Today's post was written by BH member, Traci Perry.
I don’t always like being around people. I’m an introvert and a loner. People sometimes drain me of energy. I like being by myself. I have to be careful not to let it become sinful, but I’ve accepted that some of it is part of my distinct personality. I’m comfortable alone.
Maybe because of that, spending time in silence and solitude with God has always come easily to me.
I remember when I realized that was unusual. I was talking to a group of ladies who had young children. They all complained of their schedules not allowing them quiet time with God. I was in the same situation, yet I considered it the best stage of life to allow for time with God. They made it clear that was not typical.
I love being with God. I love praying, studying the Bible, listening to sermons, and anything that draws my attention to Him. Since being saved, I’ve spent countless hours in quiet solitude with Him. Don’t be too impressed, because that’s exactly why it was a shock to discover that I’d been pushing God away.
I was beginning to crave time alone, even from Jesus.
I’ll explain the way it progressed. My family has moved several times, and some of those moves took us to new communities where we knew no one. Finding a church, local comforts, and friends can take a while. More importantly, it takes effort. Especially for people like me. I have to exert a lot of energy to seek new relationships and step into new situations.
It’s exhausting to push against my personal inclinations, so I sometimes revel in being a little disconnected from people. It can be a relief. Unfortunately, being too disconnected can be detrimental. It left me without the discipleship and accountability that naturally accompanies Christian fellowship.
I underestimated the impact that time apart from fellow believers would have on my time alone with God. I simply got tired of silence. I wasn’t motivated to seek God’s companionship. I wanted to feel distracted. It was easier to listen to the radio or search the internet than to sit alone with God.
Part of the problem was the obvious difference between us. I’m redeemed. I’m made new by God’s grace. I’m forgiven and being sanctified. However, at every opportunity, I default to wretchedness. I don’t naturally seek God’s will. I seek my own. It’s only because of His mercy and grace that I ever have the slightest desire to be what He wants me to be. I need Him, because I’m nothing like Him on my own.
None of us will measure up to God’s perfection, so drawing near to Him is humbling and convicting.
No matter how assured I am that my time with the Lord will be rewarding and renewing, I still have to depend on God to help break my will to resist Him. I suspect that’s a common problem. It isn’t a matter of schedules or temperaments. It’s spiritual. We need Him, yet we don’t want to need Him. That’s the irony of a relationship with God. He provides all that He requires. We are truly dependent on Him, even in our desire to spend time with Him.
Silence and solitude with God is always about God. It’s not about a mystical experience. It isn’t an opportunity to pursue a supernatural encounter. It’s a practice of being aware of who God is. It is intentionally focusing on the Lord of all creation; the one true God as He is revealed in Scripture.
At its simplest definition, there’s no great mystery to spending time in silence and solitude. It’s literally getting alone and being quiet. That means not being distracted by noise, not speaking, and not thinking about anything other than the Lord. It means not filling the silence with anything, even ourselves, but to allow only God to fill it.
Essentially, it’s acknowledgement of God and an expression of trust and devotion.
So, although it isn’t complicated, it can be quite a struggle. It’s likely that I’m not the only one who struggles with motivation to be alone with God. I never expected it to be a problem. I assumed it would always be easy. Still, I sometimes struggle. So, join me in turning away from the cell phones, career challenges, televisions, distracting thoughts, and even those precious family members to be in silence and solitude with God.
"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken." -Psalm 62:5-6