I’m getting antsy. I’m ready for a break from the routine, ready to get away for a few days.
Each year, I take a week around the first of October and head out for a spiritual retreat. For the past several years, I have utilized a program called Wilderness, run by Christ In Youth. And it has always been an incredible time of spiritual growth and reflection for me.
I try to take a short break every few weeks, a day away where I seek solitude and spend the day in prayer and reading God’s Word. But once a year, I take a bigger chunk of time to really revitalize my soul, and Wilderness has been a key factor in making that a priority for my life.
Solitude is a spiritual discipline that most of us are probably not comfortable with. In our busy society, and a very noisy society, getting away by ourselves and being quiet is very intimidating. But it is very necessary.
At Wilderness, one of the elements I love so much is the opportunity to find a place where I can be alone to listen to God for several hours a day, each day, throughout the week. Wilderness is held at Bear Trap Ranch, outside of Colorado Springs, and each morning, I find a spot in the mountains where I can see peaks all around me, and the golden aspens moving in the breeze. It is incredible peaceful, and I relish this time by myself each day.
Solitude is something I have come to appreciate. It’s something that Jesus modeled for us, because he spent a lot of time off on his own, seeking the Father through prayer. Sometimes it was in the early mornings (Mark 1:35), other times it was in the evening (Luke 6:12). Many times it was before a major event in his life and ministry, like the transfiguration, his arrest, or the choosing of his disciples. But regardless of when or where, it is essential to note that he did this regularly and frequently. So should we.
There are several benefits to solitude. Let me share a few of the most beneficial ones I have discovered.
Solitude Offers A Time Of Refreshing
The stresses of daily life can often be overwhelming. Getting off by yourself for a time of solitude can help regain a sense of balance in life, because it allows the Holy Spirit to flow into our lives and refresh us. In the noise of every day life, it can be hard to hear that still, small voice that God so often uses. When we eliminate all of that noise, we can listen better and free up our minds, our hearts, and our souls to be refreshed by his life-giving presence.
Solitude Offers A Time Of Healing
Very often, the stresses of everyday life heap more and more baggage upon our shoulders. Those hurtful words from others, or the things in life that cause us pain, such as a death or a strained or broken relationship, can weigh heavily upon us. But when we get away and seek God during a time of solitude, he can comfort and heal those wounds, if we only would allow him to.
Solitude Offers A Time Of Humility
Being quiet before God can be a source of humility, because we have to set aside our own strengths, our own desires, our own wisdom to allow God to speak into our lives. That requires us to let go of ourselves, and be humble before him.
Solitude Offers A Time To Set Priorities
If we are not careful, we can easily be overcome by the day to day pressures of life. The urgent raises its ugly head and supersedes what is truly important, and solitude helps us regain a sense of perspective, keeping the top things in the top spots. Without such times, we can easily become very unbalanced in our priorities and we lean on things that can’t sustain us for our strength. Solitude helps us refocus.
Solitude is a critical aspect of our spiritual growth, and it is something that we neglect way too often. But just like Jesus did, we must get away from people, from the noise of daily life, from the hustle and bustle, in order to be truly present before God. Only then can we be truly present with those others who are important in our lives, our spouses, our kids, our families, our friends.
You and I need to take a retreat on a regular basis with no other purpose than just to find solitude, and allow God to refresh and refuel our souls.
Question: Do you take a time of retreat for the purpose of solitude on a regular basis in your life? If so, what does that look like for you? If not, have you considered trying this discipline out? You can leave a comment by clicking here.