In a culture where new is always better and innovation to take everything to the next level is our constant pursuit, I’ve discovered the spiritual practices of the early Church Fathers and the believers before us are often overlooked and even discarded. Relegated to the trash heap as outdated and ineffective for today’s society, we can buy into the lie that the spiritual disciplines of those who’ve gone before us are empty, or even religious and harmful. Recently, I read that if we want to kill the fleshly addiction of people pleasing, we should increase our time in both silence and solitude. It is only here that we receive no external “atta boy” or affirmation. Where we make room for the perfect affections and encouragement of the Triune God.
In my most recent experimentation with Silence and Solitude, I’ve been surprised by the difficulty of this practice. The temptation to go to the presence or acknowledgement of another human – in person or digitally – is overwhelming. When I persevere and push through, I only become more ravenous and insatiable for affirmation. The thirst continues to build. And then, just when I think I can’t take anymore, the perfect presence of God cuts through the mental chaos and brings a peace and a presence that really is beyond anything I could describe.
I want to encourage you to consider incorporating Silence and Solitude into your week, or month. If you are anything like me, you need help in that area.
There are many great resources out there. My favourite is Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton.