Written By Ingrid B. Skarstad Williams

Reminisce with me for a moment. When you were a kid, did you have a bike? Did you clip playing cards on your bicycle wheels?  Wasn’t that cool? If you don’t know the joy of turning your bike into an imaginary motorcycle with just a clothespin and a card, I’ll explain.

We would bend a playing card at one end around the bike frame by the wheel, then pin it so the other end reached into the spokes (Clothespins were in abundant supply then. We dried laundry on outdoor clotheslines back in my childhood days. Nowadays it seems like clothespins are more like crafting supplies!). When the wheel turned, the spokes flipped the card. The sound made it seem like the bike roared to life as a Harley Davidson!

Some kids got fancy and pinned several cards on their wheels. Oh the magic of making noise! The louder and more interesting the sound, the more we enjoyed it. Then again, it seems like anything that made noise was fun!

But as an adult, the fun doesn’t last when the clatter of living haunts your days (and nights). Every deadline and responsibility is like another card clipped to your wheels—slappety-slap-slap-slapping to demand your attention. They multiply. Even one new event on the calendar can create an array of to-do’s to conquer.

The growing list of what you should be doing gets noisy. The “shoulds” hit the spokes every time you move forward. The faster you move, the louder they get. That’s a lot of noise! No wonder we have the saying, “Stop the world—I want to get off!”

What’s the answer? I reflect back on sentiments I expressed nearly a decade ago. It was written during days that seemed to hold everything but peace.

Thankfully much has changed, and some of it because of the big lessons in that small moment. I still reflect on that picture of my son on his Big Wheel. It reminds me that no matter how hard I listen for God’s voice, if I don’t stop the noise, I won’t hear Him.

God Is Right Here

God has our answers—all of them. He is ever present. He is very near. And He is not silent. He wants us to know His ways, His plan, His purpose, and His peace. So if we need to get quiet to hear our Father’s voice in our lives, it seems to me that it would be of utmost importance to create stillness.

How do we do that? The myriad of answers could be dizzying, but I will share one that is simple and visual: stop the noise and listen. It’s visual to me because I can still see my son riding in circles, loud and unlistening. But there’s more to that little story. After a while of not hearing his father’s responses, my son became a little more frantic. The original sing-song, “Daddy, where are you?” escalated with punctuated frustration. “DADDY! (clackety-gaspy-clack) WHERE (clickety-demandy-click) ARE (clitter-clatter-sobby-click-clack) YO-O-O-O-O-O-U?”

Days are a blur. 

I race through trying (and failing) to do everything that cries out for attention.

I am reminded of a day when my son was racing in circles on his Big Wheel in the basement.

        Those things are LOUD! And he was doing a good job of stirring up the noise.

Above the clatter of the wheels, I could hear him yelling over and over

        in rhythm with the wheels, “DADDY! WHERE ARE YOU?” 

His father answered every time from the floor above,

        but there was no way he could hear him over the noise he was creating. 

The picture seems a lot like me when life is so busy that I feel like I’m running in circles.

        And I am!

I’m making so much “noise” in my life that I can’t hear the answer to my heart’s cry …

        whether it is to know where my Father is, recognize my purpose, feel connected,

                    or simply taste the sweet relief of peace.

How simple would it be to stop for a moment and ask those questions in silence? 

Maybe more simple than I realize.

God has not been silent.

I have not been quiet.