Wednesday, March 23, 2011


During Lent this year at University, we are inviting the congregation on all three campuses to join together in spiritual disciplines. This week's discipline is solitude. Everybody was challenged to spend one hour a day alone or take a half day during the week alone. In the south sanctuary, I invited the congregation to use that time to listen for the will of God in their lives. As I expected, I got a number of responses. Some people told me about what that already looks like in their lives and thanked me for the invitation. Others responded as though I had asked them to have some sort of unnecessary elective surgery. There is some truth to the idea that we are all wired a little different. Some of us naturally enjoy solitude. Others see it as punishment.

I can actually see why some might see it as punishment. I don't know about you, but when I got in trouble as a child, what did my parents tell me to do? Go to my room. Alone. "And don't make a sound." What my parents didn't realize was that, even as a child, I was an introvert. These two things aren't always connected but I also realized later when I became a Christian that I am a contemplative. So, my parents never realized it but, that punishment was not at all punishment to me. I loved and still love being by myself. As an introvert, time alone recharges my social batteries. As a contemplative, it is how I best connect with God.

When I was single with no children finding solitude was exceptionally easy. Now that I am married and have two children in my house, it has become a discipline for me. So my time of solitude comes early in the morning. I awake between 5 and 5:30 almost every day (even my days off) for a time of quiet, scripture reading and contemplation. Around 6:30 the time is comes to a natural end by the need to feed a baby or get a little boy dressed for school. These days, other than vacation and retreats, that is all I get, but it is enough for now.

So how about you? Are you engaging in the discipline of solitude this week? Or, is it already part of your life? Post a comment below and let us know what this looks like for you.


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