Solitude & Silence


Solitude & Silence

Article Summary – Short Version

Solitude & Silence will produce increased peace, confidence, and direction by hearing God’s voice better. Solitude limits INPUT to you. SILENCE limits OUTPUT from you. Solitude & Silence positions you to allow clarity in his input to you that will affect your output.

Introduction

I want to write about Solitude and Silence (S&S). Yes, it is not a favorite of modern men, but it was a secret of Jesus and our ancient fathers. It was a tool He used to close out other voices to hear the voice of His Father better. Solitude and silence have affected my life and I hope it will yours too.

Definition of solitude

Solitude is the state or situation of being alone. Solitude is removing outside voices speaking to you. The purpose of going into solitude is to isolate yourself from other voices so that you can hear God’s voice better. These voices include people, social media, news, tv shows, other media, podcasts, websites, newspapers, smartphone notifications, etc. Solitude is an intentional stopping of outside voices. I call this going into the desert. A desert is a place where there are few people and incoming noise.

Definition of silence

Silence is stopping your voice speaking to others. S&S work as a pair to bring transformation. When outside voices cease and you cease your own speaking, you can see a new perspective. Ask God to give you His perspective as you cut off everyone else’s.

How do we walk in solitude and silence? 

Leave your noisy and busy surroundings. The best solitude is when you are physically, mentally, and emotionally isolated. This can be for an hour or a day. The longer the better. Start where you can. Can you get isolated for a time in your home? Maybe a drive down a country road by yourself? Visit to a park? Start thinking about where you can go for some solitude and silence.

Start with 1 hour today with the goal of 1 day in the future. What do we do during that hour? It’s not so much about what we do as it is about what we don’t do. Shut out external stimulation. Allow life to go quiet around you. Eliminate all the electronic inputs mentioned earlier. Solitude is a time when we withdraw from other voices in order to give God’s voice an opportunity to speak to us. It is an opportunity, not an obligation. It is saying I want to know you, Father. Stand on the promise of Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

When we practice S&S, most people realize how noisy their lives have become. True silence seems strange. We don’t know how to act. We have become accustomed to constant inputs. It has become what we think is normal life. But once you learn to be quiet, you realize the noise is a source of low-level stress and anxiety that never allows us to fully rest. Quiet is a condition we have forgotten. Realize that if we are never quiet on the outside, it is very hard to become quiet on the inside. When we are quiet on the inside, it is easier to hear what the Father is saying. Make a plan to leave the world behind for an hour.

Is solitude & silence biblical? 

Jesus continually withdrew from people, daily life activities, and the demands of ministry to be alone with the Father and pray. The priority of this is everywhere in the Gospels. He began his ministry there. It’s how he made important decisions, dealt with troubling emotions like grief, dealt with the constant demands, and cared for his soul. It’s how he taught his disciples and how he prepared for ministry events. Solitude is how he prepared for his death on the cross. The solitude created a place where Jesus could talk to the Father (Mark 1:35). If Jesus needs the Father’s voice, we definitely do.

2 Reactions to solitude & silence

If you haven’t done S&S in a long time, there are usually 2 reactions. First, extreme boredom with no thoughts at all. A second common response is where your soul (mind and emotions), will fill up with thoughts and feelings. If this is your reaction, this is normal. I want to talk about this second reaction. What is going on?

This is the beginning of your soul being straightened out. Let me explain. S&S reveals the state of your soul. Is it full of serenity or stress or mess? Typically, people get overwhelmed with random thoughts and emotions. This is undealt with thoughts and emotions. They need to be straightened out, removed, or enhanced.

Where did these things come from? These are things you have ignored or covered over. These soul manifestations are like your attic. You have been shelving things there for years. You say one day I will clean out the attic, but you never do. It’s the same way with your mind and emotions. It is often a tangled mess in the attic of your soul. 

Just like cleaning out an attic, deal with each thought or emotion that surfaces one at a time. Here are some questions to process your attic. Ask what is this? Why was it stored here? Where does it go? Do I need to throw it away? It helps to write your thoughts and feelings. Examine each thought or emotion one by one, asking God what you should do with it. Many times this process will reveal memories that need to be dealt with – regrets, unforgiveness, lost dreams or hopes. 

Repent as needed. Make a list of where you need to forgive. This could take hours and even days. So don’t expect to clean out your soul / attic quickly. Realize that if you have been shoving stuff here for a time, it will take time to resolve. But as you work through the ‘stuff’, it will lighten your soul’s load. God will be enough for you.

Solitude brings peace, confidence, and direction

As you deal with the issues that come up, you will start getting quieter on the inside and have increased peace. Remember what it feels like. If peace leaves in the future, return to a place of solitude and silence. If you can’t isolate yourself immediately, ask God how to shut off the voices from entering your soul in the circumstance you are in. Guard your peace by not allowing stress and mess to enter again.

When you have peace, you will have clearer vision for your life. God will be able to show you solutions you need to move forward. Solitude and silence create opportunities not seen before.

Solitude helps you find God

Solitude and silence removes other voices so I can find God. We all want Him with all of our heart. We want to know Him, meet Him face to face, and to touch Him. Regularly do desert trips and ask God to reveal Himself to you. 

Solitude shows where you have based your identity

When you remove all the voices, you may realize you are not any deeper than your ‘stuff’. It may be painful to realize this, but it will help you forge a fresh path. This fresh path will show that you are valuable without your stuff. It will recenter you on eternal things. Push through. The silence will shape you.

Solitude creates encounters for God’s love

When you are quiet, it creates opportunities for you to encounter God’s love for you in ways you have never experienced before. He will share how much he cares for you. You will also learn how to tell him how much you love him. It makes the discipline of silence highly rewarding.

Solitudes removes the world’s cares

When pursuing solitude, the cares of the world drop away. Things I thought were important, come in to focus as not important. The world has a way of forcing their priorities on you. Their agenda is to sell you something or use you for something. The challenge when you leave silence is to remember what is really important as you renter the world and all their voices shout at you once again. This will be a reminder to put on your calendar the next time of solitude.

Solitude and silence is simple to understand but hard to implement. I believe we can eventually get to the place where we walk this way, even in a crowd. When this happens, we have learned to control the voices speaking to us and the voice we speak to others. What freedom that is. Let’s resolve to practice the discipline of solitude and silence.

Categories: Miscellaneous

1 comment

  1. I think this is extremely important, especially in today’s fast paced environment we often find ourselves in.

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