I don’t know about you, but my world has felt so noisy recently.  And I’m not just talking about the kids that run wildly through our house, literally scaling the walls.  I’m talking about all of the voices.  On all of the platforms.  All the time.  The steady stream of clickbait and content has turned into a constant static in my ears and on my phone, and, quite frankly, it has grown tiresome.  So exhausting that I have felt uncharacteristically unmotivated to write on here.

Usually, this space provides freedom for me as my fingers type out the words I’ve been itching to process.  But lately?  Lately, I’ve felt the need to be still.  To go small.  To process quietly, just me and God.  (And Matt.  And a small handful of other dear friends who have the distinct privilege of hearing me process ALL OF MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.  Bless their hearts.)

As I’ve quieted myself over the past weeks, months even, I have felt my heart returning again and again to this question: “Catherine, in this world of unceasing noise and content, to whom do you run and in whom do you trust?”

And the questions kept coming…

Who has the greatest platform and loudest voice in my life?  Today’s hottest celebrity in Christian subculture?  Or the holy and sovereign God?

Why am I so shaken when a well-known pastor, author, speaker, or well-respected Christian “falls” (whatever that means) or takes a stance with which I disagree?  Have I been functionally placing my faith and trust in the gospel of some Christian celebrity rather than in Christ Jesus alone?

To whom am I turning for truth?  As a follower of Jesus, how do I reconcile my faith with headlines and culture?  Is my knee-jerk to turn to my Facebook feed for the latest soundbyte from whoever my American-Christian-Idol might be at that moment?  Or to hustle to my blog to place my own stake in the ground?  Or do I instinctively turn to God and His Word as my source of truth?

Am I surrounded by other believers with whom I can hash out the hard things in life?  People who I trust to challenge me, push me, and set me straight when needed?  People with whom I can hold culture up to scripture and say, “Now what?”

Do I know God’s word?  Am I in scripture daily?  I’m not talking about reading a hand-lettered verse on Instagram, checking off a box, and calling it a day.  I’m talking about reading God’s word in context.  Interacting with it, wrestling with it, studying it, memorizing it.  And, oh yes, living it out.  Do I spend more time TALKING about doing this or actually doing it?

Do I have a spirit of humility?  I’m a fallen, sinful human who gets things wrong.  Often.  So, when I’m called out, do I respond on the defense, or is my heart teachable?  Am I willing to learn?  To be broken?  For my ideas and frameworks to be broken apart and reworked?

You guys.  We’re kind of pioneers here.  This world of 24 hour news and social media and insta-everything is unlike anything the generations before us had to navigate.  The voices are louder.  The platforms larger.  And I don’t know, the stakes just seem higher.

I believe all of this begs a few final questions:

Are we stewarding this responsibility well?

Are we placing Jesus at the center of it all, or are we squeezing Him in along the fringes?

Church, I think we have some work to do.  Good and holy and hard work.

Work that will ultimately shift our eyes away from the stages and the spotlights and back to the Creator and Sustainer of it all.  Work that will prompt our aching hearts to know Him more.  Because it’s only then- when we know Him and His truth- that we’ll be prepared to sort though the noise and listen to the voices.

Perhaps this should go without saying, but if I’ve had to learn this the hard way, then I have to assume that I’m not alone: if our goal is to see the world through a Christ-centered lens, then we have to first know Christ.  Not a cursory “oh yeah, I’ve heard about that Jesus guy” sort of knowing.  But an intimate, authentic-relationship kind of knowing.

The “oh my gosh, I feel like we’re best friends” brand of knowing that we feel toward so many of our favorite authors, bloggers, and speakers.  Except God?  He knows us back.  And loves us fully.

As we go searching for answers in these confusing and sometimes ridiculously difficult days, let’s thank God for the wise voices out there.  And let’s pray for those on the big platforms because that, my friends, is an enormous responsibility.  But may we also remember that they, like us, are people.  Just people.  Finite.  Human.  Fallen.  No match at all to our high and mighty God.

And may we always, always start and end with Truth.  Because this world may be noisy and loud.  Culture seems to be forever shifting.  But, as we read in Isaiah 40:7-8, “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field…The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

It’s noisy out there y’all, and so much of this “noise” is pure and Christ-centered and good.  But, at the end of the day, may our hope be found in the One- the only One- who endures forever and who will never, ever fail.