The Alarm

Posted on August 6, 2013 | 47 comments

A couple of days ago, I was sitting at a Panera café reading when something interesting occurred.

The alarm of the car on the other side of the glass from me started wildly going off.

Well, that’s not so interesting. Annoying, maybe, because the book was good, but hardly interesting. 

It was the behavior I observed in every other person in the restaurant that was interesting.

Absolute. Utter. Indifference.

No one paid any mind to this alarm. Not when it got louder. Not when all the lights flashed. Not when the sound changed to a new tune.

Most surprising was that the owner, apparently, was equally indifferent. Maybe waiting for the battery to die.

Or maybe s/he had just grown numb to the sound of the alarm.

The reaction to this car alarm is similar to our own reactions to our spiritual life.

We are wired with alarms when things are not right spiritually. When our connection with God is strained. When we are serving our false self, attempting to cover our own shame and creating our own sense of self.

We feel the strain of the false self as anxiety. (see Our Response to Anxiety)

Or anger.

Emotional exhaustion.

Escaping relationship.

Often we treat these alarms as if they were the problem and try to hide them or ignore they are going off.

Like the people at the Panera I was sitting in, we become adept at functioning though the alarm.

Alarms are a sign of a problem. Something is going on to activate the alarm.

Wisdom is not to blame the alarm for going off, but to press into the root of the problem. It is difficult and takes humility…and requires we are dissatisfied with serving the false self.

What are some of the alarms in your life that let you know your spiritual life is not right?

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  1. I think that is such a good analogy. We don’t listen to alarms. We need to listen to our internal feelings instead of pushing them away.

  2. I have been known to ignore warning signs going off within me…and the result of doing so has been disastrous. I think that ignoring the signs – the nudging of the Holy spirit – happen because we don’t want to deal with the “problem” or we don’t want to take responsibility for actions or even admit them. It is easier to simply pretend everything is fine. But, ignoring the warnings won’t make the trouble go away. I discovered (almost too late!) that when I faced up to what was happening and then turned to God for help, I found the answers…and the alarm stopped blaring.

    • Very true. Just like any warning sign – like high blood pressure – ignore it too long at your own peril. You can try to cover it up, but the behaviors leading to the blood pressure problem will continue on. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I just found you from the Wisdom Wednesday Link (Which I also just found) Fantastic post! Our world has so many physical alarms going off we ignore those so why not ignore the ones that God has put in place? It is a very bad idea to ignore God!

    • Thanks for checking out my site. Hope to see you back!

  4. We get so used to those signs turning out to be nothing that we’ve stopped checking to make sure there’s nothing more going on.

    • True, and our disconnection from the Source of life grows. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Stopping in from SDG Thank you for your good and thoughtful words! Blessings on your day!

  6. I think so often we try to treat symptoms of the problem without finding the root. This alarm story makes me think there is a whole other level I have not yet entertained.

    • You are so right, the symptoms distract us from what is going on underneath, at the core of our being. Thanks for reading!

  7. Hi Perkster! I am here from SDG.

    I think I am one of those people who ignores the alarm too. Sheesh. This is a good reminder that maybe God is calling and I just tune him out. Indifference is just such a sad state to be in, so off I’ll go into the rest of my day, paying more attention now.

    So nice to meet you!

    • Nice to meet you too. Thanks Ceil.

  8. Very good analogy. I know that I spend too much time on my cell phone, and I often sense that I shouldn’t be but I ignore that warning for selfish reasons. It has become an idol in my life.

    P.s. I can’t see this comment box very well, so if I misspelled anything, that’s why. The font is a white-gray color. Just fyi.

    • I’ll check out the font. Thanks. Glad you stopped by and commented.

  9. So far I haven’t become immune to sounds like you describe – I’m sound sensitive – so is one of my sons:) – but I totally get this: We feel the strain of the false self as anxiety
    Or anger.
    Emotional exhaustion.
    Escaping relationship.

    When all the boys and all the murphy’s law comes at me at once I have need Him – that’s the only way I can handle it – and I go to Him:) One day, I might have learned enough to escape that snow-ball effect:)

  10. There is a car alarm that goes off often in the middle of the night around here. It is right outside my bedroom window. I always wake up and get so irritated. I am irritated because it wakes me up. I think that any alarm that wakes us up from a slumbering spirit is working taking seriously! My alarm was emotional pain and it took months to dig up those roots but it was worth it and so freeing in the end! Blessings to you, Scott! Rachael

  11. Wow! This is soooo true! I think we are so used to trying to fix everything ourselves that we prefer not to look at the things we are totally helpless to change. We only need to acknowledge the spiritual alarms in our lives and allow our Lord Jesus to safe us for we truly cannot and allowing Him to do so hurts a lot!
    Blessings XX

    • Self sanctification is tough to break free of, it requires us to be vulnerable and surrendered.

  12. And we wonder why we get so stressed out so easily because we/ I do not listen to the alarm inside us. I/we rather entertain noice in our life than trying to find why the alarm went off. ^_^ Great post love it!

    Thank you for joining Water World Wednesday

  13. I think there are times that I have ignored the alarm for so long, I know longer hear it. Excellent post! Thank you for hopping on board The Great Blog Train! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    • Thanks for coming over. Becoming sensitive to our alarms is the reason for the importance of solitude and silence. Something I have to keep reminding myself of.

  14. Truth! It’s so easy to simply ignore the alarms – whether audible or spiritual. But so dangerous. What will it take to TRULY get our attention??

    Found you at the Thrive@Home linkup!

  15. wow great post. Why do we ignore the alarms? Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop xo

  16. I can so identify…I have had so many devotion inspirations while sitting at Panera : )
    And I’ve also noticed that car alarms often go unnoticed. Great analogy. There are so many layers that apply to our lives in Christ.

  17. Really good point. We’ve all grown indifferent to alarms…and it is indicative of what is going on in our everyday lives as well. This was a good reminder to pay more attention…I’m pretty good at paying attention to warning signs with my family, but I ignore my own. Not good. Visiting from the Bloody Marys count as salad blog hop! Following you on Facebook now.

    • Thanks for following! I’ll check out your site as well. God bless.

  18. Amazing!! I love Panera Bread. I also loved your analogy of alarms. I am linked up just after you over at Heart +home Link Up.

  19. so true. We are have become wired to ignor and work through alarms – all kinds of alarms, spiritually, emotionally, as well as physically. More often than not do we find our body’s hurting, but we push through it. More often than not, our spiritual alarm is going off, but we work through it, trying to fill the empty void with everything except God.

    Great post, great analogy.


    PS: visiting from Faith Filled Friday. Will continue to explore your blog a little more now 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment, I hope you liked what you saw and will come back more. God bless.

  20. If we continually quench the Spirit, we will no longer hear His still, small voice. May we be attuned to that voice and not wait for the clamoring of loud alarms to get our attention. Thanks for the great post & God bless

  21. Such a good analogy! I am guilty of feeling too busy to address that ‘alarming’ feeling that can build up. Thanks for provoking my thoughts today.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting.

  22. Another great post

  23. Thank you for linking up with my blog on Friday!

  24. You are absolutely right. Our society is becoming numb to so much. It’s really disturbing.

  25. Great food for thought.

  26. This is a great analogy! Alarms are so often ignored in people’s lives even when they repeatedly go off. Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.

  27. I think that commenter #1 is right on: the inner alarm is what matters most. and i think this is what is the problem: our outer-world has created so many false alarms, from the need of deodorant spray to… you name it, our bombardment with ‘alarming’ advertisement is making us immune. our ‘news’ on TV is equally biased to drama that we can barely influence, so we become immune to that as well. the only thing that binds us to the divine is that inner alarm. that heart centered feeling of well-being, danger or discontent. it is in fact the ONLY alarm to listen to. Car alarms do go off most frequently unnecesarily, but when that inner alarm goes off, we better listen and attend to the problem right away. And I’d say that that relates to both spiritual as well as earthen issues.

  28. Great thought! I will think about my own alarms. Before I read your application of the experience, it made me think about the lost world we’re living in. That alarms are screaming, “Trust Jesus now, while you can” but, we are swimming in a sea of indifference, even hostility, to the truth. Thanks for linking up at Thrilling Thursday!

    • Many are not ready for the truth because where they are searching for wholeness feels like it is working. People often can’t see the slavery that they live in.

  29. Hi Scott,

    I think spiritual alarms are so important, A part of my prayer life is to be aware of my Lord’s guidance.

    Thanks for linking up

  30. Thanks for joining the Tattler Thursday Blog Hop last week! This week’s hop is live now…hope you’ll join us again!

    -Cristyl @ CHill Thoughts

  31. Awesome post and so very true! Thank you for linking up last week with our Friendly Friday post. I hope you will come back by. I am a new follower on FB.

    This post is one I am going to share on my FB page too. We really do need to pay more attention to our spiritual alarms!

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