The sun has just come up and already I’m feeling anxious, flustered, even exhausted. Not only do I have noise all around me, but I also deal with noise within me. The hustle and bustle of commuting only makes this worse. If I’m not careful, I will allow things to spiral downward resulting in a miserable day.
Sometimes it’s difficult to shut out the noise and focus on things that help bring peace to our lives. For me, the noise begins with my alarm clock then follows me through breakfast, my walk to the station, and the long train ride to work. Sometimes the music from the person next to me is so loud their headset is pointless. I often feel sorry for the mother who can’t seem to soothe her unsettled toddler. As if that’s not enough, I often must struggle to ignore conversations between friends who are talking so loudly I forget I’m not part of their conversation.
It’s hard to find quiet, but it’s doable. Maybe you can’t ignore the screaming toddler. Maybe you can’t ignore the inconsiderate chatterboxes. But you can still your soul. You can achieve quietness—a state of mind.
Scripture can help you do this.
Scripture leads you into the awareness that God is right where you are, in the noise. It can help you connect with God and find quiet amid the inner and outer noises that threaten to consume you. Here are three ways I've learned to take charge of my day, to be still, and to reject the anxiety that threatens to creep in.
Pray at all times
The apostle Paul exhorts us to “pray at all times” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The psalmist David saw the need for daily prayers. He prayed: “Remind me each morning of your constant love, for I put my trust in you. My prayers go up to you; show me the way I should go” (Psalm 143:8).
Your commute is as good a time as any to pray. As Rev Billy Graham once noted, “[God] wants His children to ask for help and guidance at any time and in any place. Our posture in prayer has nothing to do with His hearing us….Attitude of heart—not of body—is the important thing.” No matter your mode of travel, you can turn your thoughts toward God.
Talk to God silently. Leave all your worries with God because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Take time to pray for others. I keep a list of prayer petitions for friends, family, and coworkers in a notes app on my phone, and mention each one in prayer every day. Sometimes I also pray for those seated next to me and those standing closest to me on the train. Finally, offering a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings in my life always brings a new awareness of God’s goodness.
Focus on God's Word
The Scriptures tell us that the righteous “find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, and they study it day and night” (Psalm 1:2). A long train or bus ride provides an opportunity to read and meditate on Scripture.
Read or silently recite a passage. You can use a mobile device to access Scripture or develop the habit of carrying a print Bible if that works better for you. Go through the passage a second time, pausing after each verse to ponder its meaning. Consider several questions. What do these words tell you about God and about your relationship with God? How does this passage relate to your life? Your circumstances? Decide whether these are words of instruction, correction, or encouragement and ask yourself how you can apply them to help others.
In answering these questions, I have proved that “[God’s] word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).
Journaling on God’s goodness
In a time of distress, the psalmist David uplifted his spirit by choosing to reflect on God’s might and power. David writes, “I will remember your great deeds, Lord; I will recall the wonders you did in the past. I will think about all that you have done; I will meditate on all your mighty acts” (Psalm 77:11-12). Journaling helps us reflect on God’s goodness, God’s might and power demonstrated in our lives. Think of a difficult time that God has brought you through and write about how God helped you to get through it victoriously.
Whether your commute is long or short, how you spend the time can set the tone for the rest of your day. Praying and engaging with God’s Word is sure to get you on the right course.
Want some helpful Scripture reading plans for your commute?
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