As I type in the title the words seem haunting and blunt.  Perhaps even stirring negative feelings.  The practice of silence and solitude can truly feel worthless, and leaves no room for ego.  Whether it’s 10 minutes or 1 hour, it’s not something that can really even provide useful fuel for burning a brag fire.

Henri J. M. Nouwen writes that solitude can cause an inner chaos to open up in us, which is disturbing and confusing, causing us to desire the return of busyness [1].  I find this rather true, as thoughts and feelings I didn’t even know existed rise to the surface.

I’ve often made excuses for not spending more time in silence and solitude.  Here are a few:

  • I have a deep well.  I just don’t need to spend as much time in silence and solitude as those with “shallow” wells.
  • I’m a night person.  That’s really the only time the house is quiet enough, but if I try it then, I usually just end up falling asleep.
  • I can do it on the fly – like when I’m driving somewhere, or in the middle of doing something else.
  • I hear from God just fine, without having to dedicate a specific time to trying to hear from him.

Maybe you could relate to some of these excuses, or even have some to add.  The reality is that the spiritual life is not just a gift, but also really hard work [2].  We are deceiving ourselves if we think that it should just come easy (see Mark 10:23).

I welcome you to join me in the journey, of which I am re-committed to as of today.  Spotty times of being alone with God may have perhaps gotten me through in a pinch, but there is so much more.  God awaits.

[1] Henri J.M. Nouwen (edited by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith), Devotional Classics (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005), 82
[2] Ibid, 80