An Invitation to Solitude and Silence


Will you take a few minutes today to enter the beauty of solitude and silence to commune with the One who longs to transform your life?

Because life can be so busy, there are days when I want to take a vacation from my cell phone, e-mail, and all the other technology that sometimes feels like it controls our daily lives. But the great news is that no matter how complicated life becomes, God’s invitation for His children remains uncomplicated: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

It’s astounding to think that the Creator of the Universe invites us to discover Him in a more authentic way through the practice of entering into solitude and silence. This is where we find Him most, when we—even if it’s for a short time—leave the busy world behind.

In her book, An Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Ruth Haley Barton writes:

The invitation to solitude and silence is...an invitation to enter more deeply into the intimacy of relationship with the One who waits just outside the noise and busyness of our lives. It is an invitation to communication and communion with the One who is always present even when our awareness has been dulled by distraction. It is an invitation into the adventure of spiritual transformation into the deepest places of our being, an adventure that will result in greater and greater freedom and authenticity and surrender to God than we have yet experienced.

Although God’s invitation involves such beautiful transformation, I have to admit there have been times when the thought of entering into it has felt unsettling and perhaps even a little scary. But why? Why does it sometimes make us uncomfortable?

Communion with Our Own Hearts

One reason is that entering into it means that we not only commune with God, but we are forced to commune with our own hearts. And, this can be difficult because we may become aware of things about ourselves we don’t like, as His Word “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

In her book, Barton also writes, “In silence we become aware of inner dynamics we have not been able to avoid by keeping ourselves noisy and busy.”

Coming to the End of Ourselves

Honest communion with God in solitude and silence also means coming to the end of ourselves. It means admitting that those things we have tried to do to control our lives and satiate the thirst in our souls hasn’t worked. This leads us to a crisis of choice: we can stop running frantically from this promise of happiness to that one, from this false god to that one, and quietly settle ourselves at the Master’s feet, the only place where our souls can ever truly find rest. Or we can continue to pretend that we aren’t desperate—and we’ll miss out on the transformative power of getting alone with God.

Just Bein’ Religious

Because being honest with God in solitude and silence requires courage, sometimes it’s easier to be religious. Religious people can go to church, say all the right Christian phrases, and memorize scripture upon scripture without ever getting real with themselves or with Christ. They may believe they are doing fine, when in reality, they need to get real with God so they can experience real transformation and the abundant life He promises (John 10:10). It can be easy to know the answers but not intimately know The Answer.

Will you take a few minutes today to enter the beauty of solitude and silence to commune with the One who longs to transform your life?

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