Yesterday, as Dave and I were being interviewed for a podcast by our friends who run SubstanceTV, we were each asked to name the practice we incorporate into our daily life that helps us stay the most in-tune and focused on our mission. Immediately I knew my answer: being robust to the noise.
There are a lot of daily practices I have that need some reworking. My intentions to workout at least three times a week are sometimes compromised. At least a couple days a week I’ll get going on emailing and work once the kids are gone to school and it’ll be 2pm before I realize that I haven’t eaten a single thing and I am needing to pick up kids from school in 45 minutes, ugh! Grace on those areas where I want to be more intentional and create better routines. But, I can celebrate the fact that most days this other thing I do well…being robust to the noise.
Our dear friend, Matt Toth, who runs REVEL, introduced us to that term a few years ago and we loved it! In fact, Dave and I even recorded a podcast entitled Robust to the Noise. The second we wake up, the world comes at us hard with its demands. It’s relentless and the noise is everywhere: social media, emails, phone calls, media, advertising, family, friends, coworkers, and then there’s the loudest instigator, our own minds (which we can’t escape). Research has shown that our inner dialogue with ourselves clocks in at around 4,000 words per minute, which is almost unfathomable! We are all well acquainted with the endless chatter of own minds and if we’re brutally honest, our inner dialogue is usually skewed towards the negative. I think that’s why Paul put such an emphasis on importance of renewing our minds in the book of Romans.
Thank God we don’t have to succumb to the endless flow of noise streaming into our bodies and brains. With intentionality, we can learn how to position ourselves and posture our ears and minds to realign their focus on Truth. We must learn to cultivate practices that help us stay robust to the noise and while there are a lot of ways to do that, one of my favorites is visually keeping Truth in front of me each day.
Back in our home in Colorado I used our basement as sort of headquarters for Truth. The walls were our blank canvas and our family was encouraged to paint, draw, and collage Truth on its surfaces. I have a thing with tearing words and images out of magazines (maybe it’s because I grew up in the ‘90s when collaging was ‘a thing’). In our basement I collaged an entire wall with images, quotes, and words from magazines–reminders of the Bigger Story, of Truth, of my True Identity, and of Hopes for the Future. We used our chalkboard wall off our family room to display Dave’s typography of encouraging sayings that spoke hope and life into our family’s season. Using an Expo marker, we wrote Scripture on the large mirror in our entryway to keep our eyes focused on what was most true. Our fridge was plastered with quotes, sayings, pictures of people we dearly loved, and birth announcements of miracle babies (some of which were already three-years-old).
Although art is subjective, its presence in our homes can be powerful. Most of the artwork in our home was created by people we know and has deep sentimental meaning and personal association. The large commission of Alice In Wonderland by Patrick Maxcy in our dining room reminded us to keep going and continue dreaming the impossible. The Red Riding Hood original by Danny Brito that I bought at a benefit art show spoke to me of my strength. With darkness and the wolf looming in the background, she stands with scraped elbows still holding her basket, a reminder that what the enemy tried to steal and destroy was protected. In the same way, although I carry scars, I am not destroyed and somehow the pain of my past was turned to strength. The replica of the Excalibur sword that hung above the stairwell was a visual reminder of Dave’s strength and valor–how he fought for our family and battled for my heart when it mattered most. And don’t forget body art! I am terrified of needles but somehow I currently have four tattoos. I got my first tattoo at the age of 27 and each one has profound personal meaning–daily visual reminders of Truth, strength, beauty, hope, love, and redemption.
In this year of transition I have missed those constants in front of me and I look forward to settling into our new home here where I can resurrect those practices and hang those pieces of art. But in the meantime, I have kept two of my reminders close by side, my Vision Board and my Promise Board. These are two simple pieces I strongly encourage you to create!
For the last five years I’ve been collaging a Vision Board each year. I’ll find a cheap wood board or canvas from a craft store and then I’ll go through magazines (yay) looking for visual representations of who I am, what God is currently doing in my heart, and dreams I have (things I want to do, see, accomplish). I’ll also keep an eye out for words or images of what I want this particular year to be about. I’ll collage it all together using Modge Podge and then I hang the Vision Board in place I am bound to look everyday so that I keep those visuals right in front of me. This is also a fun thing to do as a group and I’ve held several Vision-Boarding Parties. Gather a group of women, a stack of a magazines, and a bottle of wine and then chat, commune, and dream over a night of creating together!
Our Promise Board is simply a cork board with words of promises and Truth. Over the years we’ve written down Scripture and words of encouragement people have given to us and they get pinned up here. We have some magazine cutouts on there too (of course)! Pay attention to things that have been reoccurring in your life and find representations or pictures for your Promise Board. We have a few things that we always seem to be encountering: bees, keys, and the number 11. Sure it could be coincidence, but there’s a gut feeling that it’s something more, and so we just keep asking the Spirit, What does this mean in our lives? He’s given us some revelation on a few of them and there are other things we’re still holding onto and waiting for understanding. Always listen to what people speak to you (as long as it's edifying and filled with hope and love). We had three random people (two people we had never met before) call us Pioneers within a few-day period. It seemed significant and confirmation usually occurs in patterns of three so we’ve held onto that word and have even started to call ourselves Pioneers. God is always speaking to us–through His Word, through nature, through media, and through others. Our job is to recognize the Voice in whatever way it comes and keep that Truth in front of us! Our Promise Board hangs in our bedroom above my desk – I look at it everyday, often while uttering, Yes & Amen. I align myself with His character, His goodness, and the reminder that He is always my hope.
For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!" And through Christ, our "Amen" (which means "Yes") ascends to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT)
What do you need to do to start being robust to the noise in your life? I release over you the Truth that you are powerful, strong, and free. You stand on stable ground and the more you keep your eyes focused on Truth and Hope the less shaken you’ll be with the endless noise that comes at you each day. May you feel empowered to be robust to the noise.
Feel free to comment below and share what you do to stay robust to the noise in your life!
Morgan is a storyteller at heart. After running an NGO in Uganda for 7 years, she and her husband, Dave, currently record a weekly podcast called Chasing Unicorns, produce and host The FIND series, run the CB Ideas design agency, and mange Yes& Collective. Morgan also co-authored the newly released children’s book, The Girl Chronicles: A Story of Good. She’s a mom to two middle schoolers, Asher & Jadyn, and so when she’s not driving them around, she fills herself up with yoga, reading, air-popped popcorn, and all things coconut flavored. IG: @MorganHansow & @HansowFamily www.HansowFamily.com