I don’t enjoy driving. I clench my jaw in traffic, and there’s always traffic. I’m well aware of the emotion drivers feel because I’m always feeling it. People drive too fast and are either on my bumper or swerving to cut me off.
I may drive a little fast, too.
One way I deal with such angst is driving without listening to anything. No music, no podcast. Nothing. It’s a chance for my brain to focus on necessary pondering. I’m learning to enjoy my own thoughts more–that hasn’t always been the case. Too much time alone with me wasn’t something I looked forward to.
Driving today was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was at a stoplight, windows raised, and a gentleman pulled up to my left in the turn lane. Another pulled up to my right. Both were blaring music so loud that the bass made my car shudder, or so it felt. Both were seat dancing, oblivious to the pain they caused my ears.
I’m typically not that judgmental over loud noises. Our home has always been full of kids and a collection of other people, so whatever the crowd, noise reaches a high decibel level. Yet I’m not bothered by that.
When I listen to music while I’m working in the kitchen, I often turn it up, and dance my way through chores, singing at the top of my lungs.
The fact that I’m bothered when I have chosen silence only to have it interrupted says something about me. Silence is a discipline, and I’m not usually that disciplined to make it happen.
I’m too comfortable with noise.
It’s easy to avoid thinking about necessary things when I fill my inner and outer life with a cacophony of sound. Phones, screens of all kinds, music. None of it is bad unless I use it to avoid thinking about or focusing on the necessary things I need to address.
The Israelites easily adopted this posture when Moses was leading them out of captivity in Egypt. They’d been enslaved for 430 years; Moses confronted Pharaoh with ten plagues sent from God that encouraged him to release the Jews. But Pharaoh had second thoughts when he realized he’d just released his entire slave force.
When the Israelites saw Pharaoh and his army coming after them, they were terrified, a feeling magnified by the Red Sea in front of them, a body of water too great for a million-plus people to get across. They complained about Moses bringing them out of Egypt, where they knew what to expect.
“And Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today. . . The Lord will fight for you, and you have ONLY TO BE SILENT.'” Exodus 14:13-14
I understand complaining, especially if things aren’t turning out the way I’d hoped they would. But too often I talk instead of listen.
Listening to the Lord can improve my perspective and my attitude.
But I need to remain silent to hear Him. He speaks in a quiet voice of hope.
The world is loud.
Which is worth listening to?
“For God alone, my soul waits in SILENCE; from Him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2