My Peace I Give You...

solitudeI recently read an article by John Ortberg about soul-fatigue. In the article, John explains that this kind of fatigue happens when we stay up too late and rise too early; when we try to fuel ourselves with coffee and donuts and refuse to take time to exercise; when we push unpleasant emotions under the surface and keep going as if nothing were wrong. The result is that we feel separated from God, ourselves and others.

solitudeI recently read an article by John Ortberg about soul-fatigue. In the article, John explains that this kind of fatigue happens when we stay up too late and rise too early; when we try to fuel ourselves with coffee and donuts and refuse to take time to exercise; when we push unpleasant emotions under the surface and keep going as if nothing were wrong. The result is that we feel separated from God, ourselves and others.

The article goes on to say that Jesus engaged in certain practices which allowed God's grace to keep replenishing His spirit. He prayed, he participated in community with his disciples, he engaged in corporate worship, he meditated on scripture and he enjoyed God's creation.

These practices, and his tender intimacy with Abba were the source of his love, wisdom, and power. We read in Luke 5:16 that Jesus often withdrew to a quiet place to pray. His ministry was an overflow of his oneness with the Father and his rythm of life.

The Soul Craves Rest
Our wills sometimes rejoice in striving; our bodies were made to know the exhilaration of challenge; our minds get stretched when they need to focus and learn new things, but our soul craves rest. One of the biggest challenges with soul-fatigue is that it's often hard to read the signs. They can be subtle. Things seem to bother us more than they should; it's harder to resist temptation; our judgement suffers; we have less courage.

Jesus said "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

When you give your soul rest, you open it to the peace Jesus intends for you.

Here are some practical tips from an article on Crosswalk.com, entitled 8 Steps to Meeting God in Silence and Solitude:

  • Accept God’s invitation to rest in His presence during solitude and silence.
  • Rather than showing up tired for your special meetings with God, give your body the rest it needs by getting enough sleep and exercise, eating well, and drinking water regularly.
  • While you’re spending time in solitude and silence, take deep breaths and let the peace of God’s presence fill your body.
  • Let go of concerns that your mind is trying to hold onto during solitude and silence by opening yourself up to the revelation that comes from beyond your mind – from God Himself, who can speak to you about things that your mind can’t figure out, but your spirit can hear.
  • Ask God to help you quiet your mind and listen to Him with your spirit, trusting that He will respond to your prayer by speaking to you.
  • If grief is weighing on your soul, confess it to God.
  • When your soul feels grateful for God’s love, express that gratitude to God.

Much of our faith and practice is about words—preaching, teaching, talking with others. Yet all of these words are not enough to take us into the real presence of God where we can hear his voice and experience true rest for our souls. I'm looking forward to ALR this spring, but attending ALR twice a year isn't enough... I need to regularly practice the discipline of silence and solitude. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not very good at it. But with God's help, I'm getting better!

Attending is the Key to Hearing God
 

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