Spiritual Disciplines // SILENCE & SOLITUDE
We are never really alone. In a spiritual sense, this is true; God promises that he will “never leave us nor forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5). In a practical sense this is true as well. Upon waking up, many grab their smartphones as a steady companion for a quick cup of coffee or breakfast. Scrolling through social media or news we are accompanied by newscasters, or “friends” as we get ready for the day. Jumping in the shower we are accompanied by Coldplay, or Bethel, or Lynyrd Skynyrd, or Newsboys as we wash the sleepiness away. Podcasts or Audible play through our car speakers as we try to be efficient with our time. Coworkers and text messages accompany us throughout our day until we return home and snuggle up to Netflix or Hulu before going to bed and starting over.
Even when we are alone we are never really alone.
It requires a lot to practice the type of faithfulness and grit required to follow Jesus. Where do we garner strength for the mundane and difficult? A quick look at the life of Jesus we observe one of the great sources of strength for the Christian.
15 But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.Luke 5:15–16 (NLT)
The more that Jesus was faithful to His mission, to heal the sick, to cast out demons, to preach the Good News the more he was sought out. People were coming from all over the region to catch a glimpse of Jesus. It was excruciating work to walk out this calling, yet we see Jesus “often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Before Jesus would walk out His most difficult task, the cross, he withdrew to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.
Is it possible that the noise of this world, the constant stimulation distracts us from experiencing more of the Lord’s presence? Is it possible that our constant stream of information stifles our ability to receive strength and wisdom from God? It’s difficult to be in solitude or silence. It forces us to think, to be introspective, to regret, to dream. But silence and solitude also quiets the storm of a busy world and provides a channel to receive fresh strength, fresh wisdom, and fresh courage to live as sign posts and witnesses in this Christian Colony. Today we will practice both Silence and Solitude. It might be uncomfortable
- Take advantage of the little moments of solitude and silence. First, leave your smartphone on the charger until you leave your house (or start your tasks for the day). Don’t allow technology to be a companion for your morning cup of coffee or your rhythm to start your day. Be in the quiet as you get ready. Allow your mind to drift towards your day. What are you excited for? What are you anxious about? Silently pray that God would meet you in the midst of your day.
- Leave the radio off in your car today. Do not play any music, podcast, or audiobook. Do not make a phone call. Allow the silence to give room for you to think and to process.
- Today, if possible, have lunch by yourself without technology. It’s amazing how our smartphones have become anti-boredom appendages who’s sole task is to take over any moment that is unfilled by activity. As you spend some time alone, pay attention to your emotions. Are you anxious? Silently ask for the Lord’s peace. Are you bored? Ask for God to give you the ability to be content in the moment. Are you happy? Thank God in gratitude for His blessings.
Remember, Silence and Solitude are PRACTICES. We get better as we commit when it’s easy but especially when it is difficult. Let’s continue to practice together.