God can truly speak to us through any means necessary. However, the practice of silence and solitude is the most effective way to truly connect and hear from the Lord.
But the Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.
Habakkuk 2:20, NLT
There’s been a running theme in our devotionals lately: breathe. Deep breath in, deep breath out. In fact, I can count 10 times this week alone that someone has said this to me. Granted, it was during x-rays, doctor visits, and other health scans. But, I also found myself just trying to calm my nerves with this technique.
I take a lot of deep breaths when I find myself in social situations. No matter how much I love those around me, my brain has a hard time with 3 different conversations, the kids playing, the TV going. Noise. There I go, retreating to the restroom for some silence.
It’s not to be taken personally by my friends or family. It’s just a quirk that will, most likely, never change. Even so, I often ask why I need to take so many deep breaths in a day. Why is this my reality?
Noises of Life
Que: knock, knock, knock. “Mommy are you in there? I’m hungry. I want a snack.”
I’m a wife, a mom, a homemaker, a partner in ministry. All of these labels take up most, if not all, of my daily time and energy. The sounds of the dishwasher running, phone conversations, children’s programs on the TV, instrumental music in my ear-buds all distract my mind and soul from complete silence.
My fellas don’t understand it now, but their noises of life wear me out. I live with a sweet four-year-old boy who makes around 5,987 different sounds in a day. Seriously, as I am trying to write this devotional, a Stormtrooper has been placed beside my keyboard. But, not before the soundtrack of live-action battle. I also have a six-year-old who requires a confidence boost in the morning and reading practice at night. I won’t mention how old my husband is, but he also requires conversation and a loud television (I’m not mad about it, really).
These are not “bad” reasons for the lack of solitude with God. They are my main missions in life and I am thankful every day for these beautiful responsibilities. However, being pulled in so many different directions causes my “deep breath” issue. I feel out of oneness with my Creator…
But if you give yourself to the Lord, you and Christ are joined together as one person.
1 Corinthians 6:17, TLB
Importance of Solitude
As I mentioned before, I’m a partner in ministry. Little did I realize, when starting to write for Oh Lord Help Us, keeping inspiration meant more quiet time with the Lord. And I don’t mean quiet time in reading or studying, I mean it in a way of doing nothing. A meditation of sorts.
It makes sense. Pastors often use solitude and silence to connect and hear from the Lord. It’s important for them. They are teachers of the word of God, thus they need to continually access that direct line to the Father.
It’s no different for Christian writers. We are, in a way, teachers too. We write about God’s truth and it reaches more than just a brick and mortar building of people. People all over the world continue to connect with us. So, when I say even us writers need solitude and silence to hear from the Lord, it’s absolutely true.
It’s hard to find complete solitude when the world is throwing so much at us. Many distractions kill our silence: watch this, read this, listen to this song. It’s not comfortable to be bored, anymore. When is the last time you sat in a waiting room without looking at your phone? Or drove the car in complete silence? How about just sitting, without anything happening, noise or video?
I’m not saying God cannot speak to us through any means necessary. In fact, He has had to in my life, because finding me in a still, quiet state is rare. Think of this, when we are speaking with a friend or spouse about our hearts, we truly want their attention. If they were, say, watching TV or looking at their phone, we would know they are half in it.
The same is true in our relationship with God. He wants to interact with us unattached, disconnected and surrendered. To sit in complete freedom from the world: responsibilities and other devotions, interaction with other people, completely unplugged from technology. Completely.
The Example of Jesus
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16, NIV
I often remind myself of Jesus’ example after feeding the 5000. He retreated to the mountain for solitude and prayer (Matthew 14:23). Now granted I’m only feeding 3 other mouths, but some days that’s a small miracle to me and I just want to retreat to the mountain of solitude with Jesus.
He had it right. He knew His work here on earth required a constant connection to the Father. So why would my Kingdom work require a different practice? If Jesus needed it, our humanity DEFINITELY needs a silent audience with God.
Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord’s demands.
Lamentations 3:28, NLT
Practice makes a habit. I have a feeling that practicing silence every day, will take care of my “deep breath” issue. Starting my day with solitude before the Lord will create effective, productive and calm Kingdom work. Deep breath in of the Spirit, heavy breath out of God’s truth.