by Todd Goodwin
I have found in my life of 55 years that finding and living out my why for my life was much more important and centering than the what, when, and where. I was fortunate to have discovered that in my early 20s, which made for a better and more fulfilling next 30-plus years. It helped me stay focused and lead a simple and productive life. The why helped me cancel out a lot of the noise in my life that many other people deal with on a daily basis. Why do they deal with it? Because they haven’t defined their why.
I was able to define the why in my life also because I had learned early how to deal with all the noise that was in my own head. I would venture to say that most people deal with more “inside” noise than they do “outside” noise. The noise of their own thoughts, their own ideas, of who they are and who they should be. A lot of that noise happens in your younger years and is influenced by the outer noise of just learning how to simply grow up.
I can remember the day when I was 16 years
old, sitting at a drafting desk my father had
given me, and I was quietly having a conversation
with God and myself. I knew God had a call on my
life; I knew that I had some ideas of my own for my
life, and His and my ideas were not lining up.
I remember very clearly telling God, “Lord, if You
want me to do what You’ve called me to, You are going
to have to help me get a hold of the thoughts in my head
and be focused, or I’m never going to be able to do
what You have destined for my life.” Yeah, I’m
sure you are thinking to yourself, “What
16-year-old thinks like that?” But I really did
think that way and really did pray that prayer. It was a benchmark in my life of learning to be disciplined with the “noise” inside my head. I can tell you right now that if it wasn’t for the power of God’s Holy Spirit giving me the strength of discipline, God would not have been able to do any of what He has done in and through my life over the past 30-something years. It all started with finding the why in my life. It has never been about the what, when, where, or even the how.
There is something clarifying when you know your why. It helps to cut through all the noise inside and outside your head. Knowing your why helps keep the clutter of your life down to a manageable task… which is another article for another issue. Understanding your why will keep you within the guardrails of your life. It keeps you safe. It helps you focus. It keeps others safe. It gives you security. It is truly hard to find your why when there is so much noise going on, inside and outside of you. First, you must quite the noise inside you before you even begin to think about the noise around you. Secondly, you must abdicate. Abdicate your will, your dreams, your desires, your ideas, etc. to God and let Him “show you the way.” You will never be able to quiet the noise by yourself. We, as humans, have tried and tried, and it has gotten us to where we are today—a world full of noise and distractions, a world full of inventions and ideas that are nothing more than more noise and distractions—distractions from the one thing that will help simplify, clarify, and justify us: an intimate relationship with God.
I know a lot of this sounds very mystic and ethereal, but it all centers around your relationship with God, or more importantly His relationship with you. We were created to have relationship with God. Even when we messed that up, He still made a way for us to have relationship with Him.
There was something quite beautiful about Adam and Eve walking with God in the “cool of the day.” Adam and Eve had a job to do. They were put in the garden to “work” the garden. But, that wasn’t their why. Adam named all of the animals. But, that wasn’t his why. Adam and Eve were to “replenish” the earth with children. But, that wasn’t their why. Their why didn’t rest in the task they were given, but in the relationship that they had with God. God was their why. It wasn’t religion. Religion had not come along yet. Religion came after the fall and is a creation of man.
God has and still wants relationship with man above all else in our world. God is not asking you to do anything. He is asking you simply to be. Be still. Be quiet. Be calm. Be strong. Be courageous. The list goes on and on. He also knows that, without a relationship with Him where only He can quiet that noise, we will never be able to be.
Mankind has, since that day in the garden,
struggled with purpose and its collective
why. We, as a whole, have tried to simplify,
clarify, and justify our lives… but to no end.
Here are a few things that I believe will help you
filter out all the—at the very least—unnecessary
noise in your life.
First, give your life and control of your life over
to God. Many people are willing to give God their life
(i.e. hopes, dreams, and desires) but are not willing to
give Him control, meaning that He will govern
what, when, where, and how those hopes,
dreams, and desires come into existence.
Second, be willing to go and do whatever He asks. Don’t put stipulations on God. This is not a negotiation of your life. It’s all or nothing with God. You are either all in or not in at all. By the way, He is the one who created you and me. What makes us think or presume that we could tell our Creator anything?
Third and last, get alone with God. You will never “be” unless you “are” alone with God. It is in that secret place that God reveals Himself to you. Also, it is where He will reveal you to you. It is in that secret place where the noise is filtered and you begin to hear His voice distinctly and clearly. Do whatever it takes daily to get alone with God. Don’t allow the pressures, schedule, and noise of this life to take precedence over your time alone with Him. If you have to get up earlier than everybody else in your family, then do it. If you have to stay up later, then do it. Do whatever it takes to be alone with Him.
It was the prophet Elijah who heard the voice of God clearly and distinctly, and rediscovered his why. In the book of 1 Kings chapter 19, it says in the New Living Translation, “… And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” It was in the midst of the wind, earthquake, and fire that Elijah heard the voice of God through all the noise, and it changed his life forever.
The noise is not going away. It is always going to be there. We must learn to hear His voice through all the noise by turning up His voice so that we can hear Him whisper to us and find our why!