Two truths that have been proving themselves to me every night:
1. Quiet time with God has become the most essential aspect of my daily routine.
2. Headphones have got to be my favourite invention.
What a fantastic device. They allow for a single person to be whisked into a different world, while being visibly present in reality. They allow your mind to transcend the boundaries of the physical. Your mind, alone.
Having conversations with people who have got their headphones or earbuds in is like talking to a wall. They can be looking you in the eye, and might even be courteous enough to remove the device from one of their ears... but they're not present. They're still in the world behind the device in their ears. You can tell as they silently mouth the words to whatever song is playing into their skull. Or maybe they're swaying, dancing, or tapping their foot in time with the silent beat.
Especially over the past couple weeks, my headphones have become my solace. When I simply long for solitude, they are my machine of choice. And it excites me to think of the wonderful picture they can paint around me, even as I remain in my own room. I can be listening to songs that speak to my heart, or listening to podcasts and interviews from people I admire, or watching movies on my laptop.
But no matter what I'm engaged in, I know that I am being silent. I know that the people walking by my room can't hear me. At all. And sometimes, when you live in dorms with a dozen other teenage girls, an empty room is the best medicine.
Sometimes it is the most frustrating thing to try to convey the my therapeutic experience to anybody around me. "Whatcha listenin' to?" Maybe I'm weird, but I'm not a fan of that question. I'll flick on my phone and show them the title or the artist, and seeing their nod or hearing their grunt of recognition or nonchalance just aggravates me. Because when you're experiencing something beautiful, something profound, something deeper than surface level, it just doesn't sit right to give a snapshot to those who are still taking it at face value.
I can sit with my headphones for hours on end and journal, doodle, read, watch, or just listen. It's my time to contemplate and to ponder. And to try to get somebody on the outside to understand the wondrous revelations and understandings that this moment is bringing is impossible. There are no words to explain the nourishing effect that intentional, wholesome music can have on my soul. There are no words to describe the mind-expanding field trip that these songs and these words take me on. And so it hurts to try to give a quick answer to the question, "Whatcha listenin' to?" It's hard to give a one-word answer when what that question needs is a couple hours of discussion. I just want people to understand wholly, or not at all.
But then again... this solitary experience is something precious. I can be certain, for example, that every time I put on my headphones and tap 'shuffle' on my playlist or search for a new interview or podcast, that I am going to be receiving a matchless experience. I will be engaged in a moment that is unique to me, and me alone, on this particular night. And the things that I read, the things that I write down, the things that I chew on and digest are all just components of a session with Jesus that I won't ever get to have, again.
Everything that He wants to teach me, everything that He desires for me to learn, He gives me each night through the chapters I read in His word, the thoughts I read from His servants, and the music I listen to from His musicians.
And I feel like that's something I don't really want to share, anyways. It's my moment with Jesus. I hear people quoting Psalm 46:10 all the time. "Be still, and know that I am God." Yadda, yadda, yadda, I always thought to myself. I used to think, Why do I need to be still? Why can't I just know that He is God, and be all set? Well, He's certainly been teaching me the answer to that question. Every time I take even an hour out of my schedule to shut my door, quiet my heart, and tune my eyes, ears, and soul to His channel, I always leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and whole. And that's a lot more than most of the people on earth can say.
So, I guess nobody will ever be able to understand the wonderful healing and restoration that occurs during my silent Jesus-times... but I will never be able to understand theirs, either. And that's A-Okay. Because in a world where we are so desperate to share photos of our lives and update the public on our goings and doings, learning to keep some things sacred and secret is a skill that needs to be reintegrated into our lifestyles.
In the words of Switchfoot, "When nothing is sacred, there's nothing to lose. When nothing is sacred, all is consumed." Suddenly, in light of both the microscopic and macroscopic revelations that the Holy Spirit can administer to our souls in our alone-time with Him, telling others about our experiences becomes very unappealing.
When it's just you and God, and you know nobody can hear what's going on or what you're experiencing, it's like we can allow our heart and soul to get naked, vulnerable, open, and honest before our Creator. And isn't that exactly what He's wanted from us since we were first conceived?
Matthew 6:6 - "But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
Nothing can be more valuable than a relationship with Christ. So instead of proving to the world that I read my Bible and pray and meditate on God's Word, I plan on simply doing it. Quietly. Sincerely. Openly. Honestly. I want to invest my time in building the most precious relationship anybody could ever hope of having: a connection with the Maker of the Universe, and the Keeper of my Heart.
Yup. Headphones are my favourite invention.