If you are old enough and were connected during the golden age of the internet, you probably heard your computer utter the now famous words, “You’ve Got Mail!” As a matter of fact, the famous voice is none other than Cleveland resident Elwood Edwards. Elwood got paid a whopping $200 for his voice in 1989 for his catchy phrase, as well as a few other phrases that were heard when you were checking your email on AOL. If you are ever in Cleveland and in the Heights area and call for an Uber, you might just have Elwood as your driver! People, including me couldn’t wait to login into that speedy dial-up connection to hear those famous words. It made you feel important! All of a sudden you were instantly connected with people from all around the world and they were sending you electronic correspondence.
Fast forward twenty-eight years and we carry the technology times a thousand in our pockets every day. But instead of getting a message that is informing you have mail, you are getting instant notifications from email, not just one account, but possibly several. Then there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, and endless news apps that beep, ding, and ring you everytime something new happens. It’s enough to make you wish for a flip phone! What was supposed to make life easier has become a slab of distractions.
Distractions come in many forms and venues. A distraction by the very nature of the word means your attention is diverted from something or someone you were concentrating on, to now something or someone else. What can we do to be less distracted in a distracting world?
Our spirit, by its very nature, anticipates something on the horizon the like of which we have never seen before. Yet it is possible to not see it. To miss it. To turn just as it brushes past us. So move away from the hustle and bustle. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. There will be time enough for running, for activity, for pushing, for worrying, for crowds. But for now, stay. Wait. Be still. Something is on the horizon. When you take photographs with a camera, you have to be still or the photo will be out of focus. The same is true with your life.
“Be still (Stop) and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 NIV, writes the Psalmist.
We need to refrain from an overload of activity to see Jesus. This will mean that we deliberately choose to stop, to wait, and to push back.
Find A Place Of Quiet
Our lives comes packaged with a lot of noise. It’s everywhere. There’s music playing, horns honking, people chattering, paper rustling. The nature of crowds prompts noise. It can’t be avoided. The only way is to move away from the noise to find a place of quiet.
Look at four words from Luke 2:8. When Jesus was born the story of the shepherds captures this thought precisely – the shepherds were “out in the fields” NIV.
Out in the fields implies that they were away from the clutter of life and the crowds that accompany that mess. They had found a place of quiet. A place of quiet is not always a physical place. In fact, often when we need quietness the most, we can’t get away from the crowds. A quiet place is a place of the heart. Like the eye of a hurricane, the storm rages around us, but internally there is calmness, peace, and silence.
Find the time, and if you can, the place, to enjoy the silence, the calmness. Move away from the crowds and listen to the still, silent voice of God.
I wonder if as I ask myself, “Am I really living?”
I’m afraid I’m guilty of pretending to live. There’s a lot of pretending going on today. Are we just going through the motions. Could it be you are just waiting for the paycheck. You are hoping for the weekend so you can party till you drop. Bidding your time until you can retire? Or are you living? Not in a hurry. Not being bombarded with peer pressure. Making a difference with your life and not feeling worthless.
The only way to break that cycle is to be intentional – do something that will make a difference. Start to focus on your passion, your calling, your first love. Don’t wait another minute, another hour, and another day! Do something now!