Tuesday, August 02, 2005

It's an iPod World

I was driving to meet my dad for lunch today and I saw a sign out in front of a church advertising the sermon for this coming Sunday: "Hearing a small voice in an iPod world." It made me think.

I own an iPod mini. I use it at work a lot when I'm either here by myself or if it's too quiet and I need some noise, but I know other people who I see walking around all the time with those little white cords hanging from their ears: in the grocery store, at the doctor's office, walking across campus, etc, etc, etc.

I wonder how many of those people are Christians. It makes me wonder if I wear mine around too much.

The reasoning behind my thinking is simple: How can one expect to hear God when s/he has constant noise plugging directly into his/her ears?

If it's not an iPod, it's the radio. And if it's not the radio, it's a cell phone. And if it's not a cell phone, it's the internet. And if it's not the internet, it's work. And if it's not work......

Well, you get the picture.

And we could get into the debate about whether or not God still speaks to people today. I believe He does. I've experienced it.

In the last year and a half or so, though, I haven't heard Him. At least I haven't noticed hearing Him. Part of my problem, as I've mentioned before, is that I can't pray. I'm too distracted and my words come out empty and void of meaning. So, instead of praying, I ask others to pray for me. They may not know why I ask them, but this is the reason. I need prayer. I know I do. I need to pray, but it just isn't happening for me right now, so I think the next best thing is to ask others to pray for me. And not just for me, but I am sure to let them know of people who I know that need prayer.

Maybe it's because there's too much noise in my life. I mean, maybe, just maybe, if I turned off the iPod for a while, the cell phone, and the radio in my car I could actually communicate with God for the first time in a long time. Maybe that's what He wants from me right now. Maybe He doesn't want to hear from me, maybe He wants me to hear from Him.


At 3:49 PM, Blogger CL said...

This is such a huge point Amanda, I think most people don't hear God because they won't listen for Him. Rob Bell does a video called Noise in his Nooma series and he talks about the noise all around us and the fact that we don't listen. It is so true. I am way too busy thinking about me, and my life, listening to others, and listening whatever else I can throw in my head , even if it's positive, to hear God. I hope some day I can stop and truly hear His voice. God bless!

At 5:13 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

No stillness, no quietness, no listening time in our spiritual lives. It is plagueing Christians and it is one of Satan's best weapons. Here are some excepts from Thomas Merton's No Man Is an Island [my comments]:

Everything in modern city life is calculated to keep man from entering into himself and thinking about spiritual things. Even with the best of intentions a spiritual man finds himself exhausted and deadened and debased by the constant noise of machines and loudspeakers, the dead air and the glaring lights of offices and shops, the everlasting suggestions of advertising and propaganda.
The whole mechanism of modern life is geared for a flight from God and from the spirit into the wilderness of neurosis. … Bodily agitation, then, is an enemy to the spirit.

There are times, then, when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing. And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform: and often it is quite beyond his power. [Do not confuse stillness, quietness, listening, and rest with idleness. The former are completely distinct from the latter.]
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.
Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm. If we strive to be happy by filling all the silences of life with sound, [strive to be] productive by turning all life’s leisure into work, and [strive to be] real by turning all our being into doing, we will only succeed in producing a hell on earth.
If we have no silence, God is not heard in our music. If we have no rest, God does not bless our work. If we twist our lives out of shape in order to fill every corner of them with action and experience, God will silently withdraw from our hearts and leave us empty.

Turbulence of spirit is a sign of spiritual weakness.

Let's talk soon. I might be able to help with stillness and prayer. I am willing to try anyway.


At 6:09 AM, Blogger Andrea said...

My husband mentioned this very thing to me a few days ago. I don't have an iPod (my stepdaughter does) but I have to have constant background noise. I listen to Christian music all day at work and in the car. At home I either have the TV, radio, or CD player going. Even at night, I have a big fan in our room to make noise or I can't sleep.

My husband mentioned that he doesn't see how I can ever have new and creative thoughts with all that background noise. And more importantly, how can I hear God.

No wonder I have trouble concentrating in prayer! I have too much "stuff" drowning my own thoughts out.

Thanks for bringing this up, Amanda. Now that it has been brought to my attention 2 times in a few days, I am going to have to make a consious effort to make time every day to , "Be still and know that HE is God."

At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A "life-changing" book I read several years ago was "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster. It has chapters on spiritual disciplines like praying, meditation, simplicity, solitude, etc. The book helped me experience a major reprieve from life's hectic pace. I began re-reading Celebration of Discipline recently and just read the chapter on Solitude three days ago. It nearly "yelled" at me (HA) to seek times of solitude, and now you also mention it. I know God is trying to get His people's attention. He has so much to say to us. Why do we listen to the world?

I recommend Richard Foster's book. Thank you for sharing yourself and reminding us all.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

Thanks, everyone.

Tony, I'd love to talk with you sometime. Maybe we should set something up before my classes start....

Andrea, it looks like maybe God's trying to talk to both of us. Too bad He had to use a church sign to get my attention.

Anon, thanks for that post. I read Foster's book a couple of years ago in college, and I still have it. I'm sure it's just hidden in the depths of the cabinet I'm using for books right now due to lack of a bookcase. I should probably pull it back out again.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

I was thinking along these same lines this morning! I'm so stressed out with too much to do and just want to move faster and faster and do more and more and (under the news I have playing via my computer right now) occasionally I will hear: "Be still and know. . ." It's so counter-intuitive to what we all want to do. I agree that it's a distinct possibility that we are all "too plugged in"!
I am really enjoying your blog and thoughts. I'm so glad I happened upon your blog!

At 10:01 AM, Anonymous KP said...

I just started reading a book called Overcoming Overload, and it is about what you just shared. I can't help but wonder if this is God speaking to me. The same thing from two different angles. He's definitely got my attention now, that's for sure. Thank you for posting this Amanda...you have given me quite a bit to think about.

At 1:48 PM, Blogger Preston said...

Months and months, maybe even a year ago someone broke the window out of my truck and stole my CD player, leaving a gaping hole in my dashboard. A little while later, a friend got satellite radio in his car, so he gave me his old CD player. It's been sitting in my closet now probably six months or more. I have really enjoyed having quiet time in the car to think and pray, and if I install a new radio, I'll mess that up. I would like to do something with the hole, though. Maybe I'll shove a Bible or something in there.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger DigiGirl said...

Your confilt seems self-solving in a way. Granted you can't hear God's voice if there's too much noise in your life (or in your ears); But as you just learned he doesn't always speak with words.

BTW... You can download sermons on iTunes now! Perhaps that will ease your dilemma. :)

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

Sarah, Thanks for visiting my blog. It seems like God has hit several of us with this same thought.

Hey, KP! So glad you stopped by. I may have to check that book out, too.

Preston, That's kinda funny. Rick's car was just broken into a couple of weeks ago. He can't stand to sit in the quiet until he gets his radio fixed, so he's on the phone the entire time. haha

DigiGirl, you're very much right. God does speak to everyone in a lot of different ways...I'm just glad I caught this one. I'd hate to be looking head-on into a mack truck before I got the point!


Post a Comment

<< Home