Welcome back to Day 3 of our AVBSWGG.
Let me just say that I am thoroughly enjoying digging back through both my well-underlined books and notes from this subject of Spiritual Disciplines. I know I have been remiss to add links for the books, so please see notes at bottom for those.
But for now, let’s explore another of the lesser visited disciplines: Silence and Solitude.
Most of the material for this session was gleaned from the Donald S. Whitney book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Foster covers a chapter on Solitude, but I enjoyed the expanded version offered by Whitney.
I am a person who does not mind being alone. As a child with a much older sibling and moving around a lot in the Air Force and then many summer vacations on the road with my parents, I spent a lot of time alone. I learned to entertain myself with reading and imagination and either that is how I was wired or how I learned to adapt, but I am not lonely when I am alone. Usually.
I miss my people and I enjoy fellowship, but I am okay when I am by myself because it is a familiar place for me.
However, the discipline of silence and solitude is a whole different ball game.
So here are some notes on the subject to help us frame this day’s lesson:
- Silence can be practiced both inwardly and outwardly. We may not be saying much, but have a whole lot of noise and dialogue running around in our heads.
- Silence and Solitude are good companions. When we are alone, this is the time to practice the discipline of silence. Our culture tends to want to fill our times alone with devices that fill the empty space. Social media, television, podcasts, music. These are all good things if used well, but sometimes we need to practice just quieting our hearts and minds and listening for what God might be wanting us to hear.
- Silence and Solitude are complimentary with Fellowship – without Silence and Solitude, we are shallow; without Fellowship, we are stagnant.
- Our culture conditions us to be comfortable with noise and crowds: live counter-culture.
Jesus is our best example of one who chose silence and solitude as a discipline in the midst of a very public ministry and spending time with large and small groups of people. He often stole away in the early morning to quiet and desolate places, we are told in Scripture.
Because we have a whole world of communication that we carry around with us in the form of a smartphone, we have be intentional to set aside times where we turn off all noise and actually do the hard work of being silent – inwardly and outwardly. Yes – if we are outside the house or inside our car, there will be exterior noises, but the less we have to tune out so we can tune into God, the better.
Here are a couple of activity choices for today:
Option 1: When you are driving to work or running errands this week, turn off the radio and any notifications for your phone (so no calls interrupt). Purposely work at quieting your thoughts as you drive. This takes practice so don’t get discouraged. Just remember as you are driving, to pay attention to traffic, of course…and as different thoughts arise, take deep breaths and tell God you are listening for only His voice.
Option 2: When you are gathered with a group of friends of family this week, attempt to not add extra words to the conversation. If someone tells a story that prompts a memory of your own addition of a similar experience, refrain from sharing. As you hold back your words, purpose to listen to the other voices that add to the dialogue around you. Practice not speaking out thoughts or comments that come to mind as you are with your spouse or children. And be very conscious of the what you could have expressed, but chose not to.
Option 3: Take a walk without your earbuds. Simply walk and again, tell God you are quieting your heart to just be in His presence. Believe me, your mind will wander, but continue to exercise the as you go along.
That’s a lot to process, I know so let’s take our snack break and get on with our day.
This is a simple one and hopefully you have planted a little fresh basil on the patio and have access to some cherry tomatoes….you know where I am headed….
Grab some cocktail toothpicks and stab a cherry tomato, a folded bit of fresh basil and a chunk of baby Swiss cheese or Mozzarella.
You can lay several of these on their sides (on a pretty plate, of course) and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar glaze.
Add a nice glass of brewed iced tea and some fun crackers and enjoy a bit of silence and solitude on the patio….or invite a friend to two and engage in fellowship.
Enjoy and I will see you tomorrow <3
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life – https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/spiritual-disciplines-for-the-christian-life_donald-s-whitney_rita-j-platt/250947/item/3016225/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqd7G7rW8-QIVFq7ICh1POAKtEAQYAiABEgJMHvD_BwE#idiq=3016225&edition=2317268
Celebration of Discipline – https://www.amazon.com/Celebration-Discipline-path-Spiritual-Growth/dp/0060628391/ref=asc_df_0060628391/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=317002713299&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=16777509962837499790&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1016406&hvtargid=pla-487617394453&psc=1