Every morning, I take the kids to school and then I go to Starbucks.
I order my Grande Pike, open my Bible and journal, grab my pen and I spend about an hour reading, reflecting, and planning the day before I head into the office.
I love my Starbucks mornings!
But something about this Starbucks ritual has me really puzzled. There's always a buzz of background noise of coffee grinding, people talking, and music playing at Starbucks and it's never bothered me.
It's not just me. Lots of other people seem not to be bothered by the background noise.
While background noise at Starbucks is easy to ignore, the background noise at home and in the office drives me nuts. When people are talking at home or outside my office I can't read, I can't think, I can't write. Background noise is totally disruptive at home or in the office.
Why is that?
Here's my best guess.
The background conversations at home and in the office are distracting because of their familiarity.
The voices at Starbucks blend into the background and can be tuned out and ignored because they are unknown voices to me. But the voices in the office and at home are not only known to me, but because they belong to people whom I love and care about, as hard as I might try to block out those voices they simply cannot be ignored.
They demand my attention.
If I'm right about this, there are two huge implications of this truth.
First, each of our voices are unique and beloved to God. So while we may only hear an indistinguishable jumble of voices as millions of prayers are lifted up, to God, each voice is indispensable and impossible for him to ignore because our voices are not only familiar to God but because these voices belong to his beloved.
I love that!
Second, for those of us who are part of a local church, familiarity absolutely matters.
Get involved. Engage. Get to know folks. Your engagement is absolutely essential. I don't think there's a single pastor or church who goes out of their way to ignore someone who is hurting. Every church and pastor wants to minister to those in need. That's why we do what we do!
However, no church or pastor can address needs that are unknown to them. We're not God. We're human just like you.
Familiarity absolutely matters.
So, do it. Engage. Get involved.