Lucinda Secrest McDowell
In looking over the evaluation sheets from a recent retreat I was struck by every single answer to this question being almost exclusively the same:
“What was the best part of the day?” Quiet time alone with God.
We all desire quiet. We all need calm. But sometimes we have to be given permission to spend extended times in silence, listening for the voice of God to speak into our hearts and soothe our souls. To comfort and encourage. To challenge and prod. To gently lift us up and send us out among the walking wounded with a word of mercy or hope or grace.
This is why my heartbeat is to encourage us all to dwell in the constant presence of God. Therefore, the Lord God, the holy one of Israel, says: ‘In return and rest you will be saved; quietness and trust will be your strength‘— but you refused. Isaiah 30:15
Do you need a “quiet place” – somewhere to go and experience God’s peace and presence? Do you deliberately carve out hours or days when there is no noise, no music, no technology, and no interruptions to dispel the sounds of silence?
Or are you like the Israelites in this verse who have yet again turned away from their God in order to pursue all the world has to offer? The prophet Isaiah is begging them to return and find strength through quietness and rest. Yet they refuse.
Do you refuse? I know why I do – because it’s simply not natural to be alone and quiet and still. And yet it is a restorative spiritual discipline.
“To be in solitude is to choose to do nothing. For extensive periods of time. All accomplishment is given up. Silence is required to complete solitude, for until we enter quietness, the world still lays hold of us. When we go into solitude and silence we stop making demands on God. It is enough that God is God and we are His.” (Ruth Haley Barton, “Invitation to Solitude and Silence”)
It will take some strategy, for sure. Carving out a place and time with no distractions. Turning off cell phones, pagers, computers, i-pods. And then putting ourselves in a position of receiving – with open ears, open hands, open hearts – all that God wants to say. It will seem awkward and almost impossible at first. But, if you’re like me, the silence will soon become a wanted friend, a comfortable dwelling place.
In this quietness we create space for God’s activity, God’s agenda, God’s words rather than filling every minute with our own.
What will He reveal to you today?
under the mercy, Cindy
©2017 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
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