weighing the pros and cons of moving over, imagining how easy it would be to live on that side.
Then I heard the voice of God, and all the noise left. You see, God’s voice calms us, whereas the noise causes us to obsess over things. God’s voice comforts us, while the noise only causes worry. God’s voice gently leads us, while the noise pushes us. God’s voice encourages us, while the noise causes fear and doubt…
Psalm 46:10 is a verse I use when I the noise gets me too obsessive, when my thoughts are relentlessly on repeat and I can’t calm myself. “Be still and know that I am God.”
Psalm 23:4 is a verse I use when I find myself worrying about a lot of things and need comfort. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Luke 24:50-51 is a passage I use when I feel like I’m being hurried and pushed into a corner. “When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.”
John 14:27 is a verse I use when I need encouragement. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
I also use Romans 8:26-27 and Philippians 4:4-9 for reminders of what to do when the noise is drowning out God’s voice.
What I love about God is that He cares so deeply for us that He pays attention to every single thing that goes on inside of us, and He actually does things to help. Yesterday, just as I was about to give up, I talked to Him and told Him how I was feeling (of course He already knew, but He enjoys and desires the conversation), and I asked Him what He wanted me to do. Now, I need to say that I was not frustrated with Him or anything, as matter of fact I was way past that and closer to giving up. Instead of crying out in frustration, I have learned to simply talk, and that is what I did. About ten minutes later, someone came to my office to talk. The first thing they said was, “I just feel like I have to tell you how grateful I am for your boldness and how you refuse to compromise…”
It hit me so hard and it sobered my thinking, instantly. The noise was gone. How? It was because I had brought it to the Lord, and He spoke through this person, who had never visited me in my office before. As a matter of fact, truthfully, their first comment was, “Oh wow, you have your own office! I didn’t even know this was here!”
God’s voice destroys the noise when we listen, even when it comes through His children. Get close to Him, talk calmly to Him, and tell Him everything. Allow Him to show you the things that are in you that He doesn’t want to be there. He will not fail you. His peace, the peace that flows like an ocean current will fill you, and that noise will subside. Bless you…
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