What motivates you to spend time in solitude and silence?
Sometimes there are so many distractions that it is hard to hear God through all of the noise, and it is necessary for us to remove the distractions in our lives for a time of solitude and silence with God. Solitude means being alone in private. When we set aside time to be quiet and alone with God, we are practicing the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence. Ecclesiastes 3:7 says there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” There are a couple of ways to think about this. One way is to think about how communication and conversations work. When you have a conversation with your friend, there are times when you are talking and times when you are listening to your friend talk. It is the same when we communicate with God.
Sometimes we talk to God through prayer. And sometimes we listen to God through special times of solitude and silence. Remember, there are lots of distractions around us, and that is why it is important to have time alone with God where we just listen. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Distractions can be things we see, hear, or feel. Distractions can also be both good and bad. Spending time with friends and family is a good thing, but sometimes it is important to take time away from other people in order to spend time alone with God. Listening to Christian songs is a great way to worship the Lord, but sometimes we can spend so much time listening to the music that we forget to listen to God himself. Some distractions may be internal. For instance, if you have had a bad day at school or you are fighting with a sibling or friend, it may be hard to focus on listening to God because your emotions are distracting you. There are endless distractions for us, and that is why it is so important to make a habit of setting aside time to be quiet and alone with God.
So why don’t we spend time alone in silence with God sometimes? Is it because we are uncomfortable with silence? Is it too easy to just fall asleep when it is quiet? Maybe we don’t want to face the fact that God does know everything about us and we are afraid of having to change. Maybe we feel funny sitting around waiting for God to “speak” to us. As a kid, I remember being sent to take a nap and not being able to sleep. So I decided to try to listen for God’s voice. Now as a kid, I really wanted to hear an actual voice. And I thought if I listened hard enough, that eventually God would speak to me out loud. Well, that never happened. But what I realized as I got older is that I needed to be listening with my heart, not my ears. What I mean by that is that I needed to be in a mindset that was open to allowing God to convey a message to me through a means other than spoken words. Certainly I could have listened to a sermon or a worship song, or I could have read my Bible or gone to youth group. These are all great ways to spend time and communicate with God. But there is something different, something special about letting God reveal things to you in a personal way, and this is why we need to listen with our hearts rather than our ears. God knows our hearts. He knows that each of us hears him speak in different ways. So spending time in solitude and silence gives God the chance to communicate uniquely with you as you open your heart to him. — Gretchen (Community Alliance Church)