Before we left on Friday for a Labor Day weekend getaway, the one thing I needed more than anything else was rest and solitude time away from the busyness and baseline stress that comes with living in a big city… and that comes from life in general.
As we drove into the wide open spaces, I felt my burdens lifted away. Jeremiah blasted the radio and rolled the windows down. John loved the breeze against his face. We sang, laughed, and talked. It was just the beginning of our journey to getting refreshed and encouraged again.
All throughout the gospels Jesus withdrew in solitude away from the crowds and the disciples to be renewed in his relationship with God:
“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them” (Lk. 4:42).
“Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him” (Mk. 4:36).
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Lk. 5:16)
Knowing that Jesus did this often, speaks volumes to me. How can I expect to live life apart from being alone with God- just me and him? How can I expect to love others well if I don’t separate myself from people from time to time? How can I expect to be renewed by staying in the same place day in and day out without ever getting away? A few things I’ve noticed when I choose not to withdraw to my “lonely place” is:
1.) I worry, worry, worry
2.) I’m not sensitive to God’s leading in my life
3.) I carry stress and don’t easily serve others
4.) I don’t share the gospel and what God is doing in my life
5.) I am mean and sin more
It’s crazy to think that choosing not to withdraw has led to those things in my life, but it makes total sense. Solitude time is examining life, confessing sin, being refueled in God’s word, and most of all resting in Christ for his strength. Life is just too hard not to make room for his presence in my life.
While I’m far from being perfect, a few practical things have helped me when it comes to making solitude time:
1.) I write it on my to-do list. Since most of the time, I get done what’s on that list, my quiet time is non-negotiable as well.
2.) I pretend like there are no dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, voicemails to return, and that not one person needs me.
3.) I leave my phone off, shut down my Mac (no emails, facebook, etc.)
4.) I go somewhere quiet with my journal, Bible, and pen and most of the time, I do this when John is asleep.
5.) I try to be still and pray in the car on the days I commute to work.
Well, I’m sitting on the couch in my pajamas listening to the sound of waterfalls trickling into the pool. The morning breeze is so refreshing and the birds love it too. The past few days I’ve been renewed in God’s word and renewed physically and emotionally. I’m sad we’re at the end of our journey at my parents because the time away has been so sweet.
But I can say I’m ready to travel back to Dallas and face the realities of life again with a better perspective than when I left.