I have come to realize that I’ve been addicted to noise. Every morning when I walk through those big sliding doors at Lowe’s, I’m greeted by the playlist I hear every day. Insanity on a loop. While my co-workers and I complain about the song selection, I still catch my whistling to certain tunes; except I don’t resonate with any of them. How did some of this stuff even make it on the radio? “I’m only happy when it rains”? The band who wrote that song is literally called Garbage. I think our souls are comforted by a song’s emotion. Showers are better with music, and so are car rides, and workouts, and then there’s the funky house music I like to play on Spotify while I cook dinner, except for when that Schlotzsky’s commercial comes on because I don’t have Premium. Don’t forget the podcasts when I’m doing chores—even the boring and bland moments can be spaces for learning.

My handheld screen is constantly talking to me, from the moment I wake up to the time I shut my eyes and try to fall asleep. When I pause from working, whether I sit on my lunch break on those hard metal chairs, and everyone else is looking down at their own talking screens, or I flop on my couch and scroll through reels and videos about people showing me how they do things: how they grow squash on a trellis, ways to invest and make passive income, cats sounding like humans, or bloopers of The Office. ESPN tells me who is going to get traded and who could beat Steph Curry in a 3-point contest. Talk show gurus sit with guests in leather chairs and discuss the latest health trends or the journey to realizing themselves, and news outlets inform me on the intolerable state of our government. And if that wasn’t enough, there are sermons and worship sets galore that I can watch to stay spiritually informed and connected with the times of the trending.

At the end of it all, I am exhausted, as if I ran a marathon in humid South Georgia, yet without anything substantial to be proud of.

I can’t be flippant anymore with whom I give the keys to my mind. The only voice that matters is Jesus. 

I’ll say it again: The only voice that matters is Jesus. 

While the world is full of noise, His volume is often equated with silence, stillness in my heart. Music is beautiful, and knowledge is enlightening, don’t get me wrong – I love discovering and God often speaks through art and other people. But I traded the Tree of Life for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God didn’t want me to know evil, to live in a world knowing corruption, but even further, I believe God didn’t want me to give my attention to anything outside of his Voice–the fruit that comes from knowing Him. 

From here, I move deeper into discerning the difference between Life and what is Good.

Jesus doesn’t need to yell over the noise to get my attention. I don’t believe He competes for my attention. There are no other gods before Him – that means that even when the world creates other gods that scream, “Look over here,” or “Feed me,” He doesn’t change His posture to match their tactics. His voice is the sound of rushing waters. Day after day. His voice is known by those who fully listen to Him. Paul writes in Colossians that I am to set my mind on things above where Jesus is, not on things of this earth. The voice that has access to my mind will shape my reality. Jesus fills me to the fullness of God. If God takes up that much space within me, have I even given myself a closet’s worth of capacity to discover the reality of His fullness?

It’s time to clean out the clutter. My space is holy space because it belongs to the Holy One.

Jesus. Only your voice matters. Strip away all that seeks to keep me from the undercurrents of your flowing rivers. Come and let your sword divide my soul and spirit, discern every thought and intention of my heart. Your Voice alone gets to occupy my space, to unload the wealth of your glory. Speak, Lord, I am listening.