Summary: One of the most neglected areas in our life is solitude. We live in a world where busyness and activity is the norm – but you don’t hear many people talk about silence and solitude – do you? But do you know that silence and solitude were a reg
Have you ever lost your balance? Have you ever driven a car that had unbalanced tires? When a tire is out of balance – it can affect a lot of things.
Sometimes we lose our balance on ice – and we fall. Sometimes we lose our balance in life and we fall too.
One of the most neglected areas in our life is solitude. We live in a world where business and activity is the norm – but you don’t hear many people talk about silence and solitude – do you?
But do you know that silence and solitude were a regular pattern of life for Jesus? Jesus found time for silence and solitude – even in the business of His life.
How many of you like peace and quiet? (Most people will raise their hands.) Do you really? If I take my watch and say, “Ok, what we are going to do for the next five minutes is be perfectly still and quiet. There will be no talking – there will be no looking around – also there will be no sleeping – (sleeping does not count.) – all you can do is sit there and be still.” Do any of you think you would be uneasy with that request? I think that some of us would shutter at the thought of absolute silence – absolute stillness. In our fast pace world silence and solitude don’t usually make it to the top of our priority list.
What is Solitude?
Just as fasting is the abstinence from food for spiritual purposes, solitude is the withdrawing to privacy for spiritual purposes.
Solitude and Silence - like soup & sandwich the two do go together. Even when we do not fill our lives with people, we can fill our lives with noise – the T.V. or radio on to “keep us company.” In modern times we have every convenience to fill our ears and eyes with noise which serves to drown out the voice of God in our ears and the image of God from our eyes. True solitude removes ourselves from company, but it also removes ourselves from other distractions as well.
There is Joy in Solitude
There is nothing better than to spend time in solitude with God. When life gets really busy, and even when it doesn’t, my heart cries out for a day or just a portion of a day when I can get away on my own and be with God.
Nothing replenishes my soul like solitude.
There are times when I am able to go out with just one of my kids – either to do something special, or to run errands. Inevitably doing these times, they will say to me, “ I really like these times when we’re together, just you and I.” When I can get away for extended periods of solitude, inevitably, I say to God, “Jesus, I really like these times when we’re together, just you and I.”
The Fear of Solitude
Our fear of being alone drives us to noise and crowds. We keep up a constant stream of words. We buy radios that strap to our wrist or fit over our ears so that if no one else is around at least we are not condemned to silence. T. S. Eliot analyzed our culture so well when he wrote, “Where shall the world be found, where will the word resound? Not here, there is not enough silence.”
But loneliness or clatter are not our only alternatives. We can cultivate an inner solitude and silence that sets us free from loneliness and fear. Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfillment. Solitude is not first a place but a state of mind and heart.
Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote, “We are so afraid of the silence that we chase ourselves from one event to the next in order not to have to spend a moment alone with ourselves, in order not to have to look at ourselves in the mirror.”
There is great value in seeking silence and solitude in our lives. In this fast paced world – it is not uncommon for most of us to miss tranquil times of quiet. Many of us always seem to be in a rush. I do not know if you realize this or not, but Jesus used silence and solitude quite a bit during His life and ministry. He did not get away by Himself just get away from people - but He used silence and solitude as a means of getting closer to God and minister more effectively to people. He knew that He needed to maintain a close relationship with God – if He wanted to be effective in His ministry. He wanted a close relationship with the father. He wanted to hear God whisper. He wanted to hear that “still small voice” of The Father speak to Him. So – He sought solitude and silence – so that He could hear God’s voice clearer.