John 16:13 – But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
The world is loud. I just sat here in my office, with the windows open, in a quiet neighborhood, intentionally listening to background noise for 5 minutes. First, I heard hammering, then an airplane, followed by a low-flying helicopter, and a car went by. Dogs began barking. Birds were chirping in the background, but then they were almost drowned out by a lawnmower starting. That’s a lot of noise!
During my young adult years I lived in Boston and then New York City. That cacophony of constant sound drove me crazy at first, but like everyone else, I eventually became mainly immune to it. When my son was born I moved to the country where we could hear the crickets (even there, if I listened, I could hear the hum of distant interstate traffic.) My best friend from the city came to visit me and complained about not being able to sleep due to lack of background city sounds!
With all the noise and distractions we give ourselves to drown out the noise of life, how can we possibly hear the most important sound of all: the voice of the Holy Spirit?
When I became serious in pursuing my relationship with God, I tried various scenarios while searching for my perfect sanctuary where I could listen to that still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13). I eventually realized I needed to create a garden; I could actively meditate on God’s glory in nature while tending my plants in a garden. I could hear His whisper. Since then, no matter where I lived, I have had both flower and vegetable gardens.
When I moved here, I dug up dozens of plants I had nurtured while conversing with God over the years and brought them with me! Jim thought I was crazy, especially since I moved to an apartment with no area for much of a garden. Ha! I planted them in his yard, which was almost completely lawn at the time. (God had already told me I would marry Jim, so I knew I could plant a garden there.) It is my yard now, too (See?!), and it is mainly ever-growing gardens, where I spend much time praying, meditating on His word, and listening.
Do you unplug? How often? When you unplug, is it intentional and mindful? Do you use this time to converse with God? Do you listen when He speaks through the Holy Spirit? Or is the noise in your life so loud that you wouldn’t hear all the truth, even if the Holy Spirit was speaking into your ear with a megaphone?
Today, I challenge you to increase your time in natural silence (you do not need to create a vacuum void of sound; simply eliminate distracting noise such as television, music, the kids yelling, etc.). Create a space in which you are comfortable, with a natural noise level that works for you. For my friend, it was the hum of the city; for me it is my gardens. Spend time in this place learning to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit.