Saturday, June 4, 2011

Solitary Refinement

Although it can feel like a prison, solitude is actually a discipline that has its main function in being a means of grace. This is very much where I am right now with all the transitions in my life--leaving things, moving out of places, ending jobs, saying goodbye's... I'm not telling you this in a "poor me" kind of tone, but rather I say it because I know that despite what I feel (both justified and some unjustified emotions), God is at work. By no means is the process easy, but I know it's well worth it. And in the midst of it all, I am learning (though sometimes i'm not the most gracious learner) to trust Him despite the illusions my uncertain external circumstances may paint for me.

Henry Nouwen eloquently states what i'm going through quite well in these few snippets (emphasis mine):

"As soon as we are alone,...inner chaos opens up in us. This chaos can be so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again. Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does not mean that we immediately shut out all our inner doubts, anxieties, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distraction manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important." 

"It is this nothingness (in solitude) that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone. The wisdom of the desert is that the confrontation with our own frightening nothingness forces us to surrender ourselves totally and unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ." 

"solitude begins with a time and a place for God, and God alone. If we really believe not only that God exists but also that God is actively present in our lives-- healing, teaching and guiding-- we need to set aside a time and space to give God our undivided attention. (Matt 6:6)"  

We are not confined in solitude--but rather, we are being refined. I pray that by His grace, we--I-- give Him room to do so. 

"They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will rise up on wings like eagles. They will run and never faint." Thanks for the reminder, Isaiah.

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