The world is becoming increasingly urbanized. Gone are the days when the majority of people lived in a small town or on a farm. Today over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. In some nations the percentage is over 90%. Most of us can’t even mentally grasp the size of the world’s largest cities.
Living in cities has its benefits: commerce, services, and excitement. But it also has its problems. Among them is the constant noise, both physical noise of sound waves and the mental noise of constant stimulation. And television and the internet mean that even those living in less urban environments can be mentally bombarded with constant noise.
So how are we supposed to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)? The Psalmist was certainly not living in an urban environment when he wrote those words! And if people living 3000 years ago in rural Israel needed the encouragement to be still, how much more do we need that today.
Being still and finding the calmness necessary to connect with God does not happen automatically. Sometimes those who face serious illness speak of how their forced inactivity afforded them an opportunity to know God in a unique way – because of their stillness. For all of us, it takes choosing to look for, find, and cherish the places where our soul can find quietness and where we can hear God’s still, small voice. (1 Kings 19:12)
Here are some potential places to find quiet in a noisy world, whatever the circumstances:
- Your closet. If you’re privileged to live in a home where you have your individual space, use it. Choose a specific chair or spot where you can sit, mentally quiet yourself, and communicate with God. Make your worship space special.
- A chapel. Many hospitals, some large corporations, many churches, and even some airports have a chapel where you can go and be still. Take your Bible (or your Bible app), read a little, and talk with God.
- Get up high. A rooftop or balcony can provide an awesome view, and may also provide some much needed solitude. Use it as a place where you can talk with God about the people and problems you see without being interrupted.
- A park or golf course. Many cities have a place where you can experience a bit of nature such as some trees, fish or birds, river or lake. Being near some of God’s natural creation is healing and calming to the soul.
- Your commute. If you drive alone, don’t fall into the trap of only listening to irritating talk radio or someone else’s music choices. Choose your own uplifting podcasts, worship music, or an audio Bible. Take time to pray as you drive and you’ll have less road rage.
- Public transportation. If you travel by bus or train, make a conscious choice about what you read or listen to. Again, choose uplifting podcasts, worship music, or an audio Bible. There may be noise all around you, but you can create your own private quietness.
- Early morning or late evening. Time of day can make all the difference. Get up before anyone else in the house does for some quiet time. Or get to work first, don’t clock in, and use the extra time for reading and prayer.
- Coffee shop, internet café, or library. These public spaces may provide wonderful opportunities for relative quiet even in the midst of many people. If your home is crowded or noisy, invite God to join you for a cup of coffee; He’ll meet you there.
- Use noise to be quiet. Not all noise is the same. Some noise can be calming and worshipful. If you have satellite TV, you may have the worship channel. Use a soundtrack of worship music or nature sounds to listen to while you pray.
- Your own heart. Quiet is more a state of mind and heart than it is the noise level in your environment. In the shower, in bed at night, or praying alone or with your spouse, you can choose to put your personal worries aside, quiet your inner self-talk, and listen to what God says.
Make a determined and conscious decision to find quietness for 15 minutes a day. You’ll find it valuable, and want a lot more or it.
Your Turn: Where do you find times of quiet in your noisy world? Leave a comment below.
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