Silence & Solitude- #LentExp2017

This blog was originally posted in 2014 and has been slightly adapted for #LentExp2016.

WHY SOLITUDE?  

Why solitude?  Because listening to a radio station and the movie Mr. Poppers Penguins while driving is annoying.  What?  This makes sense…I promise.

We have a portable television that we put in the minivan on long trips so the kids can watch movies.  Our van t.v. is somewhat old-school. Therefore, the sound for the television is sent over a selected radio station so it comes through the van’s speakers.  Sometimes it works well.  Other times you get a mix of the actual radio station and the television sound.  When that happens you can’t really hear either.  Too much noise!  Frustrating!  Exactly!

THE BENEFITS OF SOLITUDE

solitude5Ever wonder why Jesus seemed to have a laser-focused awareness on what the Father wanted Him to do in any given moment?  Ever wonder why Jesus had such a clear sense of the purpose and mission for His life?  Before you just chalk it up the fact that Jesus was God in human form, take a look at these verses:  Matthew 4:1, Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:35, and Luke 4:42.  Jesus took time to get away to just be with the Father.

We should do the same.  Perhaps the reason many of us struggle so much when it comes to hearing the voice of God, knowing the Father’s will, and being strong enough to do those things we know we ought to do is that we spend so very little time alone with our heavenly Father.

Solitude is the only way to tune out all of the noise of life.  If I truly want to know God and learn to hear His voice, I must get rid of all of the noise clutter.  Now does my van analogy make sense?

The biggest benefit of solitude is that it is there that you cultivate communication with your heavenly Father.  In solitude we find restoration, refreshing, strength, and focus.  Are you lacking in those things?

Shhhhhhhh…

TIPS FOR YOUR HOUR OF SILENCE & SOLITUDE

I’m going to resist the urge to “over-program” your time.  These tips are meant to at least give you some ideas to get started.

  1. Don’t turn it into reading time.  There’s a big difference between spending an hour of solitude in thinking/prayer and curling up with a good book.  Reading is great…it’s just not the point of this kind of solitude.
  2. Bring a journal.  Write down thoughts and prayers.
  3. Be honest.  Talk to God.  He can handle your honesty (and your tears, and your frustrations, and your yelling, and your silence, and… ok, you get it). NOTE for #LentExp2016… I’m sure you already know this, but talking to God doesn’t have to be audible.
  4. Four things to think about (maybe take 5 mins each to think and write):  God, you, sin, the cross.
  5. I’m a mover.   Feel free to find a good trail and go for a walk.  When it’s cold, I drive around in my truck.  (But then I see people and have to pay attention to driving…more distraction. Maybe there’s a secluded place to park?)
  6. Listen!  There’s nothing you can tell God He doesn’t already know.  There’s a lot God could tell you that you have no clue about.
  7. It will be tough if you’re too comfortable.  A fluffy couch in front of the fireplace is a bad idea.
  8. Don’t take all your time just reading, but using a reading or two from what we send out each week to #LentExp2016 participants may be a good idea for you.
  9. You may feel like you’re wasting time.  That’s expected and actually part of our problem 🙂

Eric Ferris is the Executive Teaching Pastor at Vineyard Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. Eric grew up Roman Catholic, attended a Pentecostal bible college, and has been on staff at churches with both charismatic and reformed theological leanings (and probably likes you more if you have no idea what that means). Eric created the Lent Experience to "help those of us who grew up observing Lent ritualistically to discover the meaning and heart behind Lent and for those who grew up in evangelical churches or no church at all to discover how valuable it is to get in touch with some of these practices that Christians have observed for hundreds of years."

Posted in The Lent Experience 2016