Tag Archives: alone with God

WEIRD?

Weird, because my Normal wasn’t working

Is your “normal” working for you? I am searching for a better way – God’s way.

Before I turned to Jesus whole-heartedly I was very much a Martha, a control-driven, have-to-keep-busy person. I am still a Martha, but I have found my Mary, too.

When I was given an assignment to “sit still for five minutes and listen to God” – I failed, miserably. My mind could not slow down. I kept thinking, “I have to do… such and such.” and my mind kept going.

Then the dog barked. That was the end of my first attempt.

What did I do? I tried again the next morning, and the morning after that. Finally I decided that I needed absolute stillness – not a sound, not a chance of interruption. I needed to wake up earlier.

My mentor in Christ suggested that I ask God to wake me up. And I did – and He did. I will tell you that story in another post. I did as Jesus did.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed” (Mark 1:35 NIVUK).

Now I didn’t leave my house as Jesus did, but I did find a solitary spot and in my quiet place I sat and waited. I tried that day after day – making myself sit for five minutes.

One day it happened – as I sat still I felt a peace, God’s hands on my shoulders. My shoulders relaxed – this was heaven. He was there!

When did you last “shut down” to the world and experience God?

Come on this journey as we try to find Him in the stillness. You will like it and God will like it too.

The idea for the title of this post came from a new book by Craig Groeschel called Weird, when your Normal isn’t Working. I found out yesterday I won one of 100 books that were given away on Michael Hyatt’s blog. I can’t wait to read his book and will tell you everything I find out.

Here is another site with a post on the same theme, called Vacate.

OUR NEED FOR SOLITUDE

Our Need for Solitude

by Mark D. Roberts (reprinted with permission from High Calling Blogs, February 2, 2011)

Luke 6:12-16

Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God.  And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles.

[Luke 6:12-13]

Yesterday, I shared some reflections on Luke 6:12-16, noting that Jesus spent all night in prayer prior to identifying his twelve apostles. Today, I want to remain with this passage so as to focus on Jesus’ example of solitude.

Jesus did not just pray all night. He quite intentionally left the crowds and even his own followers in order to be alone. At other times in his ministry, most notably in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus took others along with him when he prayed. But, in Luke 6, Jesus chose to be in solitude. The text suggests that this helped Jesus in his extended conversation with God.

God created us to be in community. We are meant to live our lives with others, serving them and growing in relationship with them. But there are times, as Jesus shows us by his example, when we need to break away from others for a while in order to be alone with God. Solitude, of course, isn’t really “solo time,” since God is with us. But being away from other people for a while can help us to quiet our souls so that we might pray more honestly and listen to God more attentively.

My friend Dave Williamson, former Director of Laity Lodge, recently made me aware of a provocative lecture by William Deresiewicz, former professor at Yale and literary critic. Deresiewicz delivered this lecture, entitled “Solitude and Leadership,” to the plebe class at West Point in October 2009. (I commend this lecture, though warn you of a bit of salty language.) Deresiewicz begins by arguing that “true leadership means being able to think for yourself and act on your convictions.” This is possible, he explains, only if we are able to step back from the crowd and reflect. The thoughtfulness required for true leadership comes in the context of solitude. Thus, Deresiewicz concludes his lecture: “I started by noting that solitude and leadership would seem to be contradictory things. But it seems to me that solitude is the very essence of leadership. The position of the leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one. However many people you may consult, you are the one who has to make the hard decisions. And at such moments, all you really have is yourself.”

I believe Deresiewicz is profoundly right, yet profoundly wrong in one crucial respect. When you have to make hard decisions, you have more than just yourself. You have the triune God ready to guide you if you are willing to pay attention . . . and attention requires times of solitude.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When do you experience true solitude? When are you able to get away from the frenzy of life in order to be alone with God? Have you experienced a connection between solitude and leadership? Are you facing challenges in your life for which you need to get away so as to think and pray?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, your example challenges me, not only to pray more deeply, but also to be more intentional about getting away from the demands of life in order to be alone with you. You know how easy it is for me to think this is important, but not to do anything about it. Help me, I pray, to be more intentional and faithful about taking time away to be with you.

I want to pray for those who are reading this reflection today. I expect some are struck by their need for solitude and are already making plans to get away. But I expect others are feeling overwhelmed. They’re thinking that they don’t even have enough time to do all that is demanded of them. And now they’re supposed to find extra time for solitude! Help them, Lord, to determine what is best. Help them to find time, even short moments, when they can be quiet with you. Encourage them and strengthen them.

All praise be to you, Lord Jesus, for showing us how best to live by your own example. Amen.