Part of my daily routine includes a brisk morning walk. On days that find me working at the Church building, I often set off for downtown Fulton. If you happen to see me on my walk you will notice I am wearing headphones as I love to use this time to listen to music, a book or Bible teaching. It is easy for me to get lost in the world of what I am hearing and forget about everything else. This is a great time of the day!
The other day after completing my walk, I noticed an alert on my phone that told me I was listening at a volume level a little too high. I hadn’t noticed the increased volume level but when I looked more closely at the settings, I discovered it had really crept up to a decibel level that was not good.
This development with my headphones reminded me of another chronic problem we Christ-followers face: NOISE! I am now not talking about the volume levels of some device detected through hearing. I am rather referring to the collection of various sources of stimulation we have learned to use to avoid one of the great needs for our continued closeness to God: Quiet or Stillness.
In Psalm 46, David affirms the Power, Sovereignty, Presence and Love of God. In the climax of this great Psalm we find familiar words, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10) These words spoken as a response to the chaos being experienced within God’s good world provide the roadmap for our wise management of life here and now.
As we start to think about life as it gets back to “Normal”, I hope you will join me in taking an honest and deeper look at what “Normal” should look like. Many of us have the luxury of being able to tune out the places where God would want us to look, touch, see and speak because we have busied our lives with distractions. Perhaps it takes a pandemic to get us to realize how dependent we are on the definition of “Normal” we have created. A “Normal” that has been temporarily ripped from us because we can’t eat what and where we want, we can’t buy more stuff that we are not sure where we would put it when we do buy it but must have it, and where we can’t attend the myriad of sporting and social events that fill our calendars while activities like worship, meditation, and Scripture reading are not accomplished because our “Normal” life determines we are “too busy” should be an indicator that our “Normal” isn’t His “Normal” for us!
My hope is that you will receive this friendly warning like I did the one I got from my phone. Living life with the volume turned up might seem “Normal” but it will damage your relationship with God and your ability to live in partnership with Him for the Kingdom. My prayer for myself and for all of you: resist the temptation to go back to “Normal”! Test everything and see if it is helping you walk well for the Messiah or rather, simply stuff you have accepted as how life is supposed to be. I look forward to joining you in living “Holy”, “Abnormal” lives for the King!