• Richard Parrish

Quieting My Soul



The noise was inescapable!


My wife and I had decided to visit New York City during the Christmas holiday. We were prepared for the weather, but not the noise.


Living in Phoenix — especially during the Christmas season— it’s common for me to have to break out a long sleeve shirt, but rarely a coat. We knew that NYC would require coats, scarves, and gloves! And we were prepared for the cold… but not the noise.


The trip was sudden. Vicki had always wanted to see New York at Christmas time: Rockefeller Center, the window displays at Macy’s, and the sights and sounds of the city during this festive season. We had a window of time that allowed a quick 4-day trip to the city. So off we went.


As airtight as our windows were in our hotel, they were insufficient to block out the sounds of traffic and sirens. Although we live in a large city, our community is spread out. NYC is compressed into a small land area with more people than those living in the greater Phoenix area.


Did I mention I’m claustrophobic?


After four days of shoulder-to-shoulder encounters with strangers, non-stop noise, and the feeling that buildings were closing in on me, I was ready to return to my broader desert landscape that provides me with room to breathe and escape the never-ending noise!


Don’t get me wrong. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in NYC. Great food, beautiful Christmas decorations, and (contrary to what some people claim about its people), they were gracious, patient, and helpful!


I’ve thought a lot about the noise we experience in life. Noise is not only confined to a metropolitan city. At times, even in sheer silence, the clamor of my soul can be deafening!


There’s more to noise than external sounds.


A troubled heart, a proud spirit, fear, anger, and doubt can scream internally until our soul is disturbed! Noise can intensify our anxiousness — externally and internally. Noise can distract us; make enjoyable situations uncomfortable, and even paralyze us!


Although we were unable and incapable of stopping the external noise in NYC, I remember us slipping into Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in the heart of the city. For a few minutes, we sat in silence to compose and quiet our souls.


As the Psalmist David writes: “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”


We returned to the noise of the City from that beautiful Cathedral with a peaceful silence in our souls.


Is the noise of your world — externally and internally — troublesome? Here are some practices to help calm and quiet your soul:


  • Spend a few minutes to remind yourself that God is your refuge and strength. You’re not alone. God surrounds you and gives you strength.

  • Pause to worship and adore God. Praise God for His faithful, never ceasing love for you. This helps realign your focus and heightens your ability to hear God amid the noise.

  • Remember whose child you are. God desires you more than you long for God. You are precious in God’s sight. Reflecting on this truth reduces anxiousness; helping you hear God’s reassuring and loving voice.

  • Meditate on God’s word. As you read the Bible, read it slowly. And more important, allow the Scripture to “read you.” What stands out in this passage? What is this saying to me?


What ways are helpful for you to calm your soul?


Praying that you will always hear God in the noise!