Let’s see if any of this makes sense…
When I was a teenager, I used to sleep with my radio on, then I learned about subliminal messages. This was after years of reading books and seeing movies I now wish I hadn’t (I was a teenager during the Amityville-Poltergeist-Omen years). It took me awhile, but I realized that those images and words wouldn’t just go away – they would be with me forever and pop up at unwelcome times. That has proven to be the case. My teenage years were long ago, but I still remember much of those scary movies and books. Worse yet, I can still feel the fear and darkness that came from them. After putting together the idea that what I read or see stays with me and the idea of subliminal messages, I quickly stopped listening to the radio at night. I had no idea what they were talking about while I was asleep that might stick with me.
As I’ve gotten older, while I’ve stayed away from the types of things of my youth, I have found that what I read now sticks with me and affects my emotions. I get all wound up in the feelings of the characters or any unwelcome language that I might have encountered. It takes not only a lot of mindful work, but also time to let it all go. It affects how I feel, how I think, and how I interact with those around me.
For instance, one of my all time favorite books is by Susan Beth Pfeffer called “Life As We Knew It.” It is a book about a natural disaster that changes the entire way people live. It’s pretty thought provoking. There is a part though, that every single time I’ve read it, makes me want to jump up, run to the store, and stock up on canned foods. That’s the joke in the family now. Somehow, the family can tell when I get to that point in the book because they start asking, “Do you need to buy canned food?” That teasing question is not too far off the mark. The first time I read the book, I did run out and buy a few flats of canned foods. The good news though, is that it was on a really great sale.
While that is my favorite, I do have a pretty good collection of these types of books. I’m not sure what draws me to them. I am also a weather and news crazy person. It’s a good thing we don’t have cable or I would watch CNN and MSNBC and the Weather Channel all day long and never sleep. I’m hoping that this fascination is somehow related to my self reliance streak, otherwise it’s just a little strange.
Which brings me to another book I just finished called “One Second After.” Whew! I got the usual question about the canned foods, but it has also been one of those books that sticks with me. So, why am I talking about all of this? Oh. Boy. Let’s see if I can explain all of these random thoughts in some way that might actually make sense.
I was thinking about this book this morning and then, when I got in the car, there was a story on the radio about drinking coffee (and we know those studies go back and forth all the time). There was also a morning talk show host discussing a new “study” that says that watching a certain tv show can change your brain and how you see your spouse. For the past couple of weeks, I have been considering how all of the outside comments, opinions, and words affect me in the same ways as all of these books I love.
I think back to when we first arrived in Arizona. I had no problem shutting out all of the background noise in life. I’m pretty sure that it was because I had spent three months being very close to God and feeling His reassurance every single day. I could clearly hear. After just a few months here, I lost a lot of my ability to hear so clearly. I started getting swept up in all the noise. It’s not hard to do. As I have been working on my relationship with Him the past few months, I have been much more aware of all of the ways that His voice gets lost because of the noise. Life is noisy and full of ideas and opinions and comments and studies and news and all the rest of it that can affect our feelings and what we feel to be true for ourselves.
While I haven’t been aware of this together as one complete thought, I have been drawing inward as I have studied more and more of God’s Word. I cherish the time I’m spending with Him and I have been working hard to keep feeling His presence throughout the day instead of just the hour with Him. I want that peace and inspiration to stay with me and I want to be aware of it. It’s meant that I have drawn inward a bit and, besides pouring my thoughts and feelings into what I write here, I am trying to limit the noise of life because I can’t yet hear well enough and am not quite confident enough to not question the inspiration I have been given. I have been incredibly blessed over the past couple of years to have some very direct, very specific counsel given to me from Father about issues that I have brought to Him. However sure I am in the moment or when I go back to ponder, pray, and consider again the answers, it is still far too easy to be swayed and to start questioning. I’m grateful for this new awareness and how all of the noise around me affects my relationship with God and my ability to hear Him.
I’m not sure what it will mean in the long run, but for now at least, I’m going to keep the above quote by Steve Jobs in mind (and probably on a post-it note or two) and hope to have a little courage and more faith in myself that I won’t keep forgetting and questioning what I know to be true.