I came home from work the other day and started cleaning up around the house and of course I needed some sort of entertainment so I turned on pandora. I’ve been on a bit of a Switchfoot binge lately. They’ve been one of my favorite bands for over a decade now and they are still coming out with some pretty sweet stuff. But to get back to the point the song “If We’re Adding to the Noise’ came on.
The lyrics were pretty spot on for me that day
“What’s it gonna take
to slow us down
to let the silence spin us around?”…
‘If we’re adding to the noise
turn off this song
If we’re adding to the noise
turn off your stereo, radio, video’
I thought about those lyrics for a moment and then had a little conversation with Switchfoot in my head. ‘Yes Switchfoot, you are adding to the noise’. And I simply followed the instructions that Switchfoot had given me and I turned off the song. I spent the rest of my time cleaning in beautiful silence and even enjoyed most of the night in silence away from all of my distractions, my ipad, iphone, tv, computer, texts, Facebook, news, music, all of it.
It made me realize that often times I get this idea in my head of what winding down looks like that isn’t true at all. When I finish a long day of work the first thing I often want to do is throw something onto Netflix, grab a beer and my ipad and play some video games. In some ways I think that is helpful it really does help me de-stress to a certain point. But only to a certain point.
It helps me get my mind off the stress’s and worries of that day but then it just makes my mind consumed with other stuff. Those other things may not stress me out in themselves but it doesn’t really help release my mind of the things of the day. Those things are more of a distraction. Once the distraction is gone the stress’s of the day often come flooding back.
But the times I have truly found rest, the times I have truly felt at peace were the times I spent in silence. The times I spent up in the mountains, the times I spent praying, meditating. The times I dedicated some direct focus on my stress and then simply let it float out of my mind.
It’s a weird idea in some ways but I’ll never forget one of my teachers at bible school telling me that you should limit your time to stress about something. Tell yourself you will only spend 10 minutes a day stressing about something and that you won’t take more time outside of that. It sounds unrealistic but you can totally do it.
Long story short here is my challenge. When you have just had one of those long stressful days don’t just come home and get distracted. If you’re anything like me you are constantly trying to be stimulated and entertained. I look at my phone first thing in the morning, check it frequently thru the day, have music going while I work (even while I write this blog). Sorry try to follow Switchfoots lead, ‘Turn of the radio, stereo, video, I don’t know’, stop adding to the noise and just sit in the silence for a bit, it may help you relax more then you would expect