“Solitude is obviously intended to be far more than just being physically alone. It is the way we form a habit of retreat, creating a space and a time when God can speak to us. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have some place in your house that could become a place of retreat. Some people have a favorite walk that becomes a “prayer walk.” Every large city, despite the noise and crowds, has places of great solitude and peace. Often city center churches are examples of this. What is certain is that if we create a place where we can regularly turn to God, [God] will meet us there. There, as Amma Syncletica said, “it is possible to be a solitary in one’s mind while living in a crowd.” Time spent with God in solitude will always bring a harvest. The problems we have outside the solitude will seem different when we return to them refreshed and strengthened. The surer sense of our relationship with Christ that solitude brings spills over into everything else we do. When Moses came down from his solitude on Mount Sinai, his face shone (Exod. 34:29-35). For you, too, solitude can be a place of transfiguration, a meeting place with the living God.”
—From The Interior Mountain: Encountering God with the Desert Saints by Simon Peter Iredale1
Getting away to a completely secluded and silent place may be too much pressure to place upon ourselves in the fast-paced lives we lead. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a difficult time finding complete stillness in your life. There are many subtle, yet powerful, ways to retreat from the hustle and spend some time in stillness with God.
Ways to Retreat
- Turn off your phone for an hour or two (or three!)
- Take a walk outside by yourself
- Try driving in the car without music or talk radio
- Instead of turning on the TV in the morning, try waking up with silence (and coffee!)
- Spend a weekend without checking your email or Facebook page
- Go out and eat lunch by yourself in a restaurant (“Table for one, please!”). You may be surprised at how much you enjoy the company.
What are some other ways to retreat from the busyness of life and find some quiet communion with God? You are invited to search for the quiet spaces this week. We would love for you to share your experiences with our community.
Art Credit: Brand X Pictures / ThinkStock
1 Adapted from The Interior Mountain by Simon Peter Iredale. (c) 2000 Abingdon Press. Adapted by permission. Quoted on pp. 343-344 of A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God by Norman Shawchuck and Rueben P. Job. Copyright © 2003 by Norman Shawchuck and Rueben P. Job. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission of Upper Room Books.