Pipe Down


[For the months of November and December, I will be posting once a week on Tuesdays.]

I didn’t post anything last week because I decided that I wouldn’t speak up until I quieted down.

I started a new job last week. It’s a good opportunity to take on expanded responsibilities working with a larger team. It’s a nice change, but I’ll be working some additional hours. And I know that every additional hour I give to my occupational endeavors will have to be subtracted from something else. So I had to do some reassessing in order to make sure I was giving priority to my primary relationships.

When things get busy, my heart sometimes gets noisy and my spirit often becomes restless.

I read that in days of old when a ship’s captain wanted to clear the decks of his crew’s commotion, he would have the boatswain take his whistle and “pipe them down” into the hull.

My thoughts are like crew members aboard the vessel of my spirit, and they tend to make a lot of racket. Sometimes, they’re occupied with tasks that are necessary in running a tight ship. But those necessary occupations can quickly become preoccupations. Before I know it, the crew’s busyness builds into a noisy distraction, and I have to send the disturbance below deck.

I have to pipe down, so that I can wake up to the Presence of God.

On occasion my crew gets into the rum of anxiety and becomes disorderly and unruly. Draining the rum barrel, these shipmates suffer fearful hallucinations rendering them incapable of performing their duties or even listening to reason. There’s nothing left to do but clear the decks.

I’ve got to pipe down, so that I can listen up for the sound of God’s voice.

The breath of the Spirit is the wind that fills our sails, and the movement of the Spirit is the current that carries our vessels along. But the Spirit not only breathes and moves, He speaks—softly, quietly, in a whisper. And if we are to hear Him, we have to be still. We have to be quiet. We have to pipe down.

So, for the next couple of months, I plan to speak less and listen more. Because it’s only by listening that I have anything worthwhile to say.

12 thoughts on “Pipe Down

  1. Thanks for the reminder that “it’s only by listening that I have anything worthwhile to say.” This is SO true and I often forget to listen!
    I am thankful for your new job and am excited to continue to learn from you as you continue this new adventure! 🙂

    • It sure is easy to forget to listen. Cultivating a quiet, attentive, expectant spiritual disposition is a new practice for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your excitement, KB! And thanks for reminding me that life is adventure:-)

  2. Congratulations on your new job — I know you’ll succeed!
    And thank you for the reminder to pipe down! such a good word picture.
    I missed your blogs, so it was great to see this one show up in my inbox today!

  3. A new job, yay! I missed your blogs last week. I hope you have a smooth transition with your new job. I love your analogy about my thoughts. Mine tend to make a huge racket, they steer me in crazy, anxious directions, more often than not. I need to learn to be more still to pipe them down sooner so I can listen to the Spirit.

    Great post, Dave!

    • Thank you so much, Jeanne, for welcoming me back and for sharing your comments. It is such a privilege and benefit to walk and talk truth in COMMUNITY. It’s so great that we’re not alone. Let’s keep encouraging other to quiet down and listen up 🙂

  4. “The breath of the Spirit is the wind that fills our sails, and the movement of the Spirit is the current that carries our vessels along” Love this, Dave. I also appreciate learning the genesis of the terms “pipe down” and “clear the deck.” As I did when I heard how it could really rain cats and dogs if your animals were on your thatch roof and it got soaked to the point that the animals fell off.

    Congrats on your new job – may you be blessed while blessing others there.

    • Shel, I appreciate your response. Thank you for 1) sharing something that spoke to you 2) extending your congratulations 3) offering a prayer of blessing and 4) EXPLAINING WHERE “RAINING CATS AND DOGS” CAME FROM!!! I’ve heard and used that phrase so many times without a clue as to its origin. I feel enriched 🙂

  5. Yes, I totally relate. My mind stars swirling and then I start shouting out commands to those around me. I have to try very hard to assess my thoughts and keep them calm. Sometimes it is easy, and sometimes it is like controlling wild horses and takes so much effort. Best to just keep my mouth shut then. Thanks for your thoughts!

  6. I have so often felt this way, Dave, “I didn’t post anything last week because I decided that I wouldn’t speak up until I quieted down.” I get in trouble when I ignore it.

    I’m happy for your new job even though I’ll miss your frequent posts. I don’t always comment, but I always read. Back to quieting down, though … I write and live and think best when I do just that. I like to think of it as acting instead of reacting, especially since my reactionary self isn’t a pretty sight. I need this reminder daily.

    • Kim, thanks so much for reading. It’s great to know you’re out there:-) I agree with you about the difference between acting and reacting. My reactionary self has nothing worthwhile to communicate.
      By the way. I miss posting, too. I’m sure you know what I mean when I say that it does me good to string thoughts and words together.

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