Noise

I love music.  I never have too much music in my day.  I am at home a lot and I very often have music playing, usually at full tilt volume on my Bose.  If you call me or come by my house, are certain that I am home, but I’m still not answering, then I can’t hear the phone or the doorbell because I am enjoying some tunes.  If I am on the road in my car, I am most likely singing along to whatever I am listening to.

Music speaks to my heart in a way no other medium does.  It soothes, it calms, it validates my soul.  I love poetry, and poetry set to music is beyond comparison to me.  If I could give each day of my life theme music, I would.  Now that I live alone, I am free to listen to any music I choose, whenever I choose, and it brings me so much joy.

Because music is a strong conduit straight to the center of my heart and mind, I have to be very careful what kind of music I listen to.  I was a rock-and-roll girl, not the heavy stuff, more pop than hard.  No more.  I now realize the messages were hurting more than helping me.  The words matter.  What they say, how they make me feel, what they encourage me to do matters.  It is harder to “walk in the Light” (1 John 1:6) when the song I am listening to claims that I need to do whatever feels right to me.  For me, it is now Christian music all the time, with occasional light opera love songs thrown in.  For the record, rap is not music.

For most of my life I was a news junky.  If the television was on and I had the remote, it was tuned to a 24-hour news station more often than not.  I watched endless coverage of the  O. J. Simpson trial and moment by painful moment of the September 11th attacks.  I wanted to be informed and prepared, for what, I am now uncertain.

Now, my television is rarely on.  I may watch a total of ten hours a week of television, most of it not even news.  It became noise in my life, like the less than wholesome songs I once enjoyed.  Noise that distracts from what is good.  Noise that pulls my heart away from God.   So much of this life seems like noise.  Much of it is not evil in and of itself.  Jobs are necessary, important, family is a blessing that needs constant nurturing, team sports are healthful mentally and physically.  Many things, though, can become noise in my life if I let them.

I find it interesting that Paul focuses on categories rather than specifics in his encouragement in Philippians 4:8:

“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

Paul gives me the lists of things to avoid in Galatians 5:19-21 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the things that are not only noise but are capable of keeping me from my heavenly reward if I practice them.  There is, though, more to following Christ than avoiding evil.  There is the doing and the thinking.  He gives me eight column headings to use:  True, Honorable, Right, Pure, Lovely, Good Repute, Excellence and Worthy of Praise.  If a piece of my life does not fit into at least one of those descriptions, it is not for my dwelling on, not worth my time, simply noise.

The more deliberate I am about shutting down the noise in my life, about culling out anything that distracts me from walking with my God, the more content I am, the more centered and steady my days unfold.  The more conscious I am of what threatens to pull me away from God, the more prepared I am to resist its tug.  The more I fill my life, my mind and my heart with what is pure and lovely and true, with what is undeniably godly, the less room there is for noise that distracts me from what endures for eternity.

All Bible quotes are from Zondervan’s Classic Reference Bible, New American Standard Bible–Updated Edition copyright 1999 by Zondervan

NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.

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