Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, you more than likely have an immediate gut reaction (either positive or negative) to the words, “Silence and solitude.” For all of us introverts, that sounds like a breath of life in a world where alone time is far more filling than crowded get-together’s. For extroverts, that might be your worst nightmare. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, when looking at Jesus’s life, the practice was important to Him, and therefore, should be important to us.
Silence and solitude is the first spiritual discipline we are focusing on in my apprenticeship, and honestly, it’s the one I’m most excited for, for a few reasons- 1) I’m an introvert, 2) I THRIVE on alone time, and 3) With the hustle of my day to day life, the idea of intentionally slowing down and sitting with God sounds like the best rest of all.
I am nervous, however, to see what comes up in it. We are going through “Invitation to Solitude and Silence” by Ruth Haley Barton as our reading for the month, and Dallas Willard, in the foreword, had this to say:
“When we go into silence and solitude, we stop making demands of God. It is enough that God is God and we are his. We learn we have a soul, that God is here, that this world is “My Father’s World”. This knowledge of God progressively replaces the rabid busyness and self-importance that drives most human beings, including the religious ones.”
That’s what I’m most nervous for. For my rhythms and core beliefs to be challenged, for my comfort level to be tested. Silence and solitude, I’ve been told, is one of the most important spiritual disciplines- it’s the one that more often than not acts as a container for many other ones. It makes sense to be starting with it. It’s also an agent to begin noticing and comprehending the truth in our lives, which seems simple, but is something so often missed because the busyness of life gets in the way.
Let the silence commence // let the noticing begin.