by Emily Conrad

When my husband complained that my sandal was squeaking as I walked, I called him crazy.

“It’s a pffft, pffft, pffft every time you step,” he said. “You don’t hear that?”

“No.” I paced in circles around him, straining to hear. I heard the sandals hit my heel, I heard my clothes rustle. Nothing unusual. “You’re hearing me walk, that’s all.”

“Give me your right shoe.” Adam held out his hand, and I plopped the sandal into it, one hundred percent confident he would find no fault in it.

He pressed his thumbs into the bed of the sandal where my heel falls, and air hissed out.

Air! Audible air! Out of my trusted traitorous sandal! 

Later that night we walked through the grocery store, and he heard it again. “You really can’t hear that? It’s echoing off of those boxes.”

He went ahead to get what we’d come for while I paced by the boxes. Still nothing. If I could just hear it once, I thought, then I’d learn to pick out the noise. I’d start to recognize it. But my pacing was to no avail. I still can’t hear it.

Adam, however, is an automotive technician. He makes a living off detecting noises and isolating their location and cause so he can fix them.

Thankfully, I can live without discerning the subtle noise of my sole. I don’t need to hear it, and I don’t need to fix it.

But what about the subtle noise of my soul?

As I move through life, I experience distraction, uneasiness, dissatisfaction, loneliness, guilt.

Jesus, walking next to me, says, “Can’t you hear that? That’s the noise of needing me.”

“But, Jesus, I already have you. We spent time together this morning, remember? What you hear is just the sound of moving through life. Just part of walking in a modern world.”

“No, listen,” he says. “Can’t you hear it echoing?”

A few weeks ago, I read a post by Betsy St Amant Haddox on in which she talked about how only one thing can fulfill us: Jesus. At a breakthrough point in her struggle against trying to find fulfillment elsewhere, she determined to meet the need she heard in her emotions by going home and spending time with Jesus in prayer and reading her Bible.

At night.

That shouldn’t have struck me, but it did because I read my Bible in the morning. Why had I let that habit dull my hearing to my need for Jesus at other times of day?

I was also struck by her desire to so purposefully go home and spend time with Him. Because even when I notice a need, I’ll likely try quieting that noise with people or things instead of with Jesus. Yet only Jesus can quiet a soul.

And so, her example was like finally hearing a noise so I could recognize it moving forward; I had new ears to hear my own neediness.

Sure enough. My need started to echo back at me, audible when I considered my aimless social media scrolling, my habit of constantly checking email, the way I long for attention and connection.

Like when my husband pressed on my sandal, I was forced to admit Jesus was right; something was hissing. Unlike the sandal, this must be fixed.

On a night when I’d planned to read or write, I heard the noise and changed my plans. I spent time in my Bible instead, and came away with a much quieter, settled soul.

This isn’t once-and-done. We must always keep our ears open to hear the sound of our soul’s need, but the better trained we are to hear disquieting emotions and recognize them as our soul’s plea for time with Jesus, the faster we’ll set aside everything else and run to Him.

When we do that, it’s like handing our car over to a master mechanic; we entrust what we could never fix on our own to the one who can hear the noise, determine exactly where it’s coming from, and is willing and able to fix it.

“Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.”
Isaiah 55:3, ESV

We must always keep our ears open to hear the sound of our soul’s need – via @emilyrconrad