Monday, October 7, 2013

Solitude

"And He went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

For someone who deals with mental illness, learning to seek solitude can be a very difficult thing. Since there is a struggle with high highs and low lows, isolation can be hard for me. But I have found that there is a huge difference between isolation and solitude. When I seek isolation I am running away from people and from life. When I seek solitude I have a purpose. I am seeking the Person of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I am seeking life.

Many years ago when I began a pilgrimage to seek God’s face through solitude, my mind would not stop. I had come from a very busy life and I was very independent. When I attempted to be still, things I needed to be doing would begin spinning around in my thoughts. Then I would have guilt feelings, even at times, fear and shame. I could not get my focus away from me. I could not stop the thoughts.

Now, after years of the Spirit working with me, I am more familiar with surrounding myself with the love of God. I do not go into meditation thinking about what an awful sinner I am. My first action is to just quiet myself. Many times I look at nature--the things God has made--and meditate on who He is. To me, this is like seeing a painting and learning about the artist. Or reading a book and learning about the way the author thinks.

When I seek solitude, it may take me a little while to settle down, so I love resting in God's love as I listen to music. My preference is soaking or classical music. I am just being still. I begin to think on who I am and God's undying love for me. Sometimes I hear His still, small voice telling me that He loves me so. That I am a child of the King, and He is my Abba Father. I am His and He is mine. How I long for intimacy with Him. I know He is the one calling me there.

I also do simple things like breathing deeply and releasing. I receive the Spirit who is telling me, “I love you and you love me.” I can do that because I know I was created in God’s image and He does not give Himself anything but good gifts. As I am open and honest, He loosens my control of my life--people, possessions or problems. My heart is yielded in the love of the Father. Our personalities are magnificent together--set free! Jesus lives His life and love through me.

I believe we are the result of a love relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit. We are an overflow of that love relationship and celebration. We are each special to God. No one child can reveal Him in the very same way. Only Jesus reveals God completely. We each relate to God in fellowship in our own unique way.

I have four children and four grandchildren. I used to say, “I think if I had a hundred they would all be different, and that I would have a different relationship with each one of them.” Each one is so very special to me no matter what the situation.

I think we are much the same way to the Father. He loves for us to be in communion, to fellowship, and just sit enjoying Him in the quiet. Somehow in the solitude, I am lifted up by Jesus, up by His side in the heavenlies. I am brought into worship. There He is glorified, and I am fulfilled and satisfied. The love and the power of the cross from Father, Son, and Spirit are given to me. My gaze is on Him and how beautiful and glorious He is.

Sometimes I may feel nothing and hear nothing. But as I meditate over and over on one simple truth, He always gives me something from His Word. Then as I look for Him to show up and speak to me all throughout my day, He surprises me. I cannot put Him in a box. God wants to reveal Himself to me more than I want Him. But He will choose where and when. He is personal. Many times my physical and mental state is such that I resist seeking solitude. Sometimes, though, knowing that I am resisting drives me there even more.

Often, I find my heart longs for God as nothing else. I have realized from where my true sense of life comes. I understand for Whom and what I am longing. When my strength seems to be gone, there is no where else to run. There is no one else to whom I can run because God is my solitude.