Two years ago my mind was spinning. I was in an intense season with my job, my relationships and almost every aspect of my life! I felt like I was on a fast track collision with burnout. I remember coming home late one night after leading worship. I collapsed into my bed emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted. Ever been there?
Now is a good time to mention that I brought most of the exhaustion on myself. I have a tendency to do that. You see I have a really hard time saying no to things, especially good things. I love spending time with friends, leading worship, making music (yep I’m a seven on the enneagram) but one too many yesses had left me feeling spent.
As I collapsed in my bed staring at the ceiling, my brain was spinning. I thought to myself, “I just need a break. I need a time of rest with no agenda, no texts, no lists, no social media, just time spent alone with Jesus.” A simple phrase kept repeating in my mind, it gave words to how I was feeling: “quiet the noise,” That is what my heart longed for. I longed for stillness, for the noise in my life to cease and to find rest in the One who fills me. That night I grabbed my guitar and started writing the chorus to the song “Quiet the Noise.”
“Quiet the noise til all that I’m hearing
Is Your voice Jesus surround me
You’re life to me
You’re the air I breathe”
As I started writing, I began searching scripture for instances where people quieted the noise in their life. One of the first stories I stumbled on was the story of Daniel.
I picked up the story in Daniel chapter 6. Let me set the scene.
Daniel had quickly grown to be one of the most popular and favored people in the kingdom of Babylon, specifically in the eyes of King Darius. In fact, it says he so distinguished himself, King Darius planned to set Daniel over all of Babylon.
Daniel wasn’t just favored because of his gifting, although that was certainly a part of it. He was favored because of his character and trustworthiness. How do we know this? Because the other rulers became so jealous of him, they attempted to destroy his reputation. But they couldn’t do it because they couldn’t find any corruption or flaw in his character. Daniel wasn’t just well liked, he had integrity to back it up.
These officials eventually gave up on trying to ruin his integrity and instead shifted their focus to his faith. In their jealousy these officials proposed a decree to King Darius that stated that anyone who prayed to any god or human beside King Darius within the next thirty days would be thrown into the lion’s den.
This is where the story gets amazing! It says Daniel “learned that the decree had been published.” I want to pause here because this part of the story is crucial. Daniel knew about the decree, he knew that a den of hungry lions awaited him if he was caught praying to God. Daniel was faced with the decision: intimacy with God or fame, power and platform. His response is staggering.
“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows were opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
So not only does Daniel continue to pray, he prays three times a day with the windows of his house wide open!! Doesn’t that fire you up? Talk about strength. Talk about courage. Talk about incredible faith.
What a powerful declaration of where Daniel’s priorities stood and where he placed his trust. In the pressure of his greatest adversity, Daniel chose to quiet the noise of his life and get alone with God.
His actions declared what he treasured most. It wasn’t fame, it wasn’t power and it wasn’t his influence. His biggest priority was his intimacy with God. Daniel understood that God gave him his platform and without Him, he had nothing.
I’ve been so challenged by this passage in this season of life. While I may not be facing oppressive legislation, imprisonment or a den of hungry lions, there are plenty of things that are fighting for my intimacy with God.
I am constantly bombarded by all the things the world says will make me happy, give me worth and bring me ultimate fulfillment. These things get in the way of my intimacy with God. Before long they can drown out His voice altogether and get in the way of my relationship with Him. Whether it’s comparison to others, how much money I make, the fear of not measuring up, the number of followers I have on social media, there is a war raging against my soul and my intimacy with God.
I’m so inspired by Daniel. In the wake of all the noise, all the resistance, and in the face of death he remembered where his help came from. He chose to lean into his relationship with God when it would “make sense” to just follow the law and forget about God altogether. He remembered what truly mattered.
It’s my prayer that in the midst of the noise of my life, I would have the same courage and faith that Daniel had. I pray that I would run to the only One who gives me identity, the only One who’s approval really matters and only the One who will ultimately satisfy me. Jesus.
What are the things that are fighting for your intimacy with God today?
You can listen to Trevor ‘s new single “Quiet the Noise,” at this link