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The Habit of Solitude

Updated: Aug 29

By Kristine Barnes

NOTE: In 2019 I wrote a note to my daughters, Myndi the one God allowed me to give birth to, and Karen the daughter-in-love God gave me when our son, West, chose her for his wife. During a Lenten study at church called “Lead Like Jesus”, there was a part on Solitude which caught my attention. As West and I agreed, fasting is a time to forego some time-eating activity, like a long leisurely meal, to allow more time to spend with God. Always worth it!!

Solitude is a countercultural and challenging behavior, but it allows us to learn to be truly alone with God, without an agenda. We can step back from endless to-do lists and demanding relationships. Solitude allows us to be refreshed and restored by the natural rhythms of life. Solitude allows us to hear the still small voice of God tell you that He loves you.

I Kings 19:11-18 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a delicate whispering voice. 13 When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he covered his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A voice asked him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 14 He answered, “I have been absolutely loyal to the Lord God of Hosts even though the Israelites have abandoned the covenant they made with You, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and now they want to take my life.” 15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came and then head for the wilderness of Damascus... 18 I still have left in Israel 7,000 followers who have not bowed their knees to Baal or kissed the images of him.

God’s Revelation to Elijah! This was when God spoke to Elijah…after frightening displays of his awesome power! God demonstrated his care and love for Elijah, speaking quietly, one-on-one, with his obedient servant. God told Elijah that He had everything under control, and that his enemies would be destroyed.

Jesus regularly modeled solitude before handling tests, trials, and temptations. He took time to recalibrate and find the “true north” of his Father’s will and pleasure. Jesus knew that his self-worth was not equal to performance-plus-opinion of others. He understood that only one opinion counted; that of his Father. The same is surely true for us!

Practice solitude for yourself with Psalm 46:10. Sit quietly in a private space.

Breathe in and out slowly as you contemplate the verse in segments:

Breathe in God’s presence and peace. Speak to your Father about whatever is on your heart. Lay all your concerns at the foot of the Cross. Then turn your hands palms up and open to receive. Consider God’s character; his mercy, love, grace, power. Listen for what God might be telling you. Give Him thanks for the many blessings you receive each day. Remember that He created you, that He loves you, that He will always be with you. Be still and be renewed.

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