Friday, January 9, 2009

Noise, hurry and crowds

A woman named Lynn was my Bible study leader years ago. Her two boys were 8 years or so above my oldest. I was grateful to sit under her teaching, but more grateful for the time she spent encouraging me and guiding me in life stuff. One of the things she would tell me often came from my whining about my busy, hurried, constant-movement life. Three young girls...homeschooling with a toddler and infant on each hip. Not able to shower without one crying out...or better even, pulling the shower curtain aside to ask me if they could have the candy they'd already have smeared on the corners of their mouths. And the worst shower moment...

Mama, I helped her.
Who, baby? Who did you help?
Brennan, Mama. I helped her.

That's great, Aisley. Thank you for helping your sister.
Quick prayer while dripping water across the carpet: Please, God. Please let her be okay.
Rush to the crib to find various toys stacked around and on baby Brennan to "help" her stop crying. And there she is grinning...until she sees me and wants up NOW.

Okay, where was I? Lynn...that's right. Thank you. I'd be moaning about my life and standing amazed that she had all day, every weekday to herself. Boys to school and she'd be back home alone. Can you imagine what I could get done in that time? Things like...thinking whole thoughts...beginning and ending a meal during the same sitting...a phone call that wasn't interrupted by my saying: Don't interrupt Mama when she's on the phone (followed each time by a small voice saying: okay, Mama, but can I...). I wasn't looking to scrapbook, start a home business or write a novel. I just wanted to cook with both hands.

Lynn would look at me with understanding and sympathy, but would then reply with a strange, strange thought. It only gets harder, she'd say. Right, I'd sneer deep inside. But she meant it. She'd tell me that the older the boys got and the more she was able to do, the less she devoted of her time to God. It was easier and easier to claim more and more for herself. When she needed a minute, had to fight to get a minute with God, it was actually easier to sit before Him. Now that she could do it anytime, it became the thing she could put off doing. She could always do that later. She realized that the easier her life got, the less she needed God. I think at that moment what went through my head was...whatever, Lynn.

This all came back as I read a blog posting called Silence some days ago. It was written by Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church. As sometimes happens, God's brought it back to mind over and over. It contains so much that's convicting as it speaks to my life as much as his, but this little paragraph stuck out to me...
In that moment, God deeply convicted me that I was addicted to the false trinity of our day, the gods known as Noise, Hurry, and Crowds. I remembered the words of missionary martyr Jim Elliot, who said, “I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds . . . Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.”
There were so many days where I truly valued silence. The true peace of sitting, quietly waiting for God. That's because it was therefore precious. But even though I still homeschool and thus I'm still not alone much, I get silence more often in my life. Now I can slow I can be alone...and guess what? Lynn was right. Need drove me to value Him. Ease never will. Time that stretches leaves a hole that my flesh longs to fill with nothing.

What needs to change isn't the addition of more little ones here (Please, no. I'll wait on grandkids.). It's an understanding of my need for God. An understanding of my continual dependence. A deeper understanding of my inability and an increasing devaluing of my competence. I need to see Christ as far superior to my own understanding. I need to need Him. Christ did. He depended on Him. Pulled away to be quiet before Him. Looked to Him in times of crisis and when things were going well. How much more so do I?

Will you take a quick moment right now to pray with me? That we would value rest less than we value rest in Him. That we would esteem Him more than our own understanding. That we by His grace would seek Him...would see Him...would therefore be changed by Him into His likeness. That silence would not be to feed us, but to feed our souls on the God of the Universe. That we would humble ourselves and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways...that we may be saved. Please, Jesus. For Your Name. Amen.

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