The Discipline of Solitude

By: Ron Lagerquist

"Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayer"

 Luke 5:16

At this moment there are forty major blockbuster, world exclusive, live, real time, raw and uncut, gardening, cooking, nature, fishing, sport extravaganza, all piped into your living room in full color and surround-sound. And don’t touch that dial man, because live, from New York, is the-last-thing-I-think-about-before-I-go-to-bed show, starring Cotton Carnal Candy, undressing your morals with the fingers of a godless mind.

Staring at millions of tiny dancing lights, the clock turns you closer to uselessness until, finally, in some old age home, painted in lime green with pink motif, you exclaim, my, where has the time gone? Death finally puts to rest endless hours of worthlessness and personal compromise.

During times of failure and sin we too often avoid the inner voice as one would evade an intimate friend. We are afraid of the tuff questions. Yet we must live with ourselves to live in freedom. Alone with oneself will bring about interesting conversation. From the nearsighted bustle, we can step back and view the big picture, seeing years not moments, and patterns emerge. Then the hard questions come. Where am I going? What have been I doing all these years? If you tarry alone long enough, there will be realization. And the answers can bring remorse.

Not enough can be said about the need for time alone to reestablish significance and weed out the accumulative residue of meaningless living. Solitude is a time to take stock and find God in the quiet, wrestle with remorse, solidifying fresh decision through repentance. If you have not practiced this often then it will be difficult to start to do because your value system will be disjointed. You will have the busy bug, racing around doing much and bearing little fruit.

Find a green space outside your home; a place with birds, trees and open sky. Take walks alone and reacquaint yourself with the stillness of creation. Likewise, make a sacred space in your home. An undisturbed place lit with candles and soft praise music, a bible and pillows to sit on. In solitude, you will discover that the greatest resources were already available to you, on the inside.

"One of those days when Jesus went out to a mountain side to pray, and spent the night praying to God." (Luke 6:12) Jesus knew the weariness of a long day. He found it difficult to find a moment alone, continuously being sought after by a hungry mob. Long after the crowds went home, when the world was hushed in the quietness of slumber, He slipped to a place of solitude and communed with the Father till morning. In spite of being tired, He saw a greater need than His body getting sleep.

Quiet time with God and yourself is the backbone to freedom. I could not survive without a generous time away from friends, family, phone and responsibilities. Solitude is a time when God can corner me without the backdoor of a TV converter drowning away the convicting Voice of the Holy Spirit. It is when I review rash words, capture worries and place them into perspective. A time of humility where I am reminded of my smallness and insignificance. Then a song bird or fresh breeze or simply silence will remind me of God’s grace toward me. I always come back to the pack a better man, renewed in mind and revived vision.

Three Foundational Disciplines, Part 3: The Discipline of Contentment

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Tough. Not tuff. Wise words... but it helps if you watch the grammar too.
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