I received a surprising text message from someone I don’t know attacking my character the other morning. It was rude, unprofessional, and unchristian. I wasn’t hurt by it but I did think about it all day (so maybe I was a little hurt).

It arrived early and all day I stewed. I thought of clever responses. I thought of hostile responses. I wrote and deleted responses a thousand times. I kept those words on replay, sometimes talking about them with God but mostly with myself and my close circle of friends.

All day long I talked and thought about this message but late in the day, I found a few quiet moments with God and he placed a moment on my heart that had nothing to do with that message. Around lunch, I was in the school cafeteria. I was assisting kids when one of my special needs students grabbed me unexpectedly with a hug and told me he loved me. This kid who seldom talks. The same one who had never gotten very close to me at all did something remarkable and I was so caught up in the hateful words of someone I only knew of to appreciate it. Hours elapsed before the impact of that special moment settled on my heart. My frustrations had to grow quiet before God could get my attention.

Why do we focus more on the hate than we do the holy? Is it because it speaks louder and grabs our attention more? Is it because we’re more familiar with heartache and have no problem sitting in our pain? Why do we allow the God moments to pass by so quickly, sometimes refusing to see them, when they’re happening? I think it’s because we live in loudness. And whether we want to admit it or not, we know the chaos better. It’s familiar. It’s our uncomfortable comfort zone. Getting quiet with God allows him to have control of our life and giving up control is scary.

I have no problem talking to God. In fact, I’m so good at talking to him that I talk over him. Sometimes I do all the talking. I need to get better at being in the stillness.

If you’re spending too much time focusing on the ill intent of someone else, I invite you to delete it, shake it off, and start looking for the graceful voice of our Father. Quiet your life. Quiet your soul and listen to God. He’s always here, just waiting for us to get quiet enough to hear his truth.