Holy Habits: Silence and Solitude

Confession: I like to stay busy. I am not someone who likes to sit around and do nothing. I am always either doing something or thinking about the next thing to do. My wife is the same way, so we stay pretty busy in our house.

But being busy is not always a good thing. There are times when we must unplug in order to recharge. There are times when we must create space in our schedules for attention to the deeper dynamics of the soul as we sit in the presence of God. 

A little over a decade ago, our society was introduced to technology that would make our lives easier. E-mail, text messaging, social media, and calendars are all accessible from our phones. But in an effort to make life easier, we may have also created more exhaustion. The 9-5 workday is now extended because of devices that fit in our pockets. I am not against technology, but I believe the use of technology in our world today has exposed a deep spiritual problem — a disconnect from God. If you are feeling disconnected from God, perhaps you should ask yourself, “am I giving God my full attention in solitude and silence?”

In Mark 6:31, Jesus invites his disciples to “come with me by yourselvesto a quiet placeand get some rest.” After being rejected in their hometown, hearing of the death of a close friend and colleague, and witnessing some of the greatest work in ministry that anyone had ever seen, the disciples were exhausted. So Jesus invites them to “come…by yourselves…and get some rest.”

In her book Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation, Ruth Haley Barton explains that when we experience less meaningful human and divine connection, we are emptier relationally, and we try harder and harder to fill that loneliness with even more noise and stimulation. In doing this, we lose touch with the quieter and more subtle experiences of God within. She further explains that solitude is an opportunity to interrupt the cycle by turning off the noise and stimulation of our lives so that we can hear our loneliness and our longing that calls us deeper into the only relationship that can satisfy that longing. How are you carving out time in your schedule to be alone with God?

TRY IT THIS WEEK: Practice entering into solitude regularly until it becomes routine.

  • Turn off the radio while you are driving in the car
  • Go for a walk and leave your phone at home
  • Commit to spending an entire day without turning on the TV

Begin your times of solitude by being quiet and letting your soul come out – rest in God’s presence and give yourself time to allow the ability to rest in God to become the foundation of your times in solitude. You might be surprised at what your soul wants to say to God.

I hope you have a great weekend and I look forward to being with you in worship on Sunday at 8:45 and 11:00!

Together with you,
Matt

P.S. I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported our youth fundraiser dinner last Sunday. We had a wonderful crowd, a delicious dinner, and raised approximately $1,800 for the youth mission trip. Thank you to Kenneth and Stephanie Langston for your leadership, and to all the volunteers who helped make the night a success! Please keep our youth in your prayers as they prepare for their trip. We have about 5-6 youth that you will be going to Jacksonville from June 2-8. I will be on the trip as well, and I am excited about seeing the what God will do through this amazing opportunity.

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