I am not a quiet person. In fact, if I am quiet people will almost always ask me if I am feeling okay.
With this is mind, funnily enough I have recently noticed that I don’t overly enjoy being in noisy environments. Perhaps it has something to do with my ageing body and my slowly diminishing capacity to hear as well as I used to, but I am becoming more and more drawn to quiet spaces.
With the blessing of being located so close to the mighty Murray River, I have found it quite refreshing to be able to sit on the river banks for some reflective time. I’m happy to just sit in the silence of the bush, away from all the noise of our modern-day life — except it’s actually not silent at all.
One morning I took the time to sit and listen to the silence and this is a list of what I heard in the space of 10 minutes: a cacophony of birdsong, some quite close, some distant, including magpies, galahs, kookaburras, crows and a seagull; a blowfly buzzing past; a ‘tinnie’ on the river; laughter and conversation from those in that boat; a chainsaw in the distance; wind blowing in the trees; the slapping of the paddle steamer as it headed down the river; someone using a hammer; waves from the paddle steamer washing against the river bank; cars in the distance; a mobile phone ringtone.
When I took the time to listen I discovered a huge multitude of sounds in what I had believed to be a peaceful environment. Life is too loud for us to hear the more subtle and gentle rhythms of the natural world, so if I deliberately quieten my soul I can be much more aware of the whispers around me, so much so that they appear to be shouts.
How easy is it for us to drown out God’s voice in the noise of life, especially with the noise we make ourselves? I constantly need to remind myself how difficult it is to focus on his gentle communication when everything else is so loud and can drown him out. For me, scheduling regular opportunities to settle my heart and choose to listen for him is something I need to be disciplined about, otherwise I risk missing his voice completely.
In today’s chaotic, noisy world I encourage you to carve out the space to be reflective enough to hear the message God has just for you. It might be just the noise you need to hear.
Belinda Davis is a Salvation Army officer.
Her blog is at www.ablessedlife2017.wordpress.com