“Solitude and stillness create space for the spirit of God to speak.”
As soon as my pastor said the words, I started squirming.
I’m terrible at resting, being still, and seeking solitude. I like to go and do, rather than stay and be. I’m an expert multi-tasker, and I tend to overload my plate. Most days I rock my to-do list, but it’s totally the boss of me. I tend to run on less than half a tank, and I feel weary often.
Resting makes me restless.
Yet, something about my pastor’s words made me long for quiet and solitude. And I kept feeling pulled toward the small inner voice saying, “Come to me, you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Because doers can only do so much.
My pastor went on to talk about Jesus’ need for solitude, so much so that He separated himself and spent time alone with His Father.
If the Son of Man needed to create this space, how much more do we?
I took a good long look at my life, and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d rested well, completely unplugged from the noise and got alone for hours — days — just me and Jesus. It’s time most of us can’t afford, but if I’m honest with myself, I know this is mostly an excuse. If I can squeeze in a girl’s weekend once a year, surely I can make time to be alone a couple of days with God.
By that point during the sermon, I was begging for a quiet corner to confess.
Why is it that we think we can give to others without first receiving what is freely given to us?
I thought of the unanswered email in my inbox — the one with an invitation to get away for a weekend of solitude and solace, for rest and renewal. I hadn’t deleted the email, but I also hadn’t made room for it in my busy life and schedule.
Instead of seeing this as the indecision I thought it was, I saw it as something much more frightening: pride.
When we are too self-assured with our own abilities, we are drawing from a limited resource.
When we are too busy to stop and rest, we are too busy.
Three Reasons We Need Rest and Solitude
1. God made rest a priority
He rested after He worked. Jesus sought solitude and so should we.
2. God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness
When we take time to rest and seek God, we are acknowledging that we need His help. We weren’t meant to carry the weight of the world, but we often don’t realize how badly we need rest until we take it.
3. Respite gives us the opportunity to hear God
More than anything, I want to hear God. But in order to lean in and listen close, I have to be still and quiet.
Before I made it to the car that Sunday afternoon, I answered that email and said, “Please, let me come and rest.” Honestly, three days alone on a solitude retreat intimidates me. But it also excites me. I can’t wait to create the space for God to renew and speak to my soul.
How are you resting? Do you carve out times of solitude to be alone with God?
by Kristen Welch of We are THAT family blog and founder of Mercy House