The day started out like any other. Up early, guzzling coffee, packing lunches, driving kid number one to school, coming back home, guzzling more coffee, driving kid number two to school then back home again to clean up the house, reply to emails, schedule appointments and return phone calls.
By late morning I realized that we needed a few things from the store so I headed out to run my errands before returning home again.
After doing two loads of laundry and taking a couple of minutes to eat lunch I sat down at my computer and was immediately sucked into conversations happening on Facebook. I flipped back and forth between screens checking to see if the email I was waiting on had come through, scanning an article I had clicked on in the morning, and trying to muster up the energy to edit photos.
I could hear the hum of the dryer in the background accompanied by what my son calls my ‘old lady music’ a.k.a. smooth jazz playing on the TV music channel. I sat there at my kitchen table and was overwhelmed by my complete and utter lack of focus. It was as though my thoughts were all twisted into a knot inside my soul and it was getting pulled tighter and tighter.
Suddenly, I felt as though the walls were closing in on me. Here I sat alone in my home and yet I had this very keen awareness of all of the noise. The noise from social media, the noise from the articles I bookmark but never read, the noise of my inbox pinging every time I got an email, the noise of the dryer that seems to never end.
And all I could think about was that I needed to get away from the noise and I needed to get away from it immediately!
I grabbed my shoes and headed right out the door. And as I walked around my neighborhood I realized that just as the clouds in the sky had parted to make way for beautiful sunshine, so were the clouds in my mind beginning to part.
The fresh air filled my lungs and I began to feel that knot in my soul begin to loosen. As I soaked in the beauty of that unusually warm spring day, I reflected on why I felt such a sudden, almost panicky, desire to flee my home.
I prayed for God to reveal to me what it was that was causing me to feel so befuddled, so unable to focus. And one word sprang instantly to my mind.
I think that my overwhelming sense of needing to escape was brought on by the never-ending chatter that I’ve allowed into my life, my mind, my spirit. It feels as though I’m surrounded on all sides by a steady stream of chattering. Social media, emails, phone calls, the radio playing in the car, text messages and the list goes on. Even when I’m all alone, the chatter is there. It doesn’t ever leave me alone.
What I realized as I walked was that what I was craving in that moment was peace and perhaps even a sense of clarity. And because the chatter will never me alone, I have to be willing to leave it.
In Mark 6 we read of the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. But just prior to this miraculous event, He and His disciples had spent an extended period of time traveling and teaching before He received word that His beloved John the Baptist had been put to death. Jesus was physically and emotionally exhausted. His disciples were physically and emotionally exhausted. Every moment of every day had been filled with chatter. And when they thought they were finally going to have a moment to hit the pause button, to regroup and debrief, they were met instead with still more chatter, still more pulling at them. “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them,“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” (Mark 6: 30-32)
Jesus recognized the deep, abiding need for solitude. All the disciples wanted was a chance to collect their thoughts and share with Him what they had accomplished in His name. But as long as there was chatter, as long as there was constant noise, that wasn’t going to happen.
Jesus knew that clarity cannot be found in the midst of chatter.
Clarity doesn’t come when our minds are racing and our hearts are pounding. It comes when our spirits have been quieted.
I don’t think I even realized how desperately I was longing for clarity in certain areas of my life until I stepped outside my door, until I found myself fleeing from the chatter.
And I realized that perhaps, deep in the recesses of my heart, I had known I needed to get away from the chatter long before I raced out the door that day. Perhaps I had enjoyed getting lost in the chatter so that I didn’t have to actually face reality. Perhaps it served as an escape. Perhaps I was even a bit scared of the clarity. The chatter can so often serve as a security blanket, enveloping us and keeping us from having to deal with reality.
Because once we gain clarity in our lives, we are faced with only two choices. We either do something with the newfound awareness, or we don’t.
That day, as I observed the miracle of one season dissolving into another and felt the warmth of the sun on my face, I gained so much more than the satisfaction of knowing that I was burning calories as I walked. I gained much needed clarity. I was able to sense the Lord affirming that the nudgings I had been feeling in my heart were indeed from Him and part of a plan He is setting in motion. I felt Him reminding me of just how very much He loves me. I confessed sin to Him and experienced the overwhelming grace of His forgiveness as though I was experiencing it for the first time.
And I realized just how well He knows me. How He was the one urging me to escape the chatter just as Jesus urged His disciples to seek solitude and rest. He knows that in this world we live in today, solitude is so much harder to find and yet it’s needed more than ever.
So, I want to ask you these questions today.
When was the last time you felt the urge to get away from the ‘chatter’ in your life?
What’s holding you back?
How can I pray for you?
Because, you see, one of the things that I received clarity about as I walked around my neighborhood last week, was that this needs to be a place where we truly do life together. It was affirmed to me that there are those of you who are truly longing for community, for a safe place to share your struggles. For a place to know and be known.
So, let’s talk. I think it’s your turn now. 😉
I’m so glad you met me at the Fence today,