A few months ago, I started practicing silence and solitude. I know that sounds fancy, but it’s really not. I simply attempt to spend a few minutes in quiet focus on Jesus twice a day. Some days, I spend two wonderful short times of silence with God. Some days, I forget completely or get sidetracked. Most days are somewhere in between. Even with this imperfect practice, I could tell right away that this new habit was good for me. The pause in the middle of my busy day, the quietness, and the re-focusing of my attention on God were giving me life.
Last week, I only had one time of silence all week. Will it shock you to hear that it was kind of a rough week? Nothing truly terrible happened - I just had to deal with the typical little annoying things life throws at you sometimes. I felt really tired but had trouble sleeping. We went for a beautiful drive along the coast, but I got motion sick so I couldn’t really enjoy the scenery. The hiking trail I was excited to take my family on was overgrown with poison oak. (Poison oak stresses me out so much! I go into hyper-vigilant mode; every plant is suspect! I truly worry about everyone walking in the center of the path. It’s tense for everyone involved).
Ordinarily, I’d do my best to find a silver lining, perhaps rant a tiny little bit about what was upsetting me, perhaps laugh at myself, and then move on, but last week, I got stuck. I was tired and annoyed. I focused on the negative. I was in a funk and didn’t see a way out.
In retrospect, it’s really easy for me to see what I needed then, but in the middle of it, I couldn’t figure out why my life was suddenly so difficult. After a few days of stewing in a bad mood and cultivating a really terrible attitude, I realized what was happening. We were on a family vacation, and had left behind our usual daily routines - a vacation perk! But I had gone overboard and cut my daily quiet times out of my routine, too. Instead of re-focusing on God twice a day, I was letting my mind zero in on all those little mishaps I was experiencing.
God gently called me back into connecting with Him intentionally through my tiny quiet times. When I returned to silence with Him, God was there, welcoming me with open arms, full of grace and mercy. It was so healing to come back into that space after wading through the proverbial poison oak of my negativity.
Is there a practice God is gently calling you to begin or return to? If so, I invite you to start today. Don’t overcomplicate it. Turn to Him - He’s waiting for you.