Practicing solitude has been a part of my life since I was probably 11 or 12. In Jr. High and High School, it was mostly in the form of a daily devotion (about once or twice a week). I was encouraged to do this by my church and youth group. That was good, but in college a mentor of mine helped me see that solitude was much more. He helped me experience solitude beyond just a time to read something encouraging or challenging for the day. Solitude became an opportunity to get away from the pace of life… to reflect on what is really going on in my life… to be still and quiet for longer periods of time than I was accustomed to. I’ve learned over time that solitude means asking myself tough questions and looking closely at who I am becoming. It means seriously trying to listen for the voice of God in the midst of this crazy world we live in.
Solitude became a big part of my life and it has been ever since. But… it was never a daily thing. It never really needed to be. For most of my days since college, I would practice solitude here and there for longer periods of time. I might take a quiet walk for 2 hours one week. The next I might get away at a camp or church to find 2-3 hours of solitude. Sometimes I would go to a cabin for an overnight stay in solitude. Finding random opportunities for solitude worked pretty well for me as a single young-adult and even into my early 30’s.
Sometime over the past 3-5 years, all of that changed. I now have 3 kids, and before I quit my job, my professional life was also much busier. Even now as a stay at home Dad (maybe even more so), I just don’t have random blocks of 2-3 hours to get away all that often. This was probably all a gradual change, so I didn’t really notice it. But after a while, I realized that solitude was no longer a regular part of my life. And that needed to change. That is why I am in need of daily solitude at this point in my life.
The past few weeks have been like visiting with an old friend. Spending time away from the normal pace of life, away from distractions, is just simply life giving. It is awesome. It really doesn’t matter whether it is 20 minutes a day, or 2 hours a week. Challenge yourself this week to find a way to spend some time in solitude.