Silence is to me a wonderful thing. My brain waves can run along without interference. I can read with comprehension, write with clarity and actually think! A little background music is ok too but no lyrics please or I shall never be able to compose a coherent thought. My energy will be mostly spent tuning it out alternately with listening to the message of the song (even if my kids assure me the words don't matter!) And no driving or mesmerizing beats either or my brain waves turn to mush! I love silence best.
Problem is, even in the silence I recognize a background buzz. And I don't mean the inevitable hum of the fridge and all things electric, or even a literal tinnitus of the ear-- but a mental buzz created by my subconscious I suppose. Problem is it's hard to put a finger on it or hear exactly what it's saying. It just buzzes away interfering with my ability to hear what's important or respond quickly to the still small voice I most want to hear. It's like a 'white noise' of the soul.
Have you heard of 'white noise'? I had to do a little research to figure out what it is and then more to figure out why people like it. First off I had a 'listen' to white noise. If you were to close your eyes and imagine the roar of a great waterfall... then turn down the volume till you have a nice background roar you will have approximated the sound of white noise, not unlike the static of a poorly tuned radio station. [Listen here]
Curiously enough white noise is a wonderful thing to many people--the purer the strain, the better. You can actually go buy yourself a white noise generator or just download an MP3. But why? Well, by definition white noise contains the whole range of sounds audible to the human ear--all sounding at once mind you. When played in a steady stream this white noise actually masks other disturbing noises. So, if my neighbor tends to yell a lot, or the street noise is maddening, or that crazy dog just won't quit, or I'm trying to get some sleep and the household is not-- well, white noise has proven to be just the thing.
So is it all that bad if I have a 'white noise' of the soul going on in the backdrop of my life? Yes, and no. Depends on whether I want to mask the voices around me I guess. For instance, suppose God should want to nudge me to call a friend or visit a neighbor or take time out for a chat with someone under my very own roof... and as He whispers in my ear that loop of white noise hisses 'but what if... what if... what if....' drowning out His still small voice with its fuzzled and irrational apprehension.
And what is that droning that deafens me to His 'loud singing' over me with gladness for the sheer joy of my belonging to Him? (see: Zephaniah 3:17) [Listen here to "Amazed"]
I have a feeling there's a whole bunch of things God wants to communicate to us straight out of His Word that we haven't ears to hear because of the 'white noise' of accumulated life experience and our responses to it. Or maybe the 'white noise' is voices from my past that I've believed... or maybe it's just the noise of non-stop busyness...Whatever it is I'm all for turning it off rather than letting it lull me passively to sleep and missing out on hearing the truth that will transform my days!
...The Word of God is living and active--sharp, piercing, discerning--before it are exposed the thoughts and intentions of the heart...Today, if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts...the message they heard did not benefit them, because it did not meet with faith in those who listened...Watch out for an evil, unbelieving heart that will lead you to fall away from the living God...Enter my rest...*
Seems to me the key to de-activating the white noise generator that runs on automatic pilot in my soul is attending with faith to the Word of God till it comes to life in my soul silencing all else that buzzes there. 'Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart' (Ps.51:6) That's my aim for my quiet times this new year--to attend with faith to what God is saying to me, to trust that His words come from a heart that's rejoicing over me, intent on quieting me so I can hear His singing!
The Lord is in His Holy Temple--[I am that temple]--let all the earth keep silence! (Hab.2:20)
*quotes taken loosely from Hebrews 3 & 4