From the time we awake until the time we go to sleep, we are surrounded by noises. Even at night noises invade our sleep.
According to an article in the Scientific American, “background or low-level noise in the home, work or school often disrupts people’s concentration. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, ambient noise also affects people’s health by increasing general stress levels and aggravating stress-related conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary disease, peptic ulcers and migraine headaches. Continued exposure does not lead to habituation; in fact, the effects worsen.”
On top of those noticeable noises come the psychological noises which can be defined as “preconceived notions we bring to conversations, such as racial stereotypes, reputations, biases, and assumptions. When we come into a conversation with ideas about what the other person is going to say and why, we can easily become blinded to their original message.” Those are the noises we are not even aware of. They happen when we scroll through our Facebook wall or Instagram account. Twitter is an on going litany of psychological noises. The news on TV is a good source as well.
It is then not completely surprising that 45% of the population feel tired or fatigued 2-3 times a week, even when 8 hours of sleep are achieved.
We combat this lingering fatigue by taking multi vitamins, drinking more coffee and/or energy drinks. Without removing the root of the problem we are simply putting a band aid on an open wound. We are fooling ourselves that the temporary boost of caffeine will last long enough for us to make it till bedtime. But what is the point of sleeping if you do not find rest.
So then why is rest so elusive?
I read an article a while back about the practice to quiet your mind daily. Meditate on nothing. Allow your mind to be empty. This practice is actually used by most successful businessmen in the country. In the midst of their crazy schedule and myriad of appointments they find the time to be still for 20-30 minutes everyday. If they could so could I. So I practice and followed the advice to start with just 5 minutes. How hard could that be? Truth be told those were some of the toughest 5 minutes I ever spent. I barely made it through. My mind kept going back to my to do list for the day or to Facebook or the conversation I just had with a friend.
Why couldn’t I empty my mind for just 5 minutes?
I believe that we are so used to the noise that we show signs of withdrawals when it is not there. True rest is found in the quiet but we are wired for noise. Our flesh craves the hustle while our spirit screams for stillness.
Jesus calls us. He offers us a way out. He is our safe place and haven. His words beg us to come to him when we are weary (Matthew 11:28). We cannot come to him carrying the world and the things of the world. We need to set our load down in order to pick his up.
I invite you to do that this week. Allow the first 5 minutes of your day (set a timer) to be all about Jesus. Read a verse and meditate on that verse. Then be still. Shut the world out and let His peace fill your mind. Allow your weariness to wear off and his light load to replace it. When other thoughts and distractions come in, simply give them to him. Your to do list, your hurts and your joys, your worries and your victories.
Shut the noise and tune Him in.
Spend time this week in Psalm 46
- Read through the Psalm and jot down all the “noises” mentioned.
- Verse 1 give us a comforting picture of God. How does that bring you peace?
- According to verse 10, how to we get to know God?