Noise at Dawn, Turning Up Silence, and a Top Three List.

Sometimes I get tired of words. All the words. Everywhere. Including my own. Facebook. Twitter. Blogs. You know. 

I went through a time earlier this year where I was obsessed with words. With all the words. I’d wake up to my alarm, and before I gave anything else a second thought, I was staring with one eye open at an endless feed of thought — statuses, opinions, angles. Daily, before I kissed the freshly-awake head of my little girl, or even uttered a desperate prayer, I had filled my head with noise. 

My mind tried to sort, and file, and toss and keep, but just like any filter, when things start getting clogged, not much good of anything gets through. My heart weighed heavy. Anxiety went through the roof. Lies seeped deep and shouted when I was weak. Peace unraveled like a stray thread on a handmade sweater. I felt a continual weight of not good enough, not smart enough, witty enough, theological enough, beautiful enough, you-name-it enough. I found when I sat to write, I didn’t even know what my voice was. What did I believe? What did I want to say? Was my contribution even worth making?

(And even now as I write this, I can still feel it all crouching at the door.) 

I was listening to so much, and adding my own noise, that I had lost sight of the point. The point of why I wrote, designed, created. Why did I want to be the girl who did these things? And did I even know anymore what God was whispering in my story before I shouted my noise to the masses?

I needed to turn down the noise. Turn up the silence. Take every thought captive. Tune into my heart. To the Gospel and what anchored me steady under the waves. 

The rest quieted my soul and when I sat back to stammer out my meager helpings, I tried to focus on three things. Here they are. If you find that you’re hearing more noise than music, read on. (Feel free to interchange write with “design” “create” “draw” “sing” “play”, etc.)

1. Write to witness beauty. — I’ve heard several men who I respect talk about finding joy in God by doing the things that bring us joy. When we participate in the beauty of cultivating something we love, it becomes less about the “thing” and more about the wonder of enjoying the gift that the Creator gives to us. The stories I live become portals of love, and I get to experience them all over again when I tell them.

2. Write to remember beauty. — There have been seasons where I wrote as a weary traveler. Divorce. Affairs. Sin. Loneliness. I would make small altars of words, pour out my heart, and light them on fire in hopes my Father would see, hear my prayers, and remember us. At the time, it felt quiet. Now, I look back and while I remember how bleak it all was, all I can see is redemption. Grace. Sustenance. I wrote so that me now, years later, would see God is good and faithful.

3. Write for clarity. — Edward Albee said “Writing has got to be an act of discovery. . . . I write to find out what I’m thinking about.” In this case, seeing is believing. Or sometimes, seeing is knowing what it is that I need to un-believe. 

And finally, don’t be afraid to turn down the noise and take a breather. It’s loud out there, and none of us will be crushed if you finally say you need a break. Silence is beautiful, and God is near. 

 Throw deep anchors and rest.

  • Shannon Coe

    Thank you, Andrea. The noise is always crouching at my door too. What a beautiful analogy that Christ makes just for us when He says that He is The Door. Keeping all that stuff out for us. Our barrier. Our shield. Your three points will help me. I am going to write them down in my journal.

    • Andrea

      Such a good analogy. Thanks for that reminder, Shannon! :)

  • Stacey Lozano

    Oh yes! I have had to unplug to plug in correctly. I had gotten so skewed and wanted to blame everyone else for it. So glad I got straightened out! A quote that helped me along with that is “Write what should not be forgotten.” by Isabel Allende. I don’t know who she is or what she wrote, but her words here helped me get back aligned correctly.

    • Andrea

      I love that quote! Thank you sharing it! :)

  • Crystal

    Oh I related to this so much: “I found when I sat to write, I didn’t even know what my voice was.” Thank you for these words :)

    • Andrea

      I think it happens to so many of us these days. Knowing when it’s time to take a break is key for me. And you are very so welcome – thanks for leaving a note :)

  • Tara Rolstad

    Thank you, Andrea! In that mysteriously wonderful way He has, He had you write what I needed today. Both permission to embrace the silence, and the reminder that I am anchored under the waves. They may be tossing me about, but I cannot be cast adrift. I need to blog, to plan, to pay bills, to fold laundry, but thankfully I got here first!

    • Andrea

      Tara, I’m so encouraged by how this blessed you today! So glad you got to it first too :)

  • Kim Hall

    I agree! I can get so obsessed with other people’s words! Just last night I shut my computer down and said to my husband I just couldn’t take any in anymore.

    Writing for clarity in my journal, whether measured and thoughtful meanderings or wild and stormy rants, is always a really good thing. I love the quote from Albee, because I have found that through journaling there are many times I discover what is lurking undiscovered under the surface :-)

    Writing to remember is very often a lesson in gratitude, just as you say. “Oh, yes” I’ll muse as I wander through my journal, “look at how all that turned out” or “Well, I’ve been down this road before, and it worked out just fine before. I just need to remember and pray.”

    • Andrea

      I love journal writing. I think sometimes we replace blogs with what should be journals. Treasures stored away for our hearts to find later, not necessarily for public consumption :) Thanks for this comment! I love hearing what writing does for others too.

  • Christy Fitzwater

    Thank you, Andrea! It’s amazing to me how many times I need to stop and remember WHY I write. Satan pulls us off track so quickly. This was an encouraging word today.

  • Anonymous

    I resonated with your three reasons for writing…I have found it especially important for me to develop clarity and as a way to pray/talk to God…Thanks, Andrea :)

  • Natalie

    Love this, Andrea. I’m so glad we’ve connected on Twitter! I, too, sometimes get tired of ALL the words, and need to drink in silence before I can go back to finding the joy, beauty, and purpose in writing.