Life is filled with noise.
Some of it is fun noise.
Watching a movie together
Talking with friends
Some of it is just everyday noise.
Phone calls we need to take
The dishwasher running
The dog barking at the UPS driver (Oh, that’s just us?)
Some of it is digital noise.
Email to be checked
Websites to be read
Online shopping to be done
Social media (You know Facebook can be LOUD sometimes!)
It’s the stuff that clamors for our attention every day. It’s not all bad! But if we aren’t paying attention, the volume can get out of control before we know it.
I sat down last night to write a blog post. I have several draft topics started, waiting for my attention. I clicked through each one and realized that I couldn’t focus on any of them.
You see, my ears were ringing. And not my physical ears. My mental, emotional, and spiritual ears. It had been a long day with a lot of noise and interruptions. They weren’t all bad. But they just WERE. And they had piled up more than usual.
How to Quiet the Noise
I was laying in bed last night, awake much later than I should have been. As I was staring at the ceiling, I realized that all I could hear was my husband’s breathing, the dog’s breathing, and Emma’s white noise machine in the next room. It was quiet. Peaceful. Blissful.
It was so different than the rest of the day had been.
So how do we find that quiet when our noisy world wants us to go-go-go?
Leave it behind.
Head to a state park or other quiet spot. Take a walk in the woods or just sit by the lake. Soak in the silence. Enjoy the music of God’s creation instead.
Some people go as far as doing a day-long or week-long media fast. It could take as little as an hour or two. But leave the cell phone out of reach and the Kindle turned off. Ditch the iPod. It’s amazing how noisy our gadgets are even when they’re silenced. They still call for our attention.
Enter a story.
For me, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as diving into a good book. While I love to read on my phone or Kindle, there’s nothing quite like turning the pages of a regular book. Plus, a regular book doesn’t tempt me to check email or Facebook.
Give yourself some time.
That email you’re itching to get back to your computer or phone to send? It probably doesn’t need to go RightNowThisVeryMinute. I’m notorious for this one. Getting my smartphone has allowed me to check email any time I want! Talk about a blessing and a curse. I’m working on not using my phone for email when it’s not necessary.
We tend to think our digital work is important, and much of it is. But emails really can wait (usually) and don’t need to be checked 24/7.
Take a nap.
I’m not a huge napper, but I probably need to be. Sometimes it just takes 20 minutes of shut-eye to reset my brain and calm me down. Plus I’m usually refreshed and ready to take on the day after a quick nap.
Oh this one definitely proves how loud our world is. It’s so hard to quiet ourselves enough to talk with God AND hear what He has to say. But making a conscious effort to remove ourselves from the noise and focus solely on Him is the best way to be still.
Part of the reason our ears are constantly ringing is that we don’t pay attention to the noise that we allow to creep into our lives. For me, it took a day like yesterday to make me realize how crazy things had gotten. When I found myself taking deep breaths (in through the nose and out through the mouth) and sighing a lot, I knew something was up. I had to step back and really think about why I was feeling so stressed. Now I need to focus on taking my own advice and quieting my world a little more.
Do you notice the noise? How do you tune it out?