The Fruits of SolitudeMar 23, 2022
Blog by Alan Fadling
One of the practices that has proven the most transformative and fruitful in my life over the last thirty years or more has been spending a day (or part of a day) each month in solitude, silence and prayer. I often write in my journal on those days, so it’s a great gift to be able to go back through thirty-plus years of journals and reflect on what God has given me in those days. Here are some notes from one such solitude day:
On distraction. I’ve discovered I haven’t much power over whether or not I will be distracted in these days alone with God. Noises or interruptions will come from outside of me. Thoughts or feelings will arise from within me. I don’t know how to stop this. What I do have some control over is how I respond or react to these involuntary distractions. I can choose to get wrapped up in solving, wrestling with, or otherwise engaging them, or I can decide not to take the bait and simply let them pass. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s good work when I do it. I don’t have to distract myself thinking about the distractions that arise on such a day.
On the creative benefits of solitude with God. What have been some of the practical fruits of this regular practice of time spent alone and quiet before God? What good things have come for me or for others in these times?
- Creativity – drawings, poems, prose, songs
- Wisdom, insight, and perspective
- Peace and rest
- A greater and simpler awareness of God with me
- A sense of fresh encounter with God
- A sense of being loved and favored by God
- A heart at restful attention with God
- When shared with others, a deeper sense of community and unity, even with others who are very different from me
On the Benedictine vow of stability. This vow is simply a way of saying that there is usually great virtue in staying put rather than moving on. Do we need to hear this in our dramatically mobile culture? How many marriages have been abandoned that could instead have been much more fruitful through perseverance and willing work? How many have stepped away from one church fellowship right when conflict or challenge could have resulted in new places of rootedness in and reliance on Jesus?
- How might you set aside some time to be alone and quiet in God’s presence? How much time would stretch you a little stretch but not be overwhelming? When might you do this in the next month or so?
We have a free download called “Unhurried Time with God Guidelines” that you can get on our website. Just click here.