It’s pretty quiet around my house this week. I am not used to living alone, so I normally have music going or the TV on. I don’t mind being by myself, but I guess there’s something about stillness that makes me uneasy.
Yet, God calls us to stillness. Not just silence, but pausing and being still before Him. That’s how we know God and know He is good, that He has us under his wing.
Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Henri Nouwen said, “In solitude, I get rid of the scaffolding; no friend to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me- naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken- nothing. It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothing so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something… Solitude is not simply a means to an end. Solitude is its own end. It is the place where Christ remodels us in his own image and frees us from the victimizing compulsions of the world. Solitude is the place of our salvation”.
Last night I turned everything off and tried to listen, to process and reflect. It takes practice! My mind would wander off to my to-do list, to things I wanted to do before I went to bed and the next day and next week. People I hadn’t thought of and wanted to write to, or situations needing attention. I tried to pull my mind back to pray for these things and to focus on God and what He might want to speak to me through those people and situations. It takes discipline, but I think it is vitally important to practice solitude, to pause. We have filled our lives with so many wonderful things, but we get so busy that we miss out on the peace that God wants to give us. I think we put so much on ourselves that we aren’t even able to do those things well, and are probably hurting ourselves in the long run. How are we using our time? How can we take more intentional time for solitude?