“In a world with so much noise and clutter, we need to create space to listen to God’s voice. Let solitude and silence be your allies, not your enemies. May they be our deep friends, and not awkward visitors.Invest in your soul. Take time to read the Scriptures. Pray and listen. Go for a walk. Soak in God’s presence.”
–Eugene Cho, pastor
Today, as I read this quote, I thought, “Yes!” But as a momma, I know how hard it can be to practice silence and solitude. I mean, seriously, when you have little kids, is it EVER quiet?!?! I don’t know about anyone else, but the early years of parenting were extremely difficult for me. So much so that we’ve (affectionately) labeled them the “Dark Years”. I needed sleep whenever and wherever I could get it.
With the best of intentions, I would sit down to read my Bible or to pray, and I’d fall asleep. Instead of showing myself grace, I would get upset. But I realized, God knows exactly what I need. So, perhaps, that nap was a gift from my Abba Father! I began to “rest” in the Lord! Indulging in those naps without feeling guilt. Realizing life wouldn’t always be like this. One day, the kids would grow up, begin to sleep more consistently, and life would get back to “normal” (Whatever the heck ‘normal’ is, right?!)
And guess what? That one day did happen. Our children did get older and eventually, we found our family’s rhythm of life, so as to speak. In doing so, we also discovered other rhythms we desired to implement into our lives: spiritual disciplines like silence, solitude, Sabbath, simplicity, and others.
We began taking these “disciplines” more seriously. Not as rules to follow or rigid to-do lists to check off, but as rhythms of grace that drew us closer to the Father and helped us to slow down our lives. We discovered we were able to live more intentionally, more purposefully.
Along the way, I did find silence and solitude. At first, it was difficult to sit for ten minutes, much less and entire hour in quietness and stillness, but it did happen. And I discovered the enormous benefits of resting in the Lord, waiting patiently for Him.
And listening for His still, small voice.
To be sure, we don’t have it all figured out. This is a lifelong journey. But Jon and I have realized the importance of purposefully practicing the spiritual disciplines. Together, we are creative to carve out time in each of our schedules to prioritize these practices. Occasionally, we even take a one- or two-day retreat by ourselves while the other stays home with the kids.
So, Momma (or Daddy), show yourself some grace. But, PLEASE, don’t throw in the towel. God loves you. He earnestly desires to spend time with you and to reveal Himself to you, so that you might experience His deep, deep love. Throw out the rules and rest in the Lord. And if you need it, take a nap. It really is a gift!
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.” (Psalm 62:5)
Do you practice the spiritual disciplines? If so, which ones? Are there others you desire to incorporate into your life?
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation by Ruth Haley Barton
Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster