Coping with the Challenges

Rising Above the Noise

FireworksWith Independence Day in a couple of days, I’m already getting ready. I don’t mean buying food or getting our place decked out in red, white, and blue. I mean, I’m getting my son, Gabriel, prepared for what’s to come since he has a fear of fireworks. For the last few days, faint booming noises from early fireworks shows have been getting him out of bed multiple times each night. I can barely hear them myself. But he could hear them. His heightened senses have given me an appreciation for things that I normally wouldn’t stop to notice. But it’s also something that can frustrate him when he needs to focus on something. How many of us have a hard time listening to something when there are competing sounds around us? It can take a good deal of concentration, something that Gabriel needs to learn how to do.

Pray Lake and Sinophah MtnIt seems that way in our spiritual lives too. How do we focus our attention on Christ when we allow “competing” objects to enter in our hearts? How do we love The Lord with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength (Mark 12:30) when our affections, thoughts, and efforts are placed elsewhere? It takes concentration and a resolve to rise above the noise of this world. A retreat to the mountains would be nice, but we have to eventually come down from the mountain. Perhaps, a quiet time in the early morning hours to spend time with our Lord, but even Jesus Himself was met with interruptions to His morning devotions. Maybe your life is such that a mountaintop retreat or early morning quiet times don’t seem to fit in. But, press on and find a way to spend time with The Lord that you may fix your eyes on Him. Susanna Wesley, mother of 19 children, was known to have put an apron over her head, a signal to her children that she was praying to The Lord. A speaker at our church’s women’s conference shared that when her children were young, she had to think outside the box when finding time to read the Bible. Sometimes, she would put them all in the bathtub to play, while she sat next to them reading. These women found ways. With Gabriel’s fears, I suppose it would be easier to just avoid fireworks altogether, but we wanted to encourage him to take steps, even baby steps. We wanted to find a way.

Last year, my sister, who lives near the city’s fireworks show, invited us over to watch from their front lawn. But as everyone started gathering outside with blankets and lawn chairs, Gabriel and I headed upstairs to one of the rooms, closed the door and all the curtains and waited. He paced back and forth nervously. Since the fireworks hadn’t started, I opened the door and noticed that from the window of another room, you can get a view of where the fireworks would be. I encouraged him to come watch from that bedroom, not really expecting that he would agree. To my amazement, he took tiny steps towards the room, and the next thing I know we were both sitting next to the window. He was nervous when the show started, but I kept hugging him and talking to him. “Which one is your favorite?” “What does that look like?” “How many colors do you see there?” The sounds were muffled enough that he was able to bear it, and because the loud booms were not so much of a distraction, he was able to appreciate the beautifully lit night sky.

And so it is with our faith. When those things that distract us from devotion to Christ are removed, we will not want to turn our gaze anywhere else. And what a beautiful sight to behold Him on the throne of our hearts!

One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.
(Psalm 27:4)

 

(Photo credit 1: stintje)
(Photo credit 2: GlacierNPS)

14 thoughts on “Rising Above the Noise”

  1. So true… Life is filled with distractions and it takes constant effort to keep focused. All the while, it’s so easy to forget that each one’s life has its own unique path of baby steps. God will surely bless your effort to encourage Gabriel (and others) to take the next baby step. ❤

  2. Wonderfully written! I love this—both Gabriel’s baby steps and the steps you encourage us to take in our relationship with the Lord. What a great read! I’m so glad you shared this. Thank you.

  3. How you treated Gabriel is how the Lord treats us. When I was hurting from the abuse I had as a child the pastor I counseled with said that God was not like my father. God would wait patiently for me to come to Him, He wouldn’t force Himself on me. Each step I made toward God was met by God until I finally saw Him for the loving Father He is. You helped Gabriel enjoy the fireworks in a way that helped him take one step, but not forcing him too far. God bless you.

  4. Amen! It is so easy to become distracted! I also agree with annabachinsky. those meaningless worries seem to take on a life of their own. Jesus, we ask in your name that Gabriel will remember how much he liked the colors last year and take one more baby step this year. In your name, Amen!

  5. It seems like there is noise and fireworks going off in all directions of life and it’s so important to make that quiet time with our God in the midst of it all. I know when I neglect spending time with Him I start getting caught up in so many meaningless worries and distractions that just waste my energy and time that I’d be much better off without! Thank you for this timely reminder of keeping my focus on Christ. Be blessed! 🙂

    1. And to add to that … when I skip having a quiet time with The Lord, it gets easier to skip the next day and the day after and so on. Christ warned us that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We need to walk by the spirit.

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