Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Time for Reflection

I love this time between Christmas and New Year. Its a a time of intentional decompression ---a time to be still, to sit and cultivate more of a ''Mary heart'' --- here in Cambodia, it is important to be intentional to take time out, to find a place of rest and solitude. Some people go down to the beach, others stay closer to the city. But solitude is not determined by location, it is cultivated by a longing, a desire in the heart to reconnect with the One who knows us more intimately than anyone else because He has shaped and formed us and knew us even before one of our days came to pass.

One of the books I have been reading here is called Embracing Soul Care by Stephen Smith.  I love what he says about solitude: Something happens in solitude that cannot happen in community. Something happens that does not happen at any other time. In solitude, we experience only ourselves. Community offers us companionship. With friends, we share our thoughts, dreams and disappointments. Solitude extends the invitation only to God and we share only with Him. Solitude invites us to experience the ''oneness'' that Jesus prayed for in John 17:22, when he said ''that they may be one as We are one.'' There is a ''giving up'' when we practice solitude. We give up others and our dependency on them. We give up noise and our fascination with what we hear. We give up our tendencies to be trivial and obsessed with our manic pursuits. We learn to receive what only silence and aloneness can give. When we practice solitude, we open our hearts and hands to finally receive. In our everyday work and life, we're tempted to make a fist to prove our point. Solitude relaxes the palms, prying them open to God's gifts. In these quiet moments we are like a beggar who receives whatever is placed into his hands. In these moments of being ''with God' we find that He becomes the Immanuel who is truly ''with us.'' Solitude replenishes the soul. This is why Jesus made solitude a regular and necessary part of His lifestyle and relationship with God. He detached from people so that He could attach to God. Solitude allows us to be stripped of others so that we can be covered with divine love.

As an extrovert, I am energized by people, I love being around people. But it must be an age thing for as I am getting older, there is a greater appreciation for solitude, for a time of reflection and stillness. I love going for daily walks on my own, listening to worship music or a sermon. Its my time of decompression. Its my time with the Lord when He is replenishing my soul, when He is ministering deep within my spirit.  Perhaps it is a hunger for a deeper intimacy with God. A longing to know His heart more and to receive from Him what only He can give. It is this attachment with and to God, that He desires to cultivate in each of us as we intentionally take ''time out'' from the world to spend that time with Him. What a great joy it is to discover His divine love washing over us, filling us with joy, ministering to our deepest needs and longings. But most of all, what a great joy it is to just be with the Divine Love Himself!