Here in Middle Tennessee we are awash with cicadas right now. For those of you who don't know what cicadas are let me explain. The word "cicada" comes from a latin origin meaning, "disgusting insect that emits excruciatingly loud, incessant noise." These insects burrow out every 13 years for just a few weeks. But boy do they make an impact in just those few weeks! They line the trees, cover the sidewalks, smack into your windshield, and make the seemingly loudest noise non-stop.

Last week we visited my in-laws who live in Nashville. When we got out of the car at their house, the noise was literally deafening. We were practically shouting at each from just a few feet away in order to be heard over the cicadas in the trees.

My father-in-law has suffered some partial hearing loss in recent years. For whatever reason, frequency or pitch, he can not hear the cicadas at all. Even though he is standing beside me having a conversation, all he hears is me. But I can barely hear him over the din of the cicadas.

The experience made me think about hearing from God. I'm always desiring to hear more from God, to recognize when he is speaking to me and discern what he is trying to tell me. But the background "noise" in my life is too much of a distraction.

By noise, I mean the influence of popular culture and norms today. There is so much competing for my attention that it blocks my ability to hear his voice sometimes. Things that shook us to our core, shocked our sensibilities, offended us as followers of Christ-- now so many of those things are cultural norms that we don't "hear" them anymore.

Deep down it's not that we accept them so much, it's that we have just grown complacent. We are letting influences into our minds that are so far from God and his ways and thoughts. And we don't even realize it. Or like my father-in-law and the cicadas, we just don't hear it anymore.

But you can't ignore it anymore than you can ignore the noise from the cicadas.

If we are going to be tuned to what God is speaking into our lives, we have to learn how to tune out the noise from our culture today.  We have so many voices competing for our attention. Which one will we listen to and which ones will we tune out?

Take this challenge with me. Try a one-day "noise fast." For one day, no computer time, no Facebook, no social media, no email, no cell phone (set on vibrate for emergencies,) no phone calls, no texting, no television or radio, and no ipad, ipod, iphones! At our house we call it a technology fast. I typically will do it on a Saturday.

Throughout the day just whisper to God to speak to you, reveal things to you, demonstrate his presence, just to be with you as you go though your day.

See what happens when you can't hear the noise anymore,