My wife, Pam, and I enjoy going to concerts. The beauty of the music comes not only from the notes, but also from the spaces between the notes. The pulse of alternating sounds and silence—the rhythm—can make it a hand-clapping march or a soothing ballad.

How do we as believers and leaders live with healthy rhythms in a fast-paced world?

“Don’t just sit there... Do something. Say something!!”  How many of you had a parent or older sibling say one of those two statements to you?  The art of waiting and putting our hope in God is counter to our American mentality of “make it happen!”

I’ve come to believe that there is no clearer gauge of where we are putting our hope than the speed of our lives.

Over the past 24 hours, would you say that you were primarily chasing after something (affirmation, a thrill, money, stuff, respect, love) or running from something (fear, failure, relationship, exposure, risk, loneliness)?

Tim Hansel, in his book, When I Relax I Feel Guilty, told a story that relates to the idea of “noise” (see previous post):

 
An American Indian was in downtown New York, walking with his friend, who lived in New York City. Suddenly he said, “I hear a cricket!”
“Oh, you’re crazy,” his friend replied.
“No, I hear a cricket. I do! I’m sure of it.”
“It’s the noon hour. There are people bustling around, cars honking, taxis squealing, noises from the city. I’m sure you can’t hear it.”
“I’m sure I do.”

I spent my two final years of high school in the city of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio. During those years I was pretty fond of Ted Nugent, KISS, and Rush. No, Barry Manilow did not make it on my “playlist” in those days! Ever been to a concert like that? It defines the word LOUD.
 
As I mentioned several posts back, we live in a loud world. The noise that distracts and overwhelms us is not just “noise” that can be measured in decibels. “Noise” comes in many shapes. Sometimes it is visual “noise,” or schedule filling “noise”—but in every case it drowns out what is really important.

We live in a culture where fast, big, and strong are values that have risen to the point of addiction … and exhaustion! When we are wearing the correct spiritual “lens,” small wins over large. Slow wins over fast. Weak wins over strong. So what is the engine that pushes us toward big, fast, and powerful?

Imagine what life might have been like 200 years ago, well before the industrial revolution or the tech revolution. There was no drone of the air conditioner, roar of jets passing overhead, scream of cars, chatter of the television or radio, or electronic jingle of Blackberrys or iPhone alerting us to a text, voicemail, or email. All these noises and prompts add to our daily stress and it is difficult to filter them out or set boundaries to protect our hearts (yes, our hearts).

I am a very active person. To be quite honest, it takes a great deal of discipline for me to slow down and get out of the traffic and crowds of life … and the world we live in doesn’t seem to help! It has become loud and noisy. Have you noticed how hard it is to find a sliver of quiet in an otherwise sound-filled world?