Noise

You’re wired. You’re wireless. You’re digital. You’re more plugged in than ever before. In the midst of all the noise of life, can you still hear from God? Is it possible for you to still make out that still, small voice?

The answer to the question is easy—yes, of course you can. Making it happen and living it out is not so simple. I’m reading a book by two professors at the Berklee College of Music called The Future of Music. These guys “get it” and know that though the record industry is dying, the music industry is exploding and has never been more vibrant.

In the opening chapter, they paint a picture that is very possible and probably not too far down the road. I’ll just share the beginning with you.

It’s the year 2015, and you wake to a familiar tune playing softly. It gets you out of bed and makes you feel good. As you walk into the bathroom, your Personal Media Minder activates the video display in the mirror, and you watch a bit of personalized news while you get ready for the day. You step into the shower and your personalized music program is ready for you, cued up with a new live version of a track that you downloaded the other day. It is even better than the original recording, so while you dress, you tell your ‘TasteMate’ program to include the new track in your playlist rotation.

Their scenario goes on throughout the day, but you get the picture. We are a wired bunch of people, and it will only get worse. Those that know me know I love technology. I embrace it. I speak and write on it. But, I simply throw out a thought and a challenge that I have to daily remind myself. With all the new movies, X-box games, iPods, podcasts, blogs and an endless web to search, we must work harder than ever to find that alone and quiet time with our Creator. With all the noise around us and the many cool distractions, we must fight for intimate time with God in that “secret place”.

Unfortunately, I don’t see things getting easier in the years to come. I think we will be more plugged in (wired and wireless) and living this fast-paced life of a digital culture for the rest of our time here on earth.

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Recently my family and I went to our church’s “Family Camp,” which took place in the middle of Nowhere, Arkansas. Not only did they have a rule about not bringing laptops with you, but I couldn’t even get a cell phone signal, so trying to find an internet connection would have been a joke. Though I was not crazy about the idea, I went totally “unplugged” for the entire week of Family Camp. I mean: no cell phone, no iPod, no laptop, no TV—nothing! The first day and a half I was having withdrawal symptoms and really wanting to check my email. But eventually I accepted the reality of the situation and decided to make the most of it. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m glad to be back in civilization and checking email, etc., but that week of being “unplugged” was amazing. I had some amazing quiet times with God and could actually hear from Him for the first time in a long time.

It’s funny, once the noise—the distractions of my TV, iPod, laptop and cell phone—was missing, I found myself more sensitive to the Spirit and felt more connected to God. I don’t know if that’s a law of nature or what, but the more disconnected I am from the world, the more connected I am to God. I had ideas flowing left and right. I kept a notebook/journal with me and ideas and thoughts were just constantly flowing. It was as if I had tapped into this spring of creativity and vision and I was drinking away.

Now I’m back in the real world and am as plugged in as ever, but I’m trying my best to remember the lessons I learned in Nowhere, Arkansas. Bottom-line: Quiet time, private worship and a healthy devotional life won’t happen unless you’re intentional. You have to make it happen. The technology and tools and toys will just keep coming and will continue to add to the noise of life, but despite all the things that war for our attention, our Savior is still calling out, still longing for us to return to the secret place and “be still” before Him. It’s not easy, but it’s vital. I urge, and vow along with you, to have intentional “unplugged” moments and planned times of silence before Christ. He’s speaking. The question is: Can we hear Him?

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