I’ve mentioned in this blog that I lead quite a few days of solitude and silence for Christian leaders every month. It is my most favorite and fruitful ministry. Sometimes these days are for an unrelated group who gather for a single day together. Sometimes it’s a leadership team from a particular Christian ministry. I’ve often said that one of the greatest “fringe benefits” of my ministry is that I have days like these regularly because my work is to provide them for others. When I lead these days, I often write in my journal during the time alone and quiet before God. Below are a few scattered notes from such a day back in January.
On distraction. I’ve discovered I haven’t much power over whether or not I will be distracted in these days alone with God. Noises or interruptions will come from outside of me. Thoughts or feelings will arise from within me. I don’t know how to stop this. What I do have some control over is how I respond or react to these involuntary distractions. I can choose to get wrapped up in solving, wrestling with or otherwise engaging them, or I can decide not to bite the bait and simply let them pass. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s good work when I do it.
On the creative benefits of solitude with God. What have been some of the practical fruits of this regular practice of time alone and quiet before God? What good things have come for me or for others in them?
- Creativity – drawings, poems, prose, songs.
- Wisdom, insight and perspective.
- Peace and rest.
- A greater and simpler awareness of God with me.
- A sense of fresh encounter with God
- A sense of being loved and favored by God.
- A heart at restful attention with God.
- When shared with others, a deeper sense of community and unity, even with others who are very different from me.
On the Benedictine vow of stability. This vow is simply a way of saying that there is usually great virtue in staying put, rather than moving on. Do we need to hear this in our dramatically mobile culture? How many marriages have been abandoned that could instead now be much more fruitful through perseverance and willing work? How many have stepped away from one church fellowship just when conflict or challenge could have resulted in new places of rootedness in and reliance on Jesus?
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