Solitude

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!”

Isaiah 30:15

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
But you were unwilling,

Luke 6:12-13

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles:

Luke 4:42

And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them,

Mark 6:31

And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.

Matthew 16:24-26

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

“Solitude is the place of purification and transformation the place of the great struggle and the great encounter…the place of our salvation. It is the place of conversion, the place where the old self dies and the new self is born, the place where the emergence of the new man and the new women occurs.” -Henri Nouwen

There is no other way to say this: we are a busy people. It’s who we are, how we are told to be, and just part of our culture in general. Whether it be work, our kids, our grandkids, or our friends, we seldom have nothing to do. There is always something vying for our attention and presence. We have bought into the lie that a healthy life, a good life is one where we are always on the run getting to the next thing. But what if that wasn’t God’s design? What if we have become so busy we never get a second to sit down and be still? What if because of how we live our lives we have neglected two important disciplines?

Solitude is the place we go to meet our Lord and battle with our false self, emerging victorious ready to take that new self with us. In neglecting solitude, our true identity, our sense of who we are, is at stake. I had an opportunity a few months back to go on a hike with a few men from the Church. A 72-hour backpacking adventure in the mountains on North Carolina. I have to be honest this isn’t something I would normally do, I like the comforts of my bed and waking up next to my wife not another man. But I quickly found the value of this trip. I found value of solitude. I came to a new understanding of myself, my life, and my purpose. For the first time I was pushed to the end of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. I was uncomfortable, I was frustrated, and I was left at times wondering what I was doing. But I emerged, I finished and looking back it was one of the best things that could have happened to me.

There was something I learned that weekend: true transformation happens when we come to the end of ourselves. And I realized quickly this doesn’t happen in the busy lives we create, it happens in the wilderness, it happens in the desert, it happens in solitude and silence. The kingdom life is upside down from what earthly life tells us. If you want to be exalted, you must humble yourself. If you want to receive, you must give. If you want to live, you must die. This was the first time I was disconnected from everything and could fully focus on my relationship with Christ, my family, myself, and to others. For the first time I had a clear picture of myself. The crazy thing Jesus calls us to this in Matthew 16:24-26.

To take up your cross is to recognize, humble yourself and realize you can’t do it on your own…You need Jesus. It is in that moment where we find true transformation, not just the mountain top experience, but transformation that changes who we are in our deepest places. We rarely experience this because we stay comfortable. We don’t push ourselves. We don’t challenge ourselves. We don’t call out our weaknesses. We’ve never been to the end of our lives. What we have created as a Christian life is nothing like what we see in the first century Church, it’s nothing like what we see in the life of the Disciples, and it’s nothing like what Christ calls us to be.

None of this happens unless we spend some time in solitude. The place of transformation, the place of salvation, the pace of revelation happens in the discipline of solitude. When our flesh is weak His Spirit and Grace is more. The goal of this life is to be more like Christ and reproduce what He did for us. To be effective disciple makers we should seek the place of solitude and emerge victorious.

Reflect

  1. What keeps you from experiencing solitude? 
  2. What do you need to do in order to remove this obstacle? 

Pray

Father, I admit I am a busy person. I admit I place things in higher standing than my relationship with you. There are things I struggle with on a daily basis and I need you. Father I promise to open my schedule even just for a few moments to disconnect and seek you on a deeper level. I recognize I live in a world of false self, false identity, and I want to know who I am because of what you’ve done. Forgive me father, create in me a new heart, a new passion and a new desire to know you more fully. 

Nick and Heather Viers, April 2, 2020
Posted in

Related Posts

No Comments


Recent

Archive

Categories