Today’s guest post comes from Lisa Murray.
Lisa Murray is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in spiritual, emotional, and relational healing as well as a full spectrum of mental health issues. Having walked through her own struggles with anxiety, despair, and perfectionism, Lisa is passionate about helping others find healing and wholeness in their lives as they learn to embrace a life of abundance and peace. While she grew up in the Florida sunshine, she and her husband now call Franklin, TN home.
In her new book, Peace for a Lifetime , Lisa guides people on their journeys toward building a life of indestructible peace in every area of their lives. You can read more of Lisa’s articles at www.lisamurrayonline.com You can also follow her on Facebook: Lisa Murray, or on Twitter: @_Lisa_Murray.
I remember when my husband and I were first courting. He was my next-door neighbor. I traveled quite a bit and to be honest, it took me awhile before I noticed him beyond the traditional neighborly wave as we passed in the cul de sac.
Our relationship began casually, as neighborhood friends, but the more time we spent together, the more our relationship grew.
We loved taking walks. Living in a large suburban neighborhood afforded us a lot of space for our walks. Sometimes we would talk, sometimes we would simply “be” with each other as we led my 10lb Shih Tzu, Sophie, around the endless maze of sidewalks.
The process of intentionally being together deepened our relationship in ways that couldn’t have happened otherwise.
I could have read his bio or his resume and learned some things about my husband. I could have interviewed family and friends that have known him to get a greater understanding of who he is. I could even go so far as to ask him questions about his values and beliefs, his goals, his faith. Yet even that would give me limited information.
You see, knowing about my husband is not the same as knowing my husband. There is another kind of knowing, an intimacy and trust that can only be acquired by being with someone – intentionally.
It is the same in our faith. For each of us in our relationship with God, in order to build a strong spiritual foundation for our lives to thrive, we must spend intentional time being with Him in order to know Him and to build the intimacy and trust that we desire.
Henri Nouwen describes in Out of Solitude,
“Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our lives are in danger. Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure… The careful balance between silence and words…, solitude and community forms the basis of the Christian life and should therefore be the subject of our most personal attention.”
1. Solitude is the place where you establish your faith. No matter who your parents are or how great their faith is, it is not your faith. Solitude is the place where you get to know your Savior, where you close the door to the rest of the world for a moment simply to be with Him, to experience Him, to grow more in love with Him. Nothing can replace the intimacy and trust that solitude nurtures in your relationship with God.
Do you long to know your identity? Are you drained from continually “doing” while never finding the value of your “being”? When you stop listening outward to find your identity, your value, your worth and start listening inward, the Holy Spirit’s still small voice will echo your soul’s true identity as the Beloved of the Father. The foundation of your faith will grow stronger, deeper, richer.
Psalm 46:10 says, Be still, and know that I am God.
Lamentations 3:25–28 encourages us that, The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.
2. Solitude is the place where your healing begins. I read an article the by Mike Mchargue that shared some scientific data on meditation’s impact on your physical health. It seems that individuals who spend time in meditation and solitude regularly experience less stress, lower blood pressure, and reduced distraction in their lives.
Solitude not only impacts your physical health, it promotes emotional health as well. By cultivating the practice of solitude, you learn how to calm yourself, breathe, and experience healing that can only come as you feel safe enough in His presence to expose your deepest wounds. Solitude provides the salve that heals, restores and forgives. The more you embrace solitude, the more connected you will feel with others, the more compassion and love you will be able to offer others in your life.
3. Solitude is the only place that allows us to experience true relationship. Most of us in the evangelical community have been taught some guideline or outline for effective prayer. Whether it is the ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) model or others, the direction tends to be one-way — us towards God. While prayer is biblical and necessary for spiritual growth and maturity, how well can a relationship flourish if one person does all of the talking?
Solitude is the sacred space where you become still, lean in, and listen to the heartbeat of God. Your only focus is on being with Him. Jesus withdrew regularly into solitude to experience relationship with his Father, to know his Father’s will, to discern his Father’s voice and to passionately fulfill his purpose here on earth. How much more do we need to move beyond knowing about our Abba and develop an intimate, powerful relationship with Him?
Do you feel exhausted and powerless in you life and ministry? Do you long for something more? You don’t have to continue hanging on by a thread. You don’t have to carry your wounds with you one more day. I’ve put together materials in my book, Peace for a Lifetime, to provide simple, practical life steps that will help heal the broken place inside of you. These materials will show you how you can cultivate a life of indestructible and indispensable peace —not just for today, not just for tomorrow, but peace…for a lifetime!
Thanks for Stopping By!
I hope this post has been encouraging and challenging for you. Resist the urge to be a hearer only. Go apply this to your life and see the fruit that flows from solitude!
Also, be sure to tell Lisa thanks! You can leave a comment below or head on over to her site.