I Liked It Better When My Car Had Sound: The Spiritual Danger in Avoiding Silence

“We’re all battling fear

Oh dear, I don’t know if we know why we’re here

Oh my,

Too deep

Please stop thinking

I liked it better when my car had sound”[1]

I am proudly part of a campus ministry called Chi Alpha (XA) that looks to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to all college students. At the beginning of each October, we have a “Fall Advance” where we enjoy a weekend spending time with each other, hearing sermons, and ultimately growing closer to our God.

This year, as always, it was an awesome and Christ-filled weekend, as we were blessed with amazing speakers and great leadership. But, looking back on the past few days, the biggest impact hasn’t come from a specific sermon, or even from one of the many worship sessions.

Instead, the largest impact has come from a lip-syncing battle.

On Saturday night, WVU’s Chi Alpha hosted a lip-syncing contest to anyone who was willing to embarrass themselves, and the contestants selected songs that ranged from Lil Jon’s “Snap Yo Fingers” to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan (we attempted “Fergalicious” but it didn’t receive the best response).

But the standout song of the night featured three awesome contestants who performed “Car Radio” by Twenty One Pilots. The show itself was good (and literally turned into a concert), but the song completely blew me away.

The lyrics are deep and very Christian-based for a ‘secular’[2] song, and portrays a message of trusting God in our thinking. Twenty One Pilots tells the story of someone whose radio has been stolen out of their car, and they are now forced to face their thoughts when driving—dark, raw thoughts that they normally hide behind music. The moral of the song is that we like to hide what we are thinking and feeling, and mask them with whatever distractions we can find.

The moral of the song is that we are terrified of silence.

Avoiding Silence

The danger in fearing silence is that it leads us to do everything we can to avoid it. Why?

  • Because we’re scared to know who we actually are.
  • Because we know how negative our thoughts are and how they make us feel.
  • Because we know that our thoughts are often too strong for us to handle.

And so we long for distractions (like car radios) to help us avoid silence so we never have to face these thoughts.

This isn’t just mentally dangerous—it’s spiritually dangerous.

One line of the song reads:

“There’s faith, and there’s sleep. We need to pick one please; because faith is to be awake, and to be awake is for us to think.”

This line hits me deep because I have become really good at “sleeping away my problems.” When I’m overwhelmed and tortured by thoughts, I like to nap. Essentially, I don’t want to face my thoughts, so I force myself to sleep and it distracts me from having to deal with whatever’s going on in my head.

This is so dangerous because it doesn’t just give Satan a foothold—it gives him an entire leg. Satan turns into a child being dragged by his parent…and you’re the parent!

When we choose distractions over facing our thoughts, we are fundamentally choosing distractions over God.

As the song says, we either choose faith or we choose sleep:

  • Sleep is saying, “Screw my thoughts; I’m not dealing with them right now.”
  • Faith is saying, “Screw my thoughts; God, please deal with them right now.”

And faith is sitting in silence and accepting your thoughts, trusting that God will work through them and reveal Himself through them.

To get a bigger picture of the spiritual danger in avoiding silence, I want to look at New York City. New York is responsible for producing hundreds of gangs—many of which include teenage gangs—that are involved often in fights, murder, and rape. Why? Most people will say because they are “evil” or “bored.”

But it goes much deeper than that.

I’m willing to say that 100% of members in these gangs do not know true love. They grew up without experiencing love in any way, and so they turn to whatever they can to find this love. They find any distraction that will fill them.

  • They turn to violence because they want a rush—which, in their minds, will hopefully fill sadness and depression that has never been dealt with properly.
  • They turn to sex with whomever to fill a void of extreme loneliness.
  • They turn to marijuana (which becomes a gateway drug to an even more serious addiction) to find feelings. They are numb, and they crave anything that will make them feel.

At the core of every single gang member is a desperate craving for love—which is ultimately a lack of Heavenly love that no one and nothing on earth can fill. [3]

Gang members—and, more specifically, every human being—are craving a distraction. We are longing for holes deep inside of us to be filled. The only problem is that most of the time, we’re too scared to face that fact. We are too scared to face silence and deal with the deep roots that are only growing stronger.

So for now, I continue to blast my car radio.

Because I’m not ready to deal with the terrifying thoughts inside my head.


[1] From: The song “Car Radio” by Twenty One Pilots

[2] I don’t believe in ‘secular music’—music does not have a soul; it cannot be saved.

[3] From: “The Cross and the Switchblade” from David Wilkerson.

Image from “Clockwork Orange”

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