1000 Raucous Sounds

Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them. Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, “Speak, for thy servant heareth.” Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart. Let me get used to the sound of Thy voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking voice. Amen. {A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, pp. 82-83, emphasis mine}

My life is loud. Living over a church and a daycare, I have a constant stream of noises that I have no control over. Worship practice under my feet. Fighting toddlers outside my window. Lawn mowers on the weekends and car alarms in the parking garage across the street at night.

Although the sources may be different, I’m sure you have your own symphony of sounds that fill your life.

In addition to the ones I have no control over, I have those within my own home: blaring kid shows on television, crying babies who need, ringing cell phone, teasing children, alerts on the computer, and more.

Sometimes I just want to yell: “Stop!”

Give me peace, give me rest, I am weary…

“Lord, teach me to listen.”

To Him, to my children, to my husband, to my heart.

Fasting from media this week has reminded me of quiet. Allowing myself to disconnect and be, yes, bored has shown me how frequently I turn to TV or online connections to fill the void within me.

Yesterday I talked about a fast being a feast. So far I’ve found it to be a feast on His voice. He’s talking to me through my reading, my prayers, the comments you all have left and the conversations I’ve had with Josh.

I am learning to cultivate simplicity:

Among the enemies to devotion none is so harmful as distractions.

Whatever excites the curiosity, scatters the thoughts, disquiets the heart, absorbs the interests or shifts our life focus from the kingdom of God within us to the world around us—that is a distraction; and the world is full of them. Our science-based civilization has given us many benefits but it has multiplied our distractions and so taken away far more than it has given….

The remedy for distractions is the same now as it was in earlier and simpler times, viz., prayer, meditation and the cultivation of the inner life. The psalmist said “Be still, and know,” and Christ told us to enter into our closet, shut the door and pray unto the Father.

It still works….

Distractions must be conquered or they will conquer us. So let us cultivate simplicity; let us want fewer things; let us walk in the Spirit; let us fill our minds with the Word of God and our hearts with praise. In that way we can live in peace even in such a distraught world as this. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” (A.W. Tozer, Set Of The Sail: Directions for Your Spiritual Journey, pp. 129-132, emphasis mine)

What have you found to be a distraction in your own life?

What is counted among your “thousand raucous sounds?”

How can you cultivate simplicity this weekend?

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21 thoughts on “1000 Raucous Sounds

  1. As much as I HATE to admit this, if I’m going to answer truthfully…it’s my iPhone. That thing is glued to my hand 85% of the day. I’m constantly checking email, texts, Twitter, Facebook, playing games, etc. It’s crazy. I still give you so much props for being able to get rid of yours.

    • I totally know that feeling. And I miss it. :) Thank you for encouraging me in that step, Tony, we just got our tax refund today and I am itching to go buy a new one or get an iPod Touch. It’s actually still quite a struggle for me. I was totally addicted. Haha!

  2. I feel like I used to be so much more focused before I had kids. Now, most of my tasks are interrupted by a child. That makes it really hard for me to live with any sense of focus or attention. I feel like I’m constantly in overdrive and constantly thinking “what was I doing before…?” I know you sympathize!

    Awhile back I had this realization that God doesn’t want me to have this frantic life. And some of that franticism (is that a word?!) or maybe even a lot of it is due to the distractions I allow into my life. I’ll admit, these mostly revolve around the computer-blogging, FB, email, the like. And, while those things are good in and of themselves, they aren’t always God. I need more balance!

    • I do sympathize! I am working on balance as well. I think for me it needs to include setting time limits for being online and carving out time in the day for blogging and all of that. On Feb 21st I’m going to start a boot camp fitness program that lasts for 5 weeks. M-F I’ll be up @ 4:45 AM to go workout from 5-6. I think that will force me to have an appropriate bedtime, and then I can blog and interact with people before the kids get up.

  3. But Melissa, I want my distractions this weekend! C’mon, we’ve been on this streak of posts where I feel really encouraged by how GREAT I’m doing – I don’t want to be CHALLENGED. I think that during this fast I’ve been so acutely aware of the voice of the Spirit and the discordant voice of my flesh. Last night, after an exhausting (though exciting) day, I just wanted distraction. So instead of doing my homework, preparing for Sunday morning worship, or interacting with my dear friends on facebook (we’re having an uncharacteristically meaningful conversation over there right now), I wasted an entire evening of quite on the distraction of movies. Right now my life is pretty free of distraction, yet I seek out distraction – mostly movies and spending/money right now. I’m not conquering distractions, I’m picking fights I know I’ll lose :(

    {disclaimer for anyone reading this: I don’t think movies are bad, I just know that I was just feeding my flesh rather than Feasting on His presence}

    Melissa, thanks for your post, thanks for continuing to speak boldly and obediently the things God is revealing to you.

    • Haha! Josh was telling me that you all have a thread going on FB and that made my heart cheery! :) And, as for challenging you, I think that’s you listening to the Spirit for yourself. It’s been interesting to me how God is speaking much the same thing to you and I right now. I’ve loved it because it’s been a confirmation to me as well. :) So be good this weekend, and no evil Disney movies! Haha!

      • Haha, did I tell you about my recent Disney movie kick? I was totally watching Tarzan (for the first time) last night! I decided that it was time to start collecting all the Disney classics (not that Tarzan qualifies… but it was cheap), so that’s what I asked for at Christmas. Like I said though, movies and spending money has been pretty much my only distraction right now – so the focus on collecting movies is a bit of a mortal enemy of my life of simplicity. STOP READING MY MAIL!!! :)

        • Christy told me about it. :) I loved that you have “Rescuers Down Under” because that was a movie my brother, sister and I watched all the time as kids. No one else ever watched it. Haha!

  4. Yeah, I love this! It’s so true. The world doesn’t need to get quieter, we have to become disciplined listeners. By the way, you had me at “My life is loud.” :)

    Thanks Melissa.

    • It is! I bet your life is loud too. :) I was excited to see that you eliminated the distraction of working; pastors don’t work, right? Haha! Congrats on that Jason!

      • Definitely loud. And thanks, it’s been a while coming, but just trusting God and moving forward–all we can do! And it’s funny you should joke about pastors and work– really, if I hear any more people say, “Oh great! so you don’t have to work anymore” I may have to scream. :)

        • I know, right?! Cause all pastors do is read books, pray and drink Starbucks. :) You’ve got it easy… Praying for your family during this transition, Jason!

  5. Great post. Thank you.
    Sometimes my wandering mind can distract me from being present with wife and kids. I’m off thinking of some grand idea while the grandeour of my family is right in front of me.

  6. TOZER FTW!!

    I read The Pursuit of God middle of last year and absolutely loved it. I then realized why he was my great-grandmother’s favorite author. Great quote!

    I’m with Tony. As much as I like (okay, love) technology I need to put it away and shut down at times. In fact, we’ve somewhat implemented a blackout period in our house (from like 8-11 pm) where we turn off all tech devices, so my wife and I just spend time with each other. Most days… great. Other days we forget, and its like “oh its 11pm and we have barely talked to each other”. Work in progress…. :)

    • Oh, Dustin, I’m so glad I’m not the only one with this struggle. :( Blogging has made it even harder for me to stay away from the computer. I just love the community I’ve built online and I get so challenged, encouraged and refreshed by the discussions. It’s hard to stay away from such a good thing! But, a few weeks ago my husband and I met with a pastor of ours about a ministry opportunity. We weren’t sure if God was calling us to it, or if we had just been pegged as “a good fit”. So, we sought some guidance with our pastor. His first question to us, “Are you spending a good 30 minutes every evening just you and Mike talking?” OUCH I was like, “THIRTY MINUTES?!? That’s a lot!” So, yeah, we have to work on that one too. So easy to let the “to do list” get in the way. :(

    • I loved these quotes from Tozer. I am thinking about reading the Pursuit of God during my fast, next week. :) Our blackout period sounds like our fast, and we’ve done the same thing. Well, actually, one of us (ahem, Josh) keeps falling asleep while he puts the kids to bed. :) We’re all works in progress though, right?

  7. I realized that even reading devotionals and christian books can be loud. that might sound silly, but i can get weary from it all. so i need to pace myself and put His Word first. Online blogs are also a distraction and i have GREATLY limited my time online in the last 3 months…that has been so refreshing to maintain my focus.

    Great quotes here!!!

    • Oh man! I totally agree with that! Earlier this year I was all caught up in wanting to read the latest and greatest new book. I realized that they were actually distracting me from my walk with God, because I was reading them based on what other people were saying and not because I felt like it was something God wanted to teach me. I get so weary from it. I do the same with blogs. I’m glad I’ve made your cut…and I’m so excited to attend the writer’s conference with you!! :)

  8. Hi, I found your blog from Angela’s The Coupon Project.. – just curious…. does the church you live at happen to be in Brea?

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