In the Sunday L.A. Times Parade Magazine, I read the following:

“The word noise comes from nausea, the Latin word for sickness.”

Wow, did that ever get my brain cranking!

I wonder if too much noise is related to being overly busy, having no margin and not practicing the principle of Sabbath.

It’s true for many of us that, literally, there is too much noise in our lives–traffic, planes overhead, TVs, iPods, constant advertisements, music in the neighborhood late at night, voice mails, etc.  But, too  much noise may also be translated into too many commitments, obligations & responsibilities which can also make one sick!

I need to regularly take a long look at my own life realizing how “noisy” it can get if I am not careful to cultivate solitude and silence (which doesn’t come naturally to me & for which I need lots of grace.)

Being still and realizing that He is God (Psalm 46:10) seems to me to be a lost art today–at least for many of the people I know and rub shoulders with.

Is it time to get back to “Walden’s Pond” the famous work of Henry David Thoreau, first published in 1854? I don’t know that this is Christian at the core, but it does explore the whole idea of de-cluttering, simplifying life and cutting back on the “noise.”

I began to think (and continue to think) about how much ill health experienced by many (whether it be spiritual, mental or relational) is due to too much noise.

Here are a few questions to ponder:

  1. Is my life so noisy that it is drowning out the voice of God?
  2. Is the noise in my life not allowing time for deeper relationships?
  3. Is the noise in my life keeping me from having time to think and gain perspective on what is going on  in my life as well as with my family, co-workers and friends?
  4. Is the noise in my life making me sick in one way or the other?

Be honest now!

I believe that many of us have a good theology of work, but not a very good theology of rest. Last week someone told me that if he was relaxing or taking a few minutes for himself he felt guilty that he wasn’t being productive. Is legitimate, and essential, rest and quietness being equated with laziness and non-productivity?

In my book, “Leaders Who Last” (page 68) I quote from a Sunday newspaper as follows:

 “In the relentless busyness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between action and rest. There is a universal refrain: I am so busy. As it all piles endlessly upon itself, the whole experience of being alive begins to melt into one enormous obligation. Sabbath time is a revolutionary challenge to the violence of overwork. Many of us, in our desperate drive to be successful and care for our many responsibilities, feel terrible guilt when we take time to rest.” Wayne Muller, “Remember the Sabbath,” The Palm Springs Desert Sun, April 4, 1999

I am afraid things have not improved much since 1999, but have only gotten worse.  The “tech toys” we own now own us and we are working longer and, perhaps, less productively than we ever have.   Additionally, the money going toward medical bills due to too much noise in our lives is definitely on the increase from everything I am reading.

With His Grace, what will you do to cut noise out of your life?