Practicing Solitude

I’ve posted for several days now on the spiritual practices of silence and solitude…and we are coming soon to an end. The danger, of course, with any Biblical teaching is that it remains in our head as a cherished belief and not actually practiced in our lives.  Thinking about solitude is not the same as closing the door behind you and being alone. While you may acknowledge by now that the practice of silence and solitude offers a rich and meaningful way of connecting with Christ, know that it will take time and practice to learn to calm your chattering and anxious mind to commune with God on a beyond-words level.  It will take time for our souls to feel safe enough in order to make an appearing. It will take time to train ourselves to not require that “something happen” and to give up our need to control the situation. 

As with all the spiritual practices it is fundamentally important, as well, to acknowledge that the disciplines are not about earning or gaining favor with God.  Rather than be motivated by guilt and obligation, we are compelled to seek out ways that are congruent with our deepest desires for God.

We must come to understand that the spiritual disciplines are indispensable to a life of faith but only to the degree that they allow us to “keep company with Jesus.”  Often it is through a spiritual discipline we create the conditions that keep our hearts open and available to God which allows him to do what only he can do in our lives. They nourish the spiritual life not because of what they require of us but by what they reveal to us.

Be patient with yourself.  Remember, it’s not about trying harder; it’s about training your heart to “keep company with Jesus.”  For some actual “how-to” ideas to get your started on your own journey of incorporating these daily rhythms in your life, go to my earlier post “The Surprising Rewards of Silence” by Tim Stafford.

“You who seek God, may your hearts live!” psalm 69:32

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