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Find your beach

January 20, 2011

I looked past the dunes and saw no one. All alone and amazed by it, I wondered if I was safe.  I expected my family to emerge from the beach grass and ask what was for dinner. It was so strange to be so utterly … alone.  I was tempted to feel empty and lonely.  Instead, God overwhelmed me. I reveled in the chance to pray aloud, to lay in the sand and talk to the Lord, to sing with abandon, and to laugh in enjoyment of His creation and the truths He stirred in my mind. If anyone came to the beach, they must’ve left when they saw what they thought was a crazy woman. It was not loneliness. It was solitude.

 

Finding a deserted beach and hours to drink in the Lord is not common in our day. We must seek solitude.  Jesus made a habit of going to a “lonely place apart” (Matt. 14:13).  Seeking out a solitary place was essential to Jesus’ ministry to people. It’s easy to forge ahead with the “doing,” but even Jesus took time to recharge.  The more filled our lives are with people, the more necessary it is to step aside to find refreshment.


The Discipline of Solitude allows us to:

Release our FEARS ~ Most of us resist being alone, seeking groups and people, instead. When we get alone, we exchange control for putting our TRUST in God. Kristi discussed the part trust plays in Submission yesterday. Getting alone forces us to trust God is sufficient to care for us.  When faced with problems, our instinct is to answer, defend, explain … but silence is the response of a heart  filled with trust, a heart strengthened in the garden of Solitude.

As we discipline ourselves to stop talking, we let God act for us as our Justifier.  Letting go of our modern mindset, craving company and words, it seems natural to open our hands to display our trust in  God, inviting Him to be our only Companion.  When we risk being still, we discover God in a deeper way than while in motion (Psalm 46:10).

Replace our DISTRACTIONS ~ Instead of being swept away be life, Solitude requires the Spirit fruit of self control to be quiet with the Lord. Silence creates emotional and spiritual space. In following Jesus’ pattern of restructuring habits and priorities of mankind, we still the motion of our days. We exchange uncertainty about this life with confidence from being still and knowing He is God.

Ecclesiastes 5:2  “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”

Redeem our TIME ~ It’s not easy to find this place of solitude, but Foster encourages us that solitude is “more a state of mind and heart than it is a place.”  Our minds settle on Him and experience peace that replenishes. Valuing the discipline of Solitude means we create opportunity to hear God and be refreshed by Him.

So where is this beach, so you can go there? God may have a different, better place to meet with you. Sometimes solitude must be captured when & where we least expect it. It can happen anywhere or time, when we redirect the focus of our hearts:

  • Instead of filling 10 minutes in the car line with a phone call, enjoy the solitude. Talk to God aloud or just concentrate on a scripture and be quiet with Him, as He works the Word into your mind.
  • Instead of using that corner chair to pile laundry, make it a special place for solitude.
  • Instead of looking at this weekend and filling it only w/cleaning & kids’ sports, carve out space for solitude. It could be the sweetest time of your weekend and the refill you need to approach next week.

Lost moments are reclaimed.  Sacred places are created.  Meaningful times are experienced.

 

Don’t apologize for being still or silent or embracing sweet solitude. Jesus found refreshing, so He could be a blessing to those around Him.  Sweet things from the Lord await us on the beach!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. stephanieshott permalink
    January 20, 2011 7:02 am

    Julie ~ The beach. I can’t tell you how many moments of solitude I’ve found in that place. For me, it’s where it’s easiest to be still and know that He is God. But I love how you remind us that solitude is not so much in a place to go and be as it is a place in our hearts. In this age of constant communication, solitude is definitely a discipline that needs to be intentional.

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      January 20, 2011 8:00 am

      And one thing that made “my beach” such a sweet time of solitude … it’s in a cell phone dead zone. 🙂 Yes, today’s technology really has a tight grip on us. I’m thinking a lot about this lately and how to take every thought/tech tool captive, not letting it master life. For the sake of solitude, we have to make it yield to the Lord’s control.

      Julie Sanders http://www.comehaveapeace.blogspot.com

  2. January 20, 2011 7:49 am

    Julie- love this! I’m actually going away to South Padre Island for a day and a half just to ‘be’. Quietness, solitude, Jesus, my journal, and writing time. People say, “your going to be alone?!” And I can’t wait for a little beach time with Jesus. The alone time (whether a day or an hour) actually makes me come back a better mom, wife, and friend. It’s recharge time!
    So thank you for this post! It’s really good stuff! 😉

  3. January 20, 2011 8:03 am

    No beach in West Texas! However, there are other places for solitude. I just need to discipline myself to go there and be quiet with God more often. Thank you Julie!

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      January 20, 2011 8:16 am

      While we lived in one of the most populated cities of the world, the Lord really taught me the non-negotiable need to get alone with Him … even amidst the millions. It seems like the more our lives our filled with people, the more we need to be alone with Him. West Texas …. hmmmm …. desert? 🙂

      Julie Sanders http://www.comehaveapeace.blogspot.com

  4. Kristi Stephens permalink*
    January 20, 2011 1:37 pm

    Oh, friend – I needed to read this today. Thank you for this beautiful picture of solitude and reminder to find that quiet “garden of solitude” with Him today!

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      January 20, 2011 1:50 pm

      It’s challenging when you have a group of little ones under your apron, but it’s so worth finding a way to carve it out. It helps us to be who we need to be, especially to the little ones tugging on the apron. Wish I lived close and could help make some solitude possible, but I will ask the Lord to grant that gift to you in an unexpected way.

      Julie Sanders http://www.comehaveapeace.blogspot.com

  5. January 20, 2011 11:50 pm

    Love this post! I know I say that everytime I comment, but I do mean it. You ladies are awesome.

    Solitude. It isn’t hard for me to get the time physically at this time in my life, but anyone else have the problem of getting their mind quiet? When I am alone, my mind goes a million miles per second. I read, or pray and before long I’m drifting off into what to do next, what all I should be doing, etc. It truely takes practice of this discipline for me to be able to be in solitude with just me and the LORD.

    Thanks again for the great post and pointers on seeking solitude.

    ~Blessings,
    Marita

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      January 21, 2011 12:13 pm

      Marita, I can relate. There’s such an explosion of information and connection in our world, and I think our brains are often on overload. I find that if I’m careful not to gorge myself on mental input during the day, it helps. It also helps me to have a notepad “around” so I can jot down something that comes to mind, realizing that sometimes the Lord puts a thought into my mind during the quiet, wanting me to follow up on it. Creating space and time for solitude really does require setting up some “fences,” but even my kids learned to understand that I need time alone with Jesus, so I can be the mommy I need to be.

      Julie Sanders http://www.comehaveapeace.blogspot.com

  6. January 22, 2011 12:05 am

    “We must seek solitude.” I think this point is something many of us forget, in our busy lives, full lives filled with people to love. We have to actively go after (chase or run away to, somtimes?) solitary time. But you are so right, that we need that solitude to strengthen our relationship with God so that, in turn, we can serve and love better.

    I always find comfort and reassurance (and conviction) in remembering that Christ sought after rest and solitude, as well.

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      January 22, 2011 1:53 pm

      So true. I need this reminder often. I can find myself “guilty” for getting alone and away, but it doesn’t take long for me to find myself empty and unable to meet needs when I refuse solitude. I’m learning that when my tank is reading close to “empty,” I’m in need of some solitude to refill.

      Julie Sanders http://www.comehaveapeace.blogspot.com

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