Inside my head, a band is playing loudly: jamming on the guitar, banging the drums, and slamming the cymbals together like a little toy monkey. Again and again and again. I want to be left alone, away from the sounds of schedules, responsibility, to-do lists. But when the outside noise is finally turned down a decimal, the late night show cranks up, swirling my mind with questions that have no answers. My world is full of clamor. The ringing bells must cease.
How do we find peace when our world is so noisy?
How, when you have laundry and dreams and husbands and kids and jobs and questions and trash? And cell phones and t.v. and internet and radio and podcasts and blogs?
How do you not feel guilty, irresponsible, selfish?
I've been retreating to our backyard these days to get away from all the clatter. Noise still sounds out back, with the girls shrieking as they run through the water hose, dogs barking, rooster crowing, tractor bush hogging, and train running but it's quiet at the same time.
Walking through the thick grass, my feet always end up at our blueberry bush. Months ago, it looked so tired and worn out, its' flowers barely hanging on to the branch.
But then, as the weather began to warm, the bush regained new life, the flowers now white and full. It seemed as though they had a secret and were just waiting for the right time to tell.
One by one, the flowers couldn't contain their surprise and they began to change from bloom to berry. The berry was just a baby but as she blossomed, her color changed from pale green to blush pink and finally indigo blue.
It is June now, and the berries that were once flowers are begging to be picked. They are warm on the bush, so beautiful and round. The act of picking blueberries is pure and honest work. It satisfies my soul, cuts out the sounds all around.
We were all made to do great and important things. Things that make us extremely busy and goal-oriented, like parenting and teaching and keeping our bodies healthy. Yet these great and important things consume us to the point where we hear no silence - only sounds of what needs to be done.
Tim Keller says, "Sin isn't only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry."
Are the things that are making so much noise in your life - in my life - idols that consume our head and our heart? Do we spend too much time wanting and trying to please everyone that we stop pursuing God?
Because when we stop pursuing God, life feels a lot like a headache. It feels like I'm too big for my britches and I tell God that I can do all of this on my own. It feels like I don't have time to watch the blueberries be resurrected because I'm too busy. All the thoughts and people - however good and well-intended they all are - are a twisted form of idolatry, taking me away from God and straight into a life of sin.
That's not what I want. Is it what you want?
But how do we make the noise stop?
Sometimes the noise stops when we take out an instrument, like the drums. The pounding goes away but the guitar is still shrill. So then we trade the electric guitar for an acoustic and tell the person playing the cymbals that as much as you appreciate their art, you don't need it in your life right now. Now, the sound is more mellow and it invites your soul to be still and in a lot less of a hurry. Paul says in Ephesians 1:18,"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe."
If there is something going on in your life right now that is louder than God, might you consider pushing the mute button? We can experience God's beauty to such a greater magnitude when we perform simple acts, such as picking blueberries. Turning down the volume gives us hope that life devoted to God is greater than the noise around us. Living an intentional life is about pursuing God, not the sounds that enslave us.
I'm not sure what pursuing God looks like for you. It could mean getting up earlier, going on a jog, or baking a fresh batch of cookies. What you are going to have to give up or begin doing to get God is up to you. I'm still trying to figure that out for myself, too. But, one thing I know for sure is that I'm tired of the noise.
Soon, we will welcome July, with her full-blown summer tan. Her days will be so hot that the blueberries will fall to the ground and wither away. Our time here on this planet is so short, just like the peak of blueberry season.
Let us not waste it away.
Instead, let's take a moment to adjust the noise level and produce good fruit, ripe and ready to eat.
Till next time, let your light shine!