Originally published December 3, 2015
It has been TOO long since I've posted! I'm taking a course on Christian Life Coaching, and in doing a little of the homework God gave me a few thoughts on the topic of solitude.
The word "solitude" may or may not be appealing to you depending on the stage of your life you find yourself in. Here is a definition from my workbook. "A state of being where we connect our heart with God's heart." The author's Drs. Adam and Candice Smithyman go on to say, "When we practice the discipline of solitude we are learning to increase our trust in God and His righteousness within us. When His righteousness within us increases; our self righteousness decreases. Our own self righteousness is built on obtaining and getting our own needs met. Walking in His righteousness is built on the fact that we have our needs met in Him."
This study on solitude has reminded me of my past battle with self-sufficiency. Self sufficiency can result from a "vow moment". A vow moment is when we make a vow or promise to ourselves typically out of self preservation. One of my vow moments was to live a life of self sufficiency. I knew I could trust myself and it seemed to make sense. We've all been disappointed and let down, even deeply hurt by people we trusted. Vow moments are most often based on these times of pain which was the case for me. I decided it was safer not to count on anyone and to simply take care of myself. It's not an ideal life situation or how I wanted to live my life, but I believed it was the lesser of two evils. What didn't occur to me was the resulting isolation and lonliness. A self-imposed prison of "safety".
Thank God by his grace He showed me the truth. Through times of solitude or quiet unhurried time with Him he began to reveal a better way. Processing things with him through spiritual disciplines such as journaling and reading the bible in depth. More than just skimming a chapter but reading footnotes and commentaries, writing down my thoughts and questions, and talking one on one with mentors I trusted to help me understand.
As I grew to understand God's nature of mercy, acceptance, forgiveness, love, and His desire for relationship with me, I found myself trusting Him more than I trusted myself.With each step closer to Him I experienced more freedom from the fear that locked me into the lie that self-sufficiency was the answer. John 10:10 describes a life of abundance and freedom that Jesus wants us to live and I found myself experiencing exactly that. Hebrews 12 talks about the joy set before Jesus that made him willing to endure the cross and scorn it's shame. That joy was to see us set free from the bondages of this life that promise release but produce emptiness. It was the joy of partnering in this life with us to accomplish what we were created for; to live out our unique and personal callings and purposes. He can accomplish it all without us but He created us for relationship, and out of his great love, gave us a second chance to have that relationship.
Life is good and it's not money or the things of this world that make it good. What makes life good are relationships, love, serving and being served in our times of crisis or need. It's the inner kindness, and encouragement and support that the Father brings when we invite him into our lives. It is experienceing life with Him here and now partnering together to accomplish greatness. It is celebrating weddings, births, and accomplishments as well as grieving loss, illness, and betrayal with our Father. Beyond all of this it is eternity in a paradise beyond our wildest imagination. Life in relationship with us; sinful man redeemed is that joy; that reason He endured the cross. It's all about us.