A team post is a post written by multiple members of the True Pursuit Team in response to a question or concept.
Henri Nouwen made the following statement in his book Making All Things New,
Without solitude, it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. Solitude begins with a time and place for God, and Him alone. If we really believe not only that God exists, but also that He is actively present in our lives – healing, teaching, guiding – we need to set aside time and space to give Him our undivided attention.
The True Pursuit team has spent some time on this subject and often talks about the relationship between solitude and community. I have asked the team to take a minute and think about how you pursue and experience solitude in your life, and then offer the reader the benefit of your experience. Each picture is of one of that team member’s favorite solitude places.
“For me, exploring solitude grew out of a desire to find out more. My devotional rhythm was producing some good reading and journaling time and my desire was deepening to explore what it means to ‘give Him our undivided attention.’ I have found I can sit quietly for several minutes now, usually early in the morning, in a space and room which I have to myself. I have come to embrace the time of being fully alone, and trying to be fully present to God, to the Trinity, at the same time.
I have begun to trust in the claim or promise that Jesus, that Abba and the Spirit are present with me. And that I can hear from the Trinity, even words or movement in my heart which can apply to the day’s worries or concerns. And I have come to trust in the good intentions my Father has for me and for my life with others. I no longer approach this time from a sense of obligation or duty, but now I interpret the movement of my heart to be from a hunger to be in the flow of what God has intended for me that day.”
“My favorite part of the solitude journey has been seeing how the Trinity reveals even more to me about my time of solitude when I bring my ‘discoveries’ into the True Pursuit community. It’s almost as if the playfulness of the Trinity is waiting for me to more fully unpack the gifts they have offered in solitude by bringing my solitude together with each of my brothers’ solitude. And then what spills forth out of our lives to others all around us is ministry! J”
“This makes sense to me based on the number one goal of the Christian faith being intimacy with God. Intimacy doesn’t happen unless you make space for it. I liken this to my marriage with my wife Shari. When we create a rhythm of spending time one on one, giving each other the gift of full presence to the other, it communicates love and spurs connection. This love and connection overflows beyond the sacred moment into everyday life. Not only do we do things with more of a “togetherness”, we also get to bring more love and connection to our children our work places, and the world around us, making every moment sacred. When we create the rhythm of intimacy in solitude with God in our lives we communicate and receive love and connection overflowing to the everyday moments, living life in “togetherness” with God offering more love and connection to the world around us, making every moment sacred.”
“I have been pursuing Solitude for two decades. It does not mean I have been faithful in my pursuit. Nor does it mean I have it mastered. Nevertheless, I continue to pursue it. Here are two essential learnings for me. First, I need to be open to receiving grace. That means for me, resting in grace, rejoicing in grace and receiving it when I have pursued Solitude well and especially when I have not. In fact, think of power of grace! It is the driver to Solitude and grace is what is offered to me in Solitude. Secondly, I have learned that emptiness is an essential condition of Solitude. Our lives are so full of noise, busyness, things to do, or goals to accomplish that by choice, often by default, we leave little room for the Spirit of God to fill us. Therefore, Solitude is about emptying. Intentionally emptying all the stuff in me and around me to make room for the divine. Nouwen’s words are eerily true, “Without solitude, it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life.”