Tag Archives: Solitude

Back Porch Thoughts

One of my favorite things to do each morning is to go sit on my back patio, especially in the early morning.  I’ll go back there for prayer and time in the word, or just to sit and think.  In the early morning, there are some awesome sounds around.  There are crickets chirping, an owl hooting nearby, squirrels running around, and birds singing, particularly two cardinals that have made our back yard their home.  In our small half acre, I have grown to love the surroundings of  my back yard under the tree canopy.  When I can’t get away this has become my getaway.

It’s funny the thoughts that race through the mind in those moments.  So many holy and silent moments where I just get to converse and listen to the Father.  In those times, the breeze is blowing through the trees and the birds are amplified.  Something about listening to creation that enables me to draw nearer and hear the Father more.

There are other times, when hearing the Father and really getting locked in becomes difficult.  It’s always the same sounds that distract me.  The sounds of the highway not far off. When those sounds sometimes get amplified in the morning air, it can become a big distraction for many reason.  For one, it constantly reminds me of the busyness of this world and the fact that we always have things to do and places to go.  Very little time to rest.

I was reminded of Mark 6:31, where Jesus tells his disciples, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest a while.”  Rest and quiet was so essential to Jesus.  Many times throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus going off to be alone to rest and pray with the Father.  I have come to realize that this is such an essential part of life and why I like to take time on my back porch to rest and sit and ponder life, pray, and read.

Jesus valued this time to get away and we should too.  Dallas Willard reminds me of something else in relation to this.  He said, “Daily ‘Quiet Time’ as the method for spiritual growth is like trying to take a shower one drop at a time! It’s inefficient.  For many people their inconsistencies plague them with guilt. It’s much more helpful to have extended times of being immersed in God.” Reading this, really gets me thinking.  Jesus did just go off for a minute or even 5, 10, or 30 minutes.  Went off for extended time periods.  At one point, 40 days.

This is what the noise of traffic that distracts me also reminds me of.  This is not enough.  To really grow with God, I need to take more prolonged periods where I can be with the Father for a few days.  This world is so busy that it feels like it’s impossible to do.  But I tell you, having been able to do this a few times the last couple of years has energized me more than I could have ever imagined and allowed me to really hear God’s calling on my life.

This is the way my brain operates.  It may seem like I’m looking very deep into something as simple as sitting on my back porch, but think about it.  We were created for intimacy and dependence with God.  We were created to have a deep and fruitful relationship as Father/son or Father/daughter.  It is now the first priority of my life, to cultivate a build on that relationship and getting time with just myself and the Father is of utmost importance as it is for you.  Daily quiet time, helps to keep us engaged and that’s what I use my back porch time for.  Real growth is found when we can take longer times to be with the Father.  Best done unplugged in at those places where we feel the closest to Him, often in the wilderness in some way.

These are my musings for today.  Just sitting out here made me really ponder the value that is placed in these moments outside being in the midst of the beauty of creation.  As C.S. Lewis said, “We do not want to merely see beauty, we want to become a part of it.

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Unplug…It’s A Must

Have you ever stopped to just realize how dependent we are on technology now.  Do you even remember what life was like before you had a cell phone?  It’s amazing how our society has changed so much in the last 15-20 years.  We have become a society that is absolutely addicted to technology, particularly our cell phones and tablets.  Yes, they provide a great way to stay in contact with each other, but have you ever just stopped and thought about just how much they run your life.  And with that, it can begin to take you away from things that God wants you to experience with Him or with those around you.   We’ve been guilty of this sometimes in my house, where we just spend too much time in our phones and less time communicating with each other or just spending time.

Hear’s an example of how addicted we are and it did not hit me until the Wild at Heart Boot Camp.  The very first night, we were asked to turn our cell phones off. Now no body said anything, but John pointed to something there.  Inside us, and I know I felt it, our hearts almost gasped.  It’s like our minds are telling us….Noooooo!  That’s how addicted we have become.  Our lives are ran by our technology.  We see it on the road with people constantly on their phones driving…guilty here!  Walking around a store or in the office, people are always in their phones.  We just cannot let go, there is always something to connect to; a meeting or what have you.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love technology.  It has enabled me to share my thoughts with so many people though this blog.  It enables me to stay connected with friends and family all over the world. It can, however get very dangerous though if we let it run our lives.  If we just spend our time obsessed with social media, email, internet, and apps, we miss so much in this world.  We forget how to relate and connect with people on a personal level and not just through text or status updates.

Simple solution y’all….Unplug!  That’s all there is to it.  Take some time and just unplug from the world.  My 4 days unplugged in Colorado was something truly amazing.  Something I desperately needed for my heart and my sanity.  Take some time, whether it’s a day or a weekend.  Turn off the phones, tablets, and computers and get away.  Go somewhere.  May go camping, hiking, fishing, or hunting.  If you don’t care for the outdoors, go stay in a hotel away from everything.  Get in the car and just hit the road.  Do something disconnected from everything.

You will be surprised at the clarity you get when you do.  Take in the world around you.  Spend time with God in complete quite and solitude.  It’s unreal how much you’ll realize that time was needed.  I don’t get enough of these moments, but I will be making more of these moments.  We all need it.  Get away and refuel.  It will do your soul a lot of good.

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Finding Peace For Restoration

We live in a very noisy society today.  Everyday we get up and go about our business, we are bombarded with a million distractions around us, stuff on radio and tv, social media, daily traffic on our commute, drama in our circles, drama in the workplace, and so much more.  From the time we get up, until the time we go to sleep, we are under constant bombardment which can easily distract and wear us out, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.  With so much going on, many of us don’t take the time to step away and find time to sit in peace and solitude to restore ourselves.  I was reading an article yesterday about solitude an and the importance we have of finding a place where we can stay away from the distractions of this world and restore ourselves in solitude.

Some where do you go for that peace or do you at all?  For me, there are a few places I find helpful for my restoration.  First for my daily time, it comes in the early morning hours, before the house starts moving.  When I get this time, I dive into God’s Word and meditate and journal on what I’m reading that day and then pray on it.  This is a daily practice that helps really get the day going.  Also during my morning workouts at the gym.  I plug my ears in with Praise and Worship music whenever I workout and stay locked in for the next hour and half.  For my major restoration from the year of craziness that comes from work and family priorities, it comes when I am at the beach.  There is something about getting up in the early morning and walking on the sand before all the other vacationers come out.  I listen to the ocean, feel the breeze, and in that place I feel completely locked in with God.

During any of these times, it’s not about being alone and lonely, it’s about solitude.  As the article I read in And Sons Magazine describes, there is a distinct difference between loneliness and solitude.  The author describes loneliness as “Cold. It haunts us in the quiet hours when we have failed to create enough white noise to drown it out. It is scary. It is deafening.”  Solitude however, “is the quiet of standing in a windless snowfall. The snow acts as a sound dampener—it’s hard to hear a car even if it’s only 20 feet away. It’s more than quiet—it is substantive, as if you could stretch out your hand and push into the silence like a down pillow.”

As the article also points out, there is one who made moments of solitude a regular practice.  That is none other that Jesus Christ.  Many times in the Gospels we read of Jesus stepping away into the wilderness to pray and restore himself.  To connect with The Father.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone….” (Matthew 14:23)

Then of course there was the 40 days in the wilderness which prepared Jesus for what was to come in His ministry and in fulfilling His purpose according Scripture.

These moments of solitude are extremely important parts of our lives and our restoration and preparation for what is still to come in our lives.  In these moments we can connect closer with God.  We can sit still in silence and fill His Spirit fill us and restore us.  It is in these moments where we can fully let go of the stresses this world brings in our daily lives and talk with God and listen to where He leads.  These moments are priceless and really help prepare for the next steps in our journey.

I am going to touch on this more in the coming weeks.  My next video blog will come out in July and will be on this very subject.  I think this is such an important part of our lives in our walk with God and finding where He is leading us, dealing with the spiritual battles and sin that the Adversary throws our way every day, and in restoration our lives and relationships with those around us.  We all need that place and that time to find peace and restoration.