Okay, firstly I have to start with an apology. I started this blog with the intention of writing in it regularly. But, over the summer, I made a conscious effort to spend quality time with my kids and pare back my work, only focusing on it for short, intense bursts (such as when they went to stay with my parents). I have to say it was definitely the right decision – I had some brilliant times with the kids and it made me feel I had brought back some balance into family life. But this blog has suffered as a result. It can be hard to get back into the habit of writing it – particularly now I have less time to work each day due to fitting in 3 school runs. But anyway, enough of that – I’m back to write about the things I ponder about and mull over day by day…
Today’s title is referring to the ‘noise’ we all live with. On Saturday I had the privilege of attending a day of a ‘healing prayer school’. I think I went with some preconceived ideas about what the day would involve, and I was totally wrong! 😉 I spend a lot of time with people who are hurting and broken in our church, and sometimes feel totally out of my depth (a good way to learn to cling to God!), and I hoped the day would give me clear instructions on how to approach various ways of counselling people biblically. The day didn’t really go like that – after each short section of teaching the speaker then invited people she felt needed a particular type of emotional healing to stand up and they were ministered to there and then. While at times it made me feel like a spectator, what I was struck by was how much she had heard God – and how quietly she stood there and listened to Him and then directed the team who was working alongside her. It was obvious that she was really connected to God, really understanding who He wanted to touch that day and what He wanted the team to do to aid that process. I long to hear more from God but know that I need to slow down in order to do so. It’s all about practising the presence of God – going to that quiet, calm place where we can actually listen to God as well as talk ‘to’ (in reality ‘at’!) Him.
I have to constantly remind myself that I can only do so much with my writing at this time, as my primary calling is to be the best mum I can be to our young children. And yet it is hard not to get swept up into the Twitter frenzy, especially all the Christian debates etc that go on. I can compare myself to others who write for Christian publications and be very conscious that I don’t have pithy soundbites coming out of my fingertips, being launched into the Twittersphere, constantly. It can make me feel lacking in some way and, on my worst days, makes me surmise that I will never get to write for a certain editor’s magazine because I don’t tweet like they do. However, I have been doing some research for a piece I am writing about the pressures that face 18–30 year old Christian women. To help me with this, I created a questionnaire and some of the answers I have received have been very revealing. I didn’t expect that age group, those that seem to embrace social media to its full, to say this, but three-quarters of them indicated that at times they feel totally overwhelmed by the information that is thrown at them via the media, Twitter and Facebook. I had to admit that I found that quite refreshing! And, even today, Vicky Beeching tweeted that new research indicates it is possible to be too connected in this digital age, giving a link to a survey about how social media can distract at work. Apparently workers are interrupted, on average, every 10.5 minutes, and it takes them 23 minutes to get back to their original task. The stats they cite are staggering: there are more than 1 billion posts added to Facebook each day, 62 billion emails sent daily and 400 million tweets. At the bottom of the page I found it very interesting that it asks, ‘How often do you unplug?’.
Having spent the summer not following things so closely online I can say that I don’t feel so hooked at all – somehow it doesn’t seem so important. I realise now that, rather than trying to keep up with the Tweeting crowd as it were, I need to draw closer to God and hear what He wants to reveal to me, to learn what He wants me to write about – rather than regurgitating clever ideas I may have heard elsewhere or trying to gain inspiration for myself through them so that I am somehow keeping up with the ‘in’ subjects in Christian circles. Sometimes I truly don’t understand how certain people have the time to do it all – but then they are in full-time Christian media work and I’m a full-time mum with only a few hours a day given over to working at the moment. What is true for all of us, whatever our situation, is that we have a responsibility to ensure our voice is authentic to who we are. So I’m going to leave you with the same question: how often do you unplug – from whatever it is that distracts you, be it the internet, TV or even an unhealthy obsession or habit, to make sure you are still in step with God, walking closely with Him? If you haven’t heard Him speak to you recently why not try saying the following: ‘Enough! I will silence everything that is crowding me, vying for my attention, long enough to connect with God each and every day.’