Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Finding Balance

Someone on Facebook this past week posted this verse as her status:

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. – Luke 5:16

I began pondering on that verse and immediately began thinking about how overwhelming life must have gotten for Jesus.  With all the teaching and the healing and the walking.  And not to mention the teaching and the healing and the walking.  Jesus needed some time to go off by himself, be still and quiet and just pray.

I know for myself my life can get filled pretty quickly with what Stephen Rossetti refers to as external and internal noises.   External noises are things like the television, the radio, the iPod, the Facebook, etc.  Internal noises (which sometimes are louder than the external) are things like worrying about your work, or your family, or your friends; it’s relationships with others.  “Our senses,” Rossetti says, “are bombarded with sounds that deafen the heart and the mind.”

It gets too loud!  We can turn off the radio or the television, but our internal noises don’t turn off so easily.

Rossetti tells of how monks of the fourth and fifth centuries would keep rocks in their mouths “for three years” to “learn to be silent.”  This idea may seem radical (or just plain crazy) but it says something about self-discipline.  It takes, I have found for myself at least, a great deal of self-discipline to maintain an even balance between silence and noise.  I find, for example, that when I turn off the radio/iPod while driving, those interior noises are given some much needed God-attention.  I become more open to listen to God and those interior noises are soon calmed.

So, when you get overwhelmed by life’s exterior and  interior noises, find your balance – your quiet center – and let God hit the off switch.

1 Comment

  1. Wow, Jason, this really sums up exactly what I was thinking when I posted that verse. I often feel super overwhelmed…1. because anxiety has always been a nasty little habit of mine that I’m continually being healed of, and 2. because internal and external noises tend to pile up. When I feel like this I always think of Jesus and I wonder how He did it, and then I complain and say, ‘Lord, this is hard!’ And I’m not even talking about going around and healing the sick or preaching…everyday life and demands and being attuned to the needs of others through the Holy Spirit…it can be hard. Add to that noise. Then on Sunday my pastor (Singh at Eternity Church) preached on just this. His message was themed ‘Peace! Be still!’ and the importance of just being still and in His presence. He spoke of all of those internal and external noises that get us off center (will post a link to the sermon soon). When I heard this, it was like God whispering directly to me ‘Micah, stop. be still,’ and it couldn’t have come at a better time. But of course, I didn’t just stop and be still…I thought it was a wonderful message that I could truly relate to, and for a few hours I was still in His presence. Then later that evening immediately reverted back to the noise. This of course tuned Him out and let the anxieties in. The next day, I forgot about the message, went to work and throughout the day – noise. Later that evening it was like I collapsed. I NEEDED to be in His presence. No music (my favorite), no television, no computer, no phone, no thinking about my next step, or pondering over anything in the past. I needed to be in the presence of my creator. I just sat quietly and soon after, I read part of Luke and came across the verse ‘But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.’ It really stood out to me and brought me so much joy. It was like I felt a direct connection to Jesus in that moment. 🙂

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