We Make Our Own Noise

Fall, 1995, Kentucky Christian College campus. I'm sitting and talking with a friend when a low rider pickup with Florida plates rolls onto campus with music so loud it rattled the windows behind me. I could feel the bass in my chest. A freshman student had just pulled into the college and made a huge first impression. His stereo system was mind boggling. The screen had eye-popping graphics. The sub woofers under the back seat were massive, but the most impressive things was the clarity of the sound. It was immaculate. A large group of us went over to see what he had in that truck. We were all highly impressed. Not everyone else on campus was, though. He had actually been asked to tone it down by the campus police. There were complaints of students trying to study and their windows rattling so much that they couldn't concentrate.

There's a lot of that in our world today. One person's enjoyment is another person's torment. Noise is really subjective. I remember meeting in my friend, David's kitchen working on finances for our church plant in the spring of 2008. David's kids and our finance director's children were running around like crazy people, and I was the only one who couldn't concentrate. They were both so used to all that noise that it didn't bother them in the least. Fast forward to today, and those tides might have turned as our lives are in different seasons now.

What if noise isn't just about sound, though? We've talked about finding places of silence and solitude, but what about calm? Peace? We can find places of complete silence, but the noise is still there.  It just takes on a different name like anxiety or worry. It's hard enough to find a place of silence and solitude, but it's whole other story when it comes to silencing our minds.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"
Matthew 6:25–26

One of the loudest noises we hear in our lives is internal. It's the worry we deal with daily. It can be dangerous, because we allow it to consume how we go about our day, how we interact with others, and how we interact with God. Worry and anxiousness are like a wet blanket. They make everything miserable, and serve no benefit.

"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
Matthew 6:27–29

In simply doing a cost/benefit analysis on worry and anxiousness, you'll find quickly that the cost absolutely outweighs the benefit of both. Anxiety has tremendous mental and physical consequences. Ulcers, headaches, and high blood pressure can all result from anxiety. Isolation, anger, and depression are all negative mental effects. Needless to say, neither helps you. It's all just noise, but it's also a faith issue.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
Matthew 6:30–32

God is a provider. He makes sure our NEEDS are met. We just need to trust him. It's so easy to see what's going on in our lives and think that God just isn't there. Let me assure you. God is there. He's never left. As disciples, we don't need to fear starvation. God will provide. There's only one thing we need to do.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you."

Matthew 6:33

Our focus shouldn't be on the noise. The anxiety and worry needs to be set aside so that we can seek FIRST God's Kingdom. They need to be set aside so we can seek FIRST His righteousness. When we seek Him FIRST, all our needs will be provided. This scripture gets used poorly more often than it should. In seeking God FIRST, He doesn't give us our every whim. However, we will be taken care of, and our needs will be met. When we go into each day with our focus in check, we can silence the noise and trust that God will do what He said He would. It's really that simple. We just need to let go.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Matthew 6:34

When we can trust, we can experience calm. When we have faith in what God says, we can lay aside the worry and anxiousness that can take over everything. Many of us can't make it five minutes, much less a day, without worrying about something. No quiet space can eliminate that. Sometimes, it can magnify it. I'm sure several of you don't like silence, because it can make that worry feel like screaming in your head. Somewhere along the line, we have to let it go.

...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6–7

Do you want peace? Go to God in prayer. Do you want real silence? Give God your anxiety and let go of it. Do you want to eliminate the noise? Let tomorrow worry about itself. Focus on what God is doing today and seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. Let His peace calm your soul and turn down the volume.


Kim Switzer - January 31st, 2024 at 6:31am

Wow, each day I want you say thank you ,for the devotions are so so good. I have tried thru the chaos at church to let you know how much I appreciate them...but we are pulled in opposite directions. So today, here, I say thank you!

John Kelley - February 1st, 2024 at 7:06am

That's so kind of you! I really appreciate it.

Emily - February 2nd, 2024 at 11:18pm

That’s is wonderful. That’s so true, the noise is sometimes or a lot of times our own internal voices. They are definitely the ones that give us anxiety. I sure pray this helps someone 🙌🏻

John Kelley - February 5th, 2024 at 8:08am

Honestly, I've dealt with it for years. Getting out of our heads is one of the best ways to really find peace.