Refining Life, on Purpose

Getting God’s Signal Amid Clutter and Noise

Getting God's Signal in Midst of Noise is Hard - it's There. God is never doing nothing.

Did you catch God’s signal today? What about yesterday, or the day before? Have you gotten God’s signal at all in the last month? I am not talking about trying to delicately tune the AM band on your  radio to the low-frequency Christian radio station in your market. I’m talking about that signal that God is booming at you with extreme intensity and passion.

This is more than when my Little League coach gave me the bunt signal from third base. On one such occasion, I genuinely missed it before hitting into an inning ending double-play (as well as running laps for my folly after the game).

This is your Heavenly Father speaking directly to you.

Getting God’s Signal to Your Brain

I think a lot about this. How do we pull God’s signal out of all the clutter and noise that constantly thrown our way? In the book, Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence, Lisa Cron shares some humbling statistics about the onslaught of messages that are being scattered into our lives. We’re constantly being exposed to it just through our daily living.

I am sure you agree that we see and hear many messages in our hurried world. Do you really realize exactly how much? As Cron points out, it’s more than 11,000,000 pieces of information that gets thrust at us each second. Yeah… Every second! Unfortunately, our mind is capable of processing only about 40 of them.

At our best, we can process about 5-7 bits of data at any given time. This is comes from cognitive research of Michael Gazzaniga.

So, then, you have to wonder, if our puny brains can only register, process and react to a handful of pieces of information at any given time, how do we hear or see God’s signal as we’re constantly assaulted by a gajillion stimulants?

Getting God's Signal in Midst of Noise is Hard - it's There. God is never doing nothing.

Getting God’s Signal in Midst of Noise is Hard – it’s There. God is never doing nothing.

The Many Ways We Miss God’s Signal

On a family vacation trip, as I was reading Wired for Story, I paused to consider those 11,000,000 messages. Could it be possible? So I began naming as many things as I could that carried messages… lights, traffic, directional signs, construction, rail guards, painted stripes on roadways, bumper stickers, license plates (not to mention the state mottoes carried on many state plates), car models, cell towers, my kids bickering with one another in our van.

Long story, short, I didn’t get to 11 million, but I got a lot. And that doesn’t even consider micro-messages carried within the broader ones – such as the arrow that’s subliminally planted in the FedEx logo or the word “mom” written in the collar of the Wendy’s sign.

We generally dismiss these things as clutter and noise. They’re made by man. On the other hand, there are those things which are God-made. The first vibrant rays of morning sunlight. The wind swiftly passing through the limbs and leaves of the massive trees that stand over us. Wildflowers blossoming full spread in an open meadow. Insects assembling into groups and scurrying over the land. Birds flocked in unity as they fly overhead.

My kids bickering with one another in our van. That’s right, life often pulls me back into the fray and I lose focus.

Seeing God’s Signal Through it All

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. – Colossians 1:17-18 MSG

God’s signal is visible through it all. He is always working. Our job is to see that workmanship by his allowing it all to happen the way that it happens. And that makes him all the more impressive.

God gave us the materials and talents to design the micro-vessels that carry all messages.

God allows us to see and know when those messages are in unison or carry deeper meaning.

God’s word and our relationships with him helps us to know when what draws us in is “under the sun” (apart from God) rather than “under Heaven” (interwoven by God’s divine ordering).

I pray we keep this in mind as we continue refining life, on purpose.

About Chad Gramling

Chad Gramling makes his home in Indiana with his wife and three daughters. He's the founder and primary blogger at 1Glories, a vision cast onto his heart and detailed in Listen Up Kids: Foolish Dreams, Syncing with God & Running to Win.