Question: Why should I consider adding the spiritual discipline of Silence and Solitude?
Answer: You should add this spiritual discipline to heal your heart, hear God's voice more clearly, and decrease anxiety in your life.
What is Silence and Solitude? 🤫
When you think of the phrase ' Silence and solitude,' you may have mental images of monks living out in a desert seeking God, eating grass, and never talking. Well, you wouldn't be too far off from the truth. The reason many monks embrace a vow of poverty and Silence is so they can become closer to God. However, an accurate definition of Silence and solitude does not have to be so extreme in our modern world. Silence and solitude are the absence of the input of others for a period of time so we can rest our hearts and focus our attention on God.
Why Do We Need Silence and Solitude? 🤔
In generations before the internet and cell phones, people would spend most of their day in Silence. Even if they worked in a busy environment, they did not have constant interaction, which caused their senses to be on high alert. The modern culture of social media, wireless headphones, and constantly being connected through cell phones has caused us never truly to be alone. How are we more depressed, anxious, and lonely than ever? I think it is because we are never resting our souls. We are always 'connected' but rarely ever experience genuine connection. The need for real human connection is best saved for another post. This post is about having a real relationship with the presence of God. One of the best ways to do this is through times of Silence and solitude. God wants to commune with us in the quiet corners of the heart. God is willing to wait until we are ready to meet with Him.
The Benefits of Silence and Solitude 💪
Finding moments of Silence and solitude may seem elusive in a world filled with constant noise and distractions. However, embracing the beauty of Silence and solitude can be genuinely transformative for Christians seeking a deeper connection with God and personal growth in their faith. Let's explore the profound benefits of Silence and solitude to a Christian's spiritual journey.
1. Cultivating a Deeper Relationship with God.
Silence and solitude provide a sacred space for Christians to connect with God profoundly. By intentionally setting aside time away from the clamor of everyday life, individuals can foster an environment where they can listen, reflect, and communicate with their Creator. In this stillness, hearts become receptive to God's gentle whispers, allowing for a deeper understanding of His will and a more intimate relationship with Him.
2. Inner Reflection and Self-Examination.
Silence and solitude offer an opportunity for self-reflection, introspection, and examination of conscience. In the busyness of life, it can be easy to neglect our spiritual well-being and lose sight of our true selves. Taking moments of Silence and solitude allows Christians to examine their thoughts, emotions, and actions in the light of God's truth. This introspection encourages personal growth, self-awareness, and an alignment of one's life with God's purpose.
3. Renewal and Refreshment of the Soul.
Amidst the noise and demands of daily life, Silence and solitude are a refuge for the soul, providing rest and rejuvenation. Just as Jesus often retreated to solitary places to commune with His Father, Christians can find solace in these moments of stillness. In the quietness, they can seek God's guidance, find healing for their weary hearts, and experience an outpouring of His peace that surpasses all understanding.
4. Discernment and Wisdom.
Silence and solitude create an environment conducive to discernment and gaining wisdom. By detaching from external distractions, Christians can focus their attention on seeking God's guidance for important decisions and life choices. In the absence of noise, the Holy Spirit can illuminate paths, offer clarity, and reveal insights that may otherwise go unnoticed. The practice of Silence and solitude empowers Christians to make choices aligned with God's will and to live purposefully.
5. Embracing the Example of Christ.
Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus retreating to solitary places to pray and seek His Father's will. By embracing Silence and solitude, Christians follow in the footsteps of their Savior, imitating His devotion and obedience. In these moments, Christians draw closer to the heart of Christ and cultivate a deeper understanding of His teachings, resulting in spiritual growth and transformation.
How do we begin the practice of Silence and solitude? 🏁
This may seem great, but finding time without being connected to "the matrix" can be complicated.
Never forget that internet companies pay people millions of dollars to create their products in a way that will keep you coming back. You have an entire infrastructure working against you. Therefore, you have to be purposeful in your efforts to find time away from the input of others. Remember, that is basically what Silence and solitude is; the space where we are not receiving any external stimulation so we can focus on the presence of God and resting our soul.
Here are three steps to get you started:
1. Start intentionally small.
Before doing anything else, create a plan that helps you ease into this spiritual discipline. My recommendation is to take 30 days and plan to go without your phone or anything other than external stimulation for 10 minutes a day. This means no phone, no TV, no conversation, nothing. The goal is to sit in Silence and stillness. Resist the urge to look at the time. Set an alarm if it will help. Allow your soul to take a deep sigh of relief. Some people find that taking a walk around their neighborhood can help. They can distract themselves by looking at houses or dodging cars. That's fine—just no inputs.
2. Work your way up to having one day a week without your phone.
This will seem like death if you need to be constantly connected. You are literally going to detox and feel like you will die of boredom. Let it wash over you. I recommend doing this on a day when you can focus on filling the void with other worthwhile pursuits.
3. Make Long-term plans.
This doesn't keep itself. You are going to be fighting against culture constantly. So, be sure to develop long-term strategies for success. Some guidelines would be to think through strategic times in the day without your phone, schedule times to look at social media and replace the absence of your phone with other worthwhile pursuits. Remember, the goal is not to survive it. The goal is to spend time allowing your soul to rest.
4. Once a year, three-day plan away from your phone.
This is what we could call the "pro level." If you want to see how addicting our constantly connected world is, plan to go without your phone and external outputs such as TV and computers for three days. If you can make it, you will never be the same. You will hear your heart like never before. You will listen to the voice of the Lord like never back. You will experience rest that no amount of sleep can provide.
In the midst of a noisy and fast-paced world, the practice of Silence and solitude becomes even more essential for Christians. It is within these moments that believers can experience the profound benefits of a deeper relationship with God, inner reflection, renewal of the soul, discernment, and the imitation of Christ. As Christians intentionally carve out time for Silence and solitude, they open themselves up to a more vibrant and meaningful spiritual journey, ultimately leading to a life characterized by peace, purpose, and a closer walk with God.