I love that I have a full life.
I have my family, my church, my small business, my blog, my friends. I am truly blessed and busy. I love that I have a community to be a part of.
But sometimes I feel that I have lost the art of being in solitude. Oh I read my Bible and pray every day. However, I think the beauty of simply being silent and quiet before God is lost. I find myself going to social media or calling my husband when I’m feeling low or when the stress of the day is overwhelming. It’s almost as if I am trying to fill the emptiness with the beautiful images on Instagram or by entering into someone else’s world for a bit. Sound familiar?
Somewhere along the way we all have lost the art of being alone with God, of being quiet in His presence, of seeking His face and not everyone else’s.
Last week God literally dropped the opportunity of being alone with Him into my lap. I was admitted into the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for a night (a story for another day!) and I found myself all alone with the beeping machines. And God. I couldn’t look at my phone because of a bad headache, and honestly, after a while I did not know what to do with myself. Sleep was hard to come by and I wanted to avoid dwelling on all my health issues.
I remember asking myself, why is this so hard for me? To be alone? Have I lost the art of silence? Of quiet? Of hearing His voice above all the noise that usually surrounds me? And the answer scared me.
So I just asked Him, Lord, You have given me this time. What do you want me to do with it? How do you want me to spend this night?
His answer came to me loud and clear.
Rest. Rest in Me.
I did not have my Bible with me. But God brought to my memory so many scriptures that I knew by heart. Psalm 91 was such a comfort.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
In my solitude, the Lord met me. He opened my eyes to His goodness, His protection, His presence.
God is so patient with us. He doesn’t force us to have such moments with Him. Instead, He gives us opportunities of solitude and gently invites us to spend it with Him. He says, Put your phone down and look at this life I have given you. These kids I have blessed you with. This husband I have given you. Come to me and rest. Let me be the One to guide and direct you. Let me be the one to advice you about that problem at work. Let me show you how you can restore your marriage. I am right here, waiting for you to draw near to me. Come and find your rest in Me. I am your healer, your preserver, your help in troubled times. Give me your burdens and rest awhile.
Getting away from time-to-time has always been a human necessity, but it has become ever so difficult in today’s world. Things today are louder, noisier, and more distracting than ever before. And this has only increased the value of silence and solitude. Perhaps you are in a season when you feel like you can barely hear yourself think. Perhaps you live alone and bingeing on Netflix is what gets you through the lonely nights. Or, you have little kids at home, and the days and nights have blurred together. Maybe you are a student at university, and the stress of juggling studies and friends leaves you exhausted. Even when you are reading your Bible, your mind is going a million miles an hour and you find it difficult to focus. Regardless of how why and how life seems “loud” to you, I know you long for a second to press the pause button.
Here’s the good news, friend: God knows what you’re going through.
He knew I needed a minute to stop and listen to Him. He needed to get my attention. In the ICU, He had it! I’m sure God is bringing such instances into your life to get your attention too. The question is, are you listening?
Moreover, Jesus left us an example. He Himself practiced solitude to spend time alone with His Father. Solitude does not mean just getting away by yourself, it means getting away to be with Him. You could take a walk, wake up early before your kids, stay up late after they sleep, go away for a weekend, or find a quiet corner at a coffee shop. Even if you are unable to find bigger chunks of quiet times, you can recognize “little solitudes” throughout your day. These moments can occur while your kids nap, or when you’re sipping your morning coffee, or while you fold laundry, or while you’re on your way to work. No matter when they occur, we must recognize these moments as opportunities to reset and reorient our minds on Christ. These moments, that otherwise may seem mundane, in reality are not. They are holy moments. Holy because we are allowing God to minister to our hearts. To speak to our souls. He uses these seasons and moments to make us sensitive to His voice amidst all the chaos. To prepare us for the future, for the challenges ahead. He pursues us because He wants our whole heart. Because He wants to make us holy.
So, the next time God brings us an opportunity, let us choose to take that time to stop and be silent. To allow Him to speak to us. He does that through so many ways- through the Bible, through a verse we’ve memorized, through nature, and even through other people. So next time, let us grab hold of these moments, instead of hopping on Instagram or checking our email!
“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8
May we count everything else as loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Him.
May we learn to be quiet in His presence.
May we learn to let Him speak to us.
May we learn to hear Him.
May we learn to ask Him first.
May we learn to worship only Him.
May we find deep satisfaction in simply being His.
“Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15