Sunday, December 13, 2009

Solitude

I was reading the latest installment of a book I bought a few months ago entitled, Running on Empty by Fil Anderson. It promotes itself as a devotional for over-achievers.

Today's chapter was on solitude -- and its role in attending to the needs of our soul.

Jesus asked his followers, "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26)

This passage is speaking more toward spending all our time and energy on activities and pursuits that have little or no eternal value. But what Anderson seems to be driving at in his book is the idea that attending to the needs of one's soul is an important undertaking; yet it is one to be undertaken more by God than by us.

Anderson views solitude as shutting ourselves off from all stimulation and outside forces in order to give God some space, some margin, to work in; providing him access to us so that he can feed our souls.

I confess I struggle with solitude. It is very difficult for me to be completely still; I always have to be about something, it seems. And when I am completely still and attempting space-granting solitude, it is very likely I'll fall asleep.

Anderson says we use this very excuse (falling asleep) and others like it (my mind wanders, I don't have time, I can't stop thinking, etc.) to avoid the most difficult and demanding person in our lives. No, not God; ourselves.

As a part of this post, I wanted to conduct some field research to see how long I could be completely still. I wondered if I could make it 10 minutes, 15, 20. That seems unimaginable. Well, I didn't even make an attempt, concluding ... yes, you guessed it ... that I didn't have the time; or rather did not choose to spend my time in such an endeavor.

Solitude. My mind and soul crave it, whether I admit it or not. My Heavenly Father desires it. But first, I must concede.

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