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Our Spiritual Headphones And Where We Are Really Missing Out

Our personal headphones lead us to missing out on many things. This includes our ability to listen and hear, our ability to know what is right and to serve God's world.

A lot of people suffer from the fear of missing out, or FOMO. You see, we all like to be included and don’t want to be the one missing out on the good times, great experiences and epic moments.

During a conversation with a worship leader, I was struck by her reference of a need to sometimes “take the earbuds out” when it’s evident that she is not connecting with those she is expected to lead. Indeed, it’s a powerful metaphor. In the context she provided, it’s about a missing connection. I think it goes deeper than that, though.

As people, we think, act, and react based upon our knowledge and experiences. It’s because these things form our values and our understanding of what we continually believe to be true. Also as people, we tend to use actual and metaphorical earbuds to gain a superficial means for zoning out. Essentially, we gain an escape by enacting our natural mechanisms to flee or take flight from hardships.

Our personal headphones lead us to missing out on many things. This includes our ability to listen and hear, our ability to know what is right and to serve God's world.

Our personal headphones lead us to missing out on many things. This includes our ability to listen and hear, our ability to know what is right and to serve God’s world.

In a sense, the earbuds give us a way to be comfortably numb. It’s in that comfort, though, that we are genuinely missing out.

You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear with your ears, but you don’t really listen.” – Isaiah 42:20

You’re Missing Out on a Way to Listen and Hear More

When we put on our personal headphones, we create the sound and environment we seek. Divert our eyes and we can pretty much disconnect. We create our own forms of blindness and deafness. With our headphones on, even though we may hear many things, we may be tuning out what God really wants us to hear.

If we were to look back a few verses, to Isaiah 42:18, we read “Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see!” – this implies the fact that if we chose to, we can hear and see. It is a choice. A choice to remove the obstructions from our self-inflicted blindness and deafness.

You’re Missing Out on Knowing What is Right

Similar to this verse in Isaiah, is something I read while studying the book of Amos. I was struck by the terrible indictment that occurs in chapter 3. It says the people of Israel don’t even know how to do right! In fact, it’s worse than that. You see, the actually thought there were doing right. So, even worse than not knowing how to do right, they didn’t even know they were in the wrong!

With our personal headphones firmly planted in place, we too often fall into the trappings of our personal bubbles. In those bubbles, we gain comfort in routine and in knowing what we know. Rarely, if ever, do we accept that there are things we do not know. And, even if we do gain that understanding, we can easily dismiss it as irrelevant or not fitting into our mold.

Remove your headphones to open yourself to broader perspectives. Your world and way of understanding might be mighty smaller than you ever thought possible.

You’re Missing Out on a A Connection With God’s World

The third way we are missing out by keeping our spiritual headphones on is the connection to God and to God’s world. We’ll explore this more in another post. For now, though, as this passage in Isaiah shows, we cut ourselves off from serving God when we wear our spiritual headphones. And, in cutting ourselves off from serving God, we cut ourselves off from God’s people.

Circling back to the conversation I had with the worship leader who inspired this YLU topic, this point becomes quite clear. A musician wears earbuds or headphones (also called in-ear monitors, or IEMs) to control what it is that they want to hear. In some cases, it’s to just hear their own voice. In other cases, it’s to be selective of what other sounds they can and cannot hear.

Ironically, IEMs do help the vocalist stay in rhythm. However, there are times when the vocalist, especially a worship leader, must better hear the people they are meant to be leading. The headphones, in such an instance, cuts them off from the rest of the flock.

Stop missing out. Restore your connection to God's world & take out the earbuds. Click To Tweet

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.