A few years ago I was speaking with a friend who had a troubled conscience. She did not tell me that she had a troubled conscience, but after spending time with her, it became apparent that she had a lot of anxiety in her soul.
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She was bitter, angry, often frustrated, unforgiving, and always right–a deadly collection of issues. As long as I did not press into her in any meaningful way that remotely suggested there was something wrong with her, we were okay.
During one of our stronger relational moments, I had the opportunity to ask her one of my “out of the blue” questions. I asked if she ever drove home in quietness. She quickly and adamantly said that she could never do that. She said the silence was unbearable. From her perspective, the quietness of the car ride home would be a painful experience.
She lived with a lot of guilt, shame, fear, and regret. Her method for overcoming these things was to replace the unquenchable noise in her soul with distractions from her world. I have often thought of her during times of turbulence in my life. Her problem was not foreign to me, which raises a legitimate question for me and you.
- Can you be quiet?
- Do you feel the need to replace the unrest of your soul with the “noise of busyness?”
Create a Parenthesis of Quietness
I think it was Chuck Swindoll who said we need to create a parenthesis of quietness in our lives. We need a place where we can get away from the noise and settle into short seasons of quietness, even if it is only five minutes in a parking lot, before entering your most-oft-frequented store.
You will find another excellent solution for noise reduction in the context of a community of like-minded, caring friends. One of the reasons that I enjoy small group life with a group of intentional Christlike disciple-makers is because it provides a “parenthesis of quietness.”
Our family loves these “parenthetical meetings” as we gather at different times during our week for loud laughing and intrusive conversations that combat the disruptions of life. Have you ever considered how you can find a solution for the noise in your life in the context of a community of like-minded believers? A caring community of disciple-makers is an excellent way of finding rest while living in a disruptive world.
An intentional and purposeful community can draw out the noise in your soul while replacing it with compassionate and competent care. If you are part of a small group, especially your family, I urge you to make this a topic of conversation soon. Challenge your group to come alongside you to pursue you for the glory of God.
Ten Keys to Noise Reduction
- Getting away from people will not necessarily remove the noise in your soul because people did not put the distraction there. If your soul noise is turned up, it is because there is something broken inside of you.
- Like my friend, solitude may magnify the noise that you are experiencing.
- The first step in reducing the noise in your soul is to identify what is wrong inside of you, not outside of you.
- You must make an honest soul assessment, which almost always requires a loving community of caring friends.
- No one will love you the way that you need transformative soul care, so rather than being critical of folks who don’t speak to you, it would be wiser for you to take the initiative.
- You must graciously and courageously let others know that you need them to speak into your life.
- Begin telling them what is wrong with you, as you understand it, and ask for their observations about you.
- Ask the Spirit of God to help you to hear the truth in what they are saying.
- Focus on what is right with their assessments, not what may be wrong. Imperfect people can only give imperfect assessments. Don’t hold them to a standard that you can’t meet yourself.
- Weekly review with them the things you implement from these conversations and how you are changing.