Last month, our students had a great chance to retreat, refocus and connect with God in the serenity of the Tennessee mountains. So good! On our annual Fall Retreat, we focused on the necessity of silence and solitude in the Christian life. It was a good reminder for us all, especially as the busyness of our culture heats up this time of year, tempting us to reduce our relationship with God to a checklist.
As I told them, “This will not be easy for any of us, but the discipline to simply pause, quiet our minds and remove distractions in order to hear from God is something we all desperately need.” Here are a few quotes that really helped to underscore this neglected discipline in our lives.
“Without solitude, we cannot fathom just how enslaved we are. So many of us are chained to the opinion of others. Vainly, we busy ourselves in managing the impressions others have of us. We exhaust ourselves in trying to become somebody in their eyes. Without the discipline of silence and solitude, we play to the crowds, always performing yet never being quite sure of ourselves. We simply cannot live our whole lives in full view of others—in the crowd. In the silent and solitary place, we hunker down in obscurity. It’s just us and God. We don’t have to impress anyone. We are who we are. Naked. Our vulnerabilities exposed. This silent space affords us the opportunity to take a good, hard look at ourselves. We force ourselves to give up the pursuit of seeking affirmation from others. Eventually, our internal unrest is stilled.”
– Marlena Graves
“I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, and crowds. Satan is quite aware of the power of silence. Our days are usually filled with more than enough noise, plenty of hurry, and demanding people. Unless we plan for times of solitary silence before God, these other things will rush in to fill our time like water into the Titanic.”
– Jim Elliott
Remember your need to rest and linger in your Father’s presence this holiday season. Read. Ponder. Pray. Be Still. This is the only path to deep, lasting peace (even when you’re right in the middle of your least favorite Christmas party…)