The words in the title come from an intense scene in The Incredibles movie. I couldn’t help but think of them as I was preparing to give a ‘VILLAGE’ talk on the importance of Solitude & Silence.
Do you ever notice how long it takes for your phone to power off? Or your computer? I realize there are technical reasons for this. Most of us simply keep our devices on – all the time. With a tap of button or the flip of a screen, our phones and computers are ready to serve us. This is because we keep our e-devices in sleep mode. It was Steve Jobs who said, (and I paraphrase) “Why would you want to turn off your computer when you could simply put it to sleep? This way, when you’re ready to use it again, it’s ready to go, no waiting time at all.”
Most of us can agree that Mr. Jobs was a genius (apple user or not). However, I can’t help but think that this is just mirroring our complex problem of not being able to shut things off, most importantly, us. Just like our phones or laptops, we don’t shut down. Just like the energizer bunny, we keep going and going and going. The problem is that life is more complex than a 30 second commercial about batteries lasting longer and longer.
As we continue our quest to move DEEPER into relationship with God, we must take a good look at the importance of Solitude & Silence. They are two of the many Spiritual Disciplines that help us create space for God to speak into our lives. Many writers on the subject list them as things we do to: deepen our relationship with God, discern next steps in our life, hear from God, reflect on where we’ve been and where we need to be. You’ll know them as…prayer, journaling, fasting, giving, serving, community, etc.
Solitude & Silence seem to make the top of this longer list of disciplines. There’s a good reason why – we are in desperate need of ‘alone time’, even though it’s one of the hardest things to fit into our schedule. If there’s one text (out of many) we could look to, it would be Psalm 46:10. The Psalmist encourages us to “Be still and know that I (HE) is God”. If we could just read that and sit for a few minutes in complete silence, we’d be better for it.
We learn about this best from Jesus. He often took time ‘alone’ to prayer, reflect, reenergize, and rest. This is Jesus we’re talking about. God. He purposely removes himself from the equation to be alone. We see it multiple times in his life and ministry. Here are some examples…
Matt 14:23 “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone” Mark 1:35 “In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” Luke 4:42 “At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him”
Solitude & Silence give us breathing room, from our hectic lives, so we can better see where we’ve been, where we’re going, and how God might want to speak into our life.
Here’s one problem, many of the people who’ve written about this in the past have been monks or priests or pastors. Many of which didn’t have home obligations. (I must add that many of the present/modern writers are just like us, with families and lots to do) They have set aside their lives and jobs for, what we’ll call, full time ministry. Most people can’t identify with that. So this begs the question: How can we implement times of Solitude & Silence into our lives that are already so full of everything else? I can’t answer that question fully, because it’s a question that you’ll have to address by connecting your desire to grow DEEPER and your present life situation. However, I will leave you with a few things to think about.
Why? We want to create space for God to speak, and for us to listen.