Going Off Script
In 2011, my friend Doug Roberts told me to stop reading books. Just like that, bold as a blizzard. So, I was surprised at how quickly my heart agreed. I quit, and I didn’t know (or care) if I ever read another book. Over time, I saw clarification about how, what, and why I should read. Today, I read again, but carefully.
Doug didn’t know it, but the real issue behind his message was my consumption of words. I had allowed my heart’s receiver to pull in words—from books, yes, but also from music, movies, news, sermons, blogs, talk radio, etc.—written or spoken by those who did not know me or my God.
Made me sick. I had to clear the clutter in order to receive The Voice. Mother Teresa gave quick and strong support: “God is the Friend of silence . . . He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grow in silence. See the stars, the moon and sun move in silence.”
The Power of Scripts
OK, let’s dig deeper to see how all that appeared in real life.
Although Joanne and I have been (and remain) blessed with a happy and full marriage, a couple years ago, as COVID raged, our patience with and grace toward each other began to fade. Although we loved each other, we slowly drifted to our own spaces at opposite ends of our house. Sometimes we even snapped at each other.
Sensitive soul that I am, I didn’t even notice. Then one day, I suddenly realized we had become two different people. No, that’s not accurate; we were playing two different people. Something kept handing us scripts, which we (mostly I) dutifully read.
Our scripts came through the Zeitgeist, “the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era,” the “Spirit of the age,” what the Bible calls, “the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air.” That insurgent realm fights the God Who is God and the atmosphere of righteousness, peace, and joy that surrounds Him.
So, the “Prince of the Air” furiously writes and delivers scripts of anger, resentment, conflict, lust, distrust, and division. And the whole world system—banking, law, education, politics, journalism, entertainment, advertising, religion, etc.—receives and reads them. I wonder if that’s why the Bible says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs [My version: don’t read the damned scripts!] of this world…”
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus said He only did what His Father did and only spoke what His Father spoke? That must mean His heart’s receiver was only tuned to the Father. Seriously? Could that model a better way of life for us? I think that would mean going off script, listening for God’s voice, and living life straight ahead.
Think of it; no waiting for the Spirit of the Age to tell you who to hate or “like,” who to follow, or what to buy. And that might also help us see the “experts” in a new light; they have no love or wisdom for us, and no authority over us. Good grief, they don’t even know who you are. Walk around them and don’t look back.
But how can we just go off script?
Short version: Seek to dwell in the House of God—that serene, thoroughly clean, unassailable, and happy Residence (His home is infinitely larger than any of earth’s “holy places”).
David described (and Eugene Peterson translated) that place: “I’m asking GOD for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.”
P.S. Joanne and I are just fine now!
 Mother Teresa, A Gift for God, Prayers and Meditations (New York: Harper & Row, 1975)
 “Zeitgeist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zeitgeist.
 Ephesians 2:2 taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION (NKJV): Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION®. Copyright© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Romans 12:2 taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW LIVING TRANSLATION, Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
 Psalm 27:4-5 taken from The Message, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.