05 Jun Tuning in to the voice of Truth in a noisy world
It’s been a noisy week. The unrest, riots, pain and anger from America has filled our news feeds, brought other, race related, news items in Australia to the fore.
We have been bombarded with opinions, anger and anguish, statistics and objectivity, insecurity, love and hope and more people adding their voices to the noise, wishing for their story to be heard.
These voices come at us alongside the voices that we usually hear. They are mixed in with the voices of fear and distress regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We find them twisting around the expectations of society regarding what is right and wrong, and riding on the backs of political agendas.
Separately, there is the chatter about who we are, what we should do, how to look after ourselves and what we need.
So many voices.
So many opinions.
It is noisy.
There is so much coming at us. A constant bombardment of information, opinions, agendas, anger, fear, emotion, statistics, all piling up on our chest. It’s overwhelming and so very hard to escape from.
We might put our phones down for a while, or maybe even uninstall the Facebook app. But after some time we want to check-in, to see what is happening, to catch up on the story that we were following. And it starts all over again.
With so much noise, restlessness and overwhelm it is easy for the voice of truth to be drowned out. With out us realising, God’s voice is lost in the midst of all the others.
How do we make sure that this doesn’t happen?
How do we continue to tune in to God’s voice and tune out the voices around us?
Set aside time to spend in God’s word
David Powlison phrased it this way: I seek God daily because I need to. When I don’t meet God personally, thoughtfully, and humbly, I suffer the consequences. It’s analogous to forgetting to eat. I suffer because I am hungry, not because I feel guilty. “I’m hungry and I need to eat” is different from “I really should have eaten, and I failed again.”
Seek God daily. The best way to turn up the volume on the voice of truth is to spend time listening to it. We need the nourishment of scripture and the communion that spending time with God and His word brings. We cannot expect to be sustained by little bites of information and the preaching that comes to us on Sunday. That is not enough.
Do something that turns down the voices of the world
Unplug, disconnect, do something for a little while that turns down or turns off the noise. This can take many forms. All of us will have a different means of doing this most suited to our stage of life and personality.
For me, turning down the voices happens best when I go for a walk in nature. I do this every day along the reserve that runs along the trainline near my house, but if I get the opportunity I like to get out properly, to a national park or a bush trail. I know there are many others that will also do this to unplug and disconnect. Some also take along a journal, a bible, listen to worship music or uplifting podcasts.
For others I know, deactivating Facebook or other social media accounts works the best. This way the temptation to consume all of this information is removed. Some I know have done this permanently, while others do it for a season and then return when they feel that they are able to filter through the information better.
Another way to turn down the voices is to have quiet time as a part of your daily schedule. Maybe it is for the first few hours of the day, or maybe it is for the last couple before you go to bed. Turn off your phone, screens and avoid seeing the news. Use the time to read, journal, do something creative or work on a puzzle. There are so many things that could be done in this time. A little side note: limiting screen time before bed is also a great strategy to help you sleep better.
These are just a few things to do that turns down the noise, there are many more. Be mindful of who you spend time with and the conversations that you have. Think about the news outlets that you tune into or how often you tune into the news. Reflect on the media you consume and the way you engage with that media. Find ways that work so that you can tune out of the noise.
Turn up the volume on the good
There are good voices, voices that speak the truth, honour God and lead us to him. Often these blogs, news articles, shows and movies are lost in the middle of all the noise and the mess. Find out what these voices are, where you can find them and listen. Ask for recommendations from others or see what people you trust are sharing on social media so that you have an idea where to look.
Articles, such as those published by The Gospel Coalition or Tim Challies, regularly share where we can look for good books, movies or TV shows. There are also websites and blogs that provide reviews and recommendations if you are looking for something particular. Even on social media, you can work to cultivate a newsfeed that is filled with wholesome bloggers, truthful news such as what can be found through the Australian Christian Lobby, and uplifting articles. This is easier to do on some platforms than others.
Spend time with wholesome people who encourage you in your relationship with God. Have conversations that speak of who God is, what he is doing in your life and comment on how he is working in the lives of those around you. Pray that this is something you can see more and more.
Continue to grow in ways that make God’s voice loud. The louder his voice, the more we can access the comfort, security and peace that he promises. When God’s voice is loud, we don’t need to be overwhelmed by the noise of the world. When we are tapped into who our heavenly Father says he is, we do not need to despair. We have hope in God and when we are able to tune in to his voice, we can experience that hope.