Refreshing Our Souls with Silence and Solitude

With only a few more days of October left, we will soon be facing the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Before the chaos begins, now is a perfect time to refresh our souls.

The definition of refresh is:

verb (used with object)
  1. to provide new vigor and energy by rest, food, etc. (often used reflexively).
  2. to stimulate (the memory).
  3. to make fresh again; reinvigorate or cheer (a person, the mind, spirits, etc.).

Refreshing our souls sounds easy, doesn’t it? If only it were!

 

Silence and Solitude

In October 2015,  I attended my first of many “Sacred Rhythms” retreats put on by four people who were complete strangers at the time, but are now friends.  I had heard of this retreat from a friend’s Facebook post, and I was intrigued. Two-and-a-half days of quiet time with the Lord was just what I needed after a season of doubt and frustration. The retreat was built around the teaching of spiritual transformation. Throughout the weekend, we gathered together to watch and discuss the video segments before returning to our silence.

To be honest with you, I didn’t know if I could manage the silence part. I like to talk! Thankfully, the Lord gave me the means necessary to focus on Him and keep my mouth closed!

One of the videos used was the “Lectio Divina: Encountering God in Scripture” technique. The focus scripture was Isaiah 43:1-4.

The technique starts by first reading the verses as they are written.

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life.

The technique continues by then reading the verses over a few more times, to see if the particular emphasis on the words changes each time. The final reading entails replacing the word “you” with your name. The three most impactful words to me were,  “YOU ARE MINE!”

“Missy, you are mine!” This statement still brings tears to my eyes!

During that retreat and the ones that followed, I’ve had some great “ah ha!” moments. Moments that I have written down in my journal to reflect back on. Moments that have brought me to my knees in tears. Moments when I have felt the Lord speaking directly to me. Moments when I have prayed fervently over something, only to have been met with silence from the Lord.

Reaffirmation from the Lord

The day before attending that first retreat, I had found out the I did not get a job position I had interviewed for. While walking around the campground and I ended up at to the foot of a cross. The Lord made it abundantly clear at that spot that I was to continue to be a stay-at-home mom. I was to wait until another job opportunity would open up and one did. Ten months later, I applied and was hired for my current job position.

Spending time in the Word, praying, and just focusing on Him was what refreshed my soul that day.

Ways to Refresh Your Soul

Since that first retreat, I have committed myself to periodically leave the house and go to a place where I can fully concentrate on the Lord.  A place where I can refresh, renew, and rest. As much as I love my family, I cannot have silence and solitude around them. They tend to be a distraction, even though they don’t mean to be.

It’s time to grab your Bible, your favorite journal, and a pen, because I am going to share some ways I have used to refresh my soul, and hopefully yours:

  1. If your family is out of the house for the day (or even an hour!), it’s time to put your phone on “do-not-disturb” and not look at it. If needed, put it in another room. Focus solely on the Word and seeking out the Lord with anything on your heart or mind.
  2. Many Christian camps in your area may have an off-season rate for cabin rental. Grab a few friends and make a retreat out of it. It is important to set specific guidelines to make this an effective retreat of silence and solitude for everyone. I am always for a girls weekend, but that’s for another time. Use the time you are given to grow in your relationship with Jesus!
  3. Get outside! Pack a lunch, head to the local park, and take a walk. Acknowledge how beautiful the Lord’s creation is and just sit in silence. Again, put your phone on “do-not-disturb” and avoid the temptation to use it.
  4. Visit the local spiritual retreat center. We are blessed to have the Chiara Center in Central Illinois. For a nominal fee, you can reserve a hotel-style room, and you can either bring food or request meals. You can walk the beautiful grounds, sit in the prayer room or the beautiful cathedral and reflect.

I hope that this post encourages you to seek out time to refresh your soul!

I am passionate about silence and solitude, so I have included some links to help you get started on your journey. As always, please let me know how I can be praying for you!

A special thanks to Becky, Rachel, Susan, and Ken for hosting my first “Silence and Solitude” retreat three years ago. It has forever changed my life!

https://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Rhythms-Arranging-Spiritual-Transformation/dp/0830833331/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1540259655&sr=8-4&keywords=ruth+haley+barton+books

http://www.chiaracenter.org/

 

 

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