Friday, July 23, 2010

The Lonely Place of Solitude

“That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:32-35 ESV)

During my time as a Hollywood agent, I worked with another agent who had an extremely gifted daughter. This young lady (now a young woman in college) was one of those kids who was good at everything she tried, and as a result was involved in activity, after activity, after activity. She sang in the choir, played in the orchestra, was on the soccer team, got straight A’s, and basically (in my opinion) had no childhood, at all.

Please note that with regard to that last statement, it’s just my opinion. She may have loved being so busy and active that both she and her parents were on the go from morning till night. Granted, I’m not a parent. But when I see something like that I often wonder how they do it!

How do you have a quality life when you’re constantly on the go? How do you have a quality relationship with your kids when they’re involved in everything under the sun? How do you have intimacy with your spouse when you’re running your kids everywhere? And, even more importantly, how do you have a quality relationship with God that’s more than just “ten minutes here and there," whenever it's convenient to fit Him into your life? Truth be told, I’m worn out just thinking about it! Of course, that may be because I’m still exhausted at the moment.

This morning I read a book entitled Out of Solitude by Henri Nouwen, and I want to share some of his writings that really resonated with me:

“I have the sense that the secret of Jesus’ ministry is hidden in that lonely place where he went to pray, early in the morning, long before dawn …

In the lonely place Jesus finds the courage to follow God’s will and not his own; to speak God’s words and not his own; to do God’s work and not his own …

It is in the lonely place, where Jesus enters into intimacy with the Father, that his ministry is born.”

One of the things I’ve learned is that “busyness” is often nothing more than a way to avoid pain. Whether it’s used to avoid the reality that I hate my job; I’m in an unhealthy relationship that needs to end or things in my life just aren’t working and I need to make some changes (been there, done that, on all three accounts!), it is far easier to keep myself busy than to face the things I need to deal with head-on!

And because there is so much pain in this world, and because God never promised us an easy road, it’s no wonder that we fill our lives with so much “stuff,” and so many activities, that we often don’t know whether we’re coming or going! (Again, I know whereof I speak ...)

Then, just when we think we’ve got it all under control, it all comes crashing down around us and we’re forced to pay attention! Or, we’re forced to take a break in order to spend time in solitude with the One Who knows us better than we know ourselves:

“You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body … All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.” (Psalm 139:13,16 NCV)

My prayer for today is that I will find intimacy with Christ, as I rest in the loneliness of solitude. May it be yours, as well.

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