Avoiding beauty

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When I was a little girl, and even still sometimes today, when my incessant chatter became nearly unbearable, my dad used to say “shhh, listen.” And the times that I actually did listen, I didn’t think I heard anything. But now as an adult (or as a teenager pretending to be one) I realize just how valuable it is to just stop and listen to silence and what it has to say.

It is always compelling when someone encourages you to think in a way that you never have before. My Civ. Arts professor this semester has done just that and I cannot express how much I appreciate it. Perhaps I didn’t even fully appreciate it until this morning.

Just before I went to class I was enjoying the silence of the morning alone in my dorm room. I am surrounded by music from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep.  My roommate always has some kind of background music on. There is always music playing on the radio in the bathroom. Our neighbors on the hall like to share their music whether we want to hear it or not. The student union always has music playing from somewhere. Even in the library people have music playing quietly on their computers or they are plugged into their headphones. Every store has music playing from the speaker system.

I love music as much as the next girl but sometimes I feel like it is numbing my thoughts. Sometimes I just need silence (especially when I’m trying to study). This morning I was wondering if maybe this is a problem- the constant listening may actually be preventing us from truly listening.

When I got to Civ. Arts this morning the professor was talking to us about how non-Christians, and sometimes even Christians, numb ourselves to God’s glory. He said that we also do this in our everyday lives. He started focusing his discussion on our free time and how we use it. We listen to music that reveals nothing to us and has nothing for us to enjoy but a bass rhythm and generic lyrics. We retreat into the world of Netflix and Hollywood movies or video games. What are we as Christians doing with our time? Why are we spending it in the same way as those who are muting the beauty of God?

I thought it was interesting and kind of ironic that this lecture came at the same time as I was deliberating this very thought myself. I guess my Civ. Arts class has affected me more than I gave it credit for. I am not about to sit around listening to only classical music and I’m not willing to give up my New Girl watching sessions. But I do think there is something to be said for being aware of what we are doing to ourselves and being mindful of falling into the same pattern that the world is. Constant stimulation is not necessary and is actually causing us to become numb to the beauty that is around us.

Let us, as Christians, be chasing after the beauty and glory of God with everything in us. Let us take quiet moments to just let our minds wander and let Him speak. As my professor so articulately put it, “all Christians must understand, thirst for, and delight in beauty and run to God’s truth.”

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