Living in downtown Chicago for the past ten years has given me an ongoing noisy soundtrack of trains, buses, sirens, and the clamoring of the city.
I love any chance I can to leave the concrete jungle and purposefully put myself in God’s creation. My ability to turn down the volume down on all the busy interruptions that bang around and bully my mind moves those worries into their proper place.
On a recent trip to Colorado, I gazed at the vast expanse of trees perfectly placed on the snow-covered mountains. I noticed that each part of creation chose to play its inspired role.
Not a single ounce of God’s creation was stuck in a comparative glare with one another. I did not see a mountain, wondering if it stood taller and prouder than the next mountain.
Not a single bird looked worried about what it needed to get done that day. Yet, I wondered why I struggled and worried so much about my to-do list.
Jesus uses creation to call us back to his presence.
But, unfortunately, living with the volume up at all times eventually leads to anxiety. Learning to adjust the volume and turn it down creates clarity.
We all have limits. Your limits are designed to help you live at a healthy pace and practice peace. At first glance, they may seem like a barrier, but God sees them as blessings.
Unfortunately, when we refuse to live within our limits, we eventually find ourselves broken down and sapped of energy. Worry feeds on itself at an out-of-control pace.
As we own our limits, God supplies us with strength. Think through some of your personal limitations right now. Are you opposing them or owning them?
These are vital areas where we often turn the volume up. We try to answer our worries by doing more, running faster, and pushing a pace we can’t sustain.
You can turn down the volume at a rapid pace by slowing down your life.
Jesus uses the birds of the air and the flowers of the field as the authorities on worry because they are never in a hurry (Matthew 6:26).
I used to think the problem was that I just needed more time. But we all have the same amount of time that Jesus had in his life.
The solution is to slow down, because slowing is what settles the soul. Vincent de Paul says, “The one who hurries delays the things of God.”
Worry takes up residence in our minds. It pays the rent in lies such as “I am less than, more than, not enough, too much.” So turning down the volume on worry is the perfect way to evict it from your mind.
There is some noise in a city like Chicago that you cannot turn down, but you can choose how you quiet your soul. Peace is a much better resident.
*For further reflection, listen to John 14.