Have you ever noticed how loud things get when life goes quiet? I don’t just mean that awkward silence that happens when you put a strange dynamic of people in a room together, and the conversation becomes stagnant and it clearly isn’t going to get better from this point forward. I’m talking about the moment when life gets quiet. When you are alone. Nothing is good on TV, you can only scroll through your Newsfeed so many times, nobody is updating on Instagram, and you’re in that weird mood where there is not a song you own in your iTunes or would stream in the Spotify library that you would want to listen to right now. There is nothing that can appease this growing angst within.
So I check my phone a few more times before setting it down on the coffee table, and I sink deeper into my couch. This is the point where I am staring at the wall on the other side of the living room wondering what is wrong with society. How can it be that there is nothing good on TV, online, or in my music that connects with me? What is wrong with the universe that moments like these happen? (Oh, it’s just me who has these moments? Really? Don’t judge me. You have your weird things too. And I bet a lot of you run into this moment or other times that are like this moment I’m describing.)
About this point, as the room grows to a deafening silence, life gets loud. This is the moment when I realize that the room isn’t loud. What is really loud is my soul. I wish I could say in those moments that it was a harmony of thoughts that were loud. But it isn’t harmony. It is dissonance like pots and pans banging against each other.
When your soul is loud with dissonance, it is difficult to enjoy people for who they are.
When your soul is loud with dissonance, it is difficult to enjoy people for who they are. It is challenging to listen to other people from this place. A loud soul keeps me from being able to connect with the person I’m sitting across from. A loud soul takes me on a path that does not have time for what God would say to me. When my soul is loud, it is saying one thing. And really, it is more screaming this one word.
The dissonance within can take me from handling situations like an adult, to reacting to life as if I’m a toddler. Life simply becomes about me and what is mine. The sheer decibel within my soul reflects the self-absorption that costs me connection in even my best relationships.
I decided I wanted something different for my soul. I wanted some peace and quiet. I desired a calmer climate for the relationships I have, and a greater enjoyment in the life I am living. This short blog series is influenced by a few secrets I’ve learned (influenced by Judah Smith) about quieting my soul. The primary place I have been reflecting upon is a song written a few thousand years ago by King David. I will leave you with these words this evening.
If your soul feels stormy, loud, chaotic, and frustrated, then I would give thought to these words.
A song of ascents. Of David.
My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.