Thursday, February 8, 2018

Invitation to Solitude & Silence * Book Open House #2

Well, wow, friends!

Welcome back to our 2nd Invitation to Solitude & Silence Book Open House.  The first gathering far exceeded my hopes, in the depth of our conversation as well as the sheer number of readers.

Thanks for your willingness to not only to spend a bit of your valuable time with us, but to vulnerably share snapshots of your spiritual stories and perceptive impressions, even if you wrestled a bit with doing so.

An incredible influx of your Facebook friends have come to call in the past week ... and last Friday we hit a huge one day record in visits, the highest number I've seen in 11 years of blogging.  Please know that I'm all kinds of grateful and inspired and encouraged by what's happening around here.

I praise God for what He's doing, I so appreciate you inviting your friends along for the ride, and am excited to welcome all you newcomers to this community.

You're telling me you're thirsty, yearning for something more of who God is and you're on a journey to figure out how to best embrace a deeper intimacy with Jesus Christ, the Lover of your soul.  Sure sounds like we're all in the same boat, headed in the same direction.

Onward.  Inward.  Upward.

Let's keep the dialogue flowing forward, keeping in mind that this is a safe place where iron sharpens iron.  And while we talk honestly, we do so with gentleness, kindness and grace. 



Chapter 3 - Resistance
It's one thing to read Bible verses about casting our cares on God.  It is one thing to sing worship songs that say, 'He is able, more than able to accomplish what concerns me today.'  It is quite another to actually place those things that we care about so deeply in God's hands for a little while so we can give Him our undivided attention.

This letting go is so challenging that many of us need help with it.  When I am guiding people into their initial experiences with solitude and silence, I ask them to actually list the cares and concerns weighing on them in the moment on a piece of paper.  Then I invite them to place the page in an envelope marked TRUST and set the envelope aside as a concrete symbol of giving these things over to God's care as they move into solitude.  The concreteness of this act helps them to actually let go of the baggage they have brought with them so they can settle into God's embrace.







Chapter 4 - Dangerously Tired
Dangerously tired is an atmospheric condition of the soul that is volatile and portends the risk of great destruction.  It is a chronic inner fatigue accumulating over months and months, and it does not always manifest itself in physical exhaustion.  In fact, it can be masked by excessive activity and compulsive overworking.  When we are dangerously tired we feel out of control, compelled to constant activity by inner impulses that we may not be aware of.  For some reason we can't quite name, we're not able to linger and relax over a cup of coffee.  We can't keep from checking voice mail or e-mail 'just one more time' ... or we can't stop cleaning or doing repairs and projects in order to take a walk in the evening or be quietly available to those we love.

While our way of life may seem heroic, there is a frenetic quality to our activity that is disturbing to those around us.  When we do have discretionary time, we indulge in escapist behaviors - such as compulsive eating, drinking, spending, watching television - because we are too tired to choose activities that are truly life-giving.




If you were one of those readers who shared 
the Book Open House on FB,
 I sure would love to know 
so I can give you {and your website}
a shout out!

The 3rd out of the 6 gatherings
will begin next Thursday, February 15th -
 we'll be discussing chapters 5 & 6.


& more ...



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51 comments:

  1. "It is quite another to actually place those things that we care about so deeply in God's hands for a little while so we can give Him our undivided attention." This is quite an impact statement to me, Linda. Oh, so very true. We can read verses, talk about them, write about them, and we can sing and talk about songs that are meaningful, but sometimes we are too busy to give God our undivided attention and truly pour out our cares to Him. Not to just pour out our cares, but to sit a while with Him. Sometimes I can be so busy pouring out my cares to Him and then move on without really being silent and listening to His heartbeat, to His whispers of guidance and comfort.

    I love your picture. :) God is full of surprises, isn't He? I'm so glad God is using you to provide more people a safe and nonjudgmental place to voice their cares and fears. You always answer with such wisdom and grace. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. I find this oh so true, too -->'Sometimes I can be so busy pouring out my cares to Him and then move on without really being silent and listening'

      And all the while He's continuing the conversation we've started but we're off and running and miss out on His response.

      Doesn't make alot of sense does it?! What if someone did that to us in real life?

      You've painted a powerful picture, Trudy. I take it with me today ...

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    2. real life = flesh and blood people standing right in front of us

      ;-}

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    3. I highlighted the very same sentence, Trudy, for the very same reason. I need to be better about realizing that He should be the focus - everything else flows from Him.

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    4. June - I'm thinking of that hymn, 'Be Thou My Vision' as I read your thoughtful words ...

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    5. Me too, June. Linda, I love that song. Thanks for reminding me of it!
      "Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
      Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
      Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
      Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light"

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    6. It's one of my favorite songs in to sing in my heart in the night. A great one to fall asleep to, bathed in peace and rest ...

      ;-}

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    7. Well, that is just perfect, friends! Be Thou My Vision is my all time favorite hymn. Singing along . . .

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  2. Trudy- I also have moments that I believe I’m sitting in silence but I pour my heart out instead of intentionally listen.

    Linda- I adore seeing your smiling face. Lovely! I resonated with Ruth’s words in both chapters this week. I love the idea of writing down things that are weighing us down, placing them in an envelope marked “trust”. So powerful!

    I also couldn’t get past the idea of dangerously tired. I keep thinking I should never feel this way because I’m retired. But I know how my mind has always run on overtime and realize there are times that weariness still effects me. As I practice silence and solitude, I find myself starting at five minutes. It’s where I’m at right now but God will honor the time and I look forward to how he is going to grow me.
    Thanks for the open house. I would love to sit and eat blueberry scones with you. I have made your recipe- so yummy!

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    1. Thank you for telling me you understand what I mean, Mary. I've been trying to work to "intentionally listen," but it's hard sometimes. As in your comment to Linda, I had to say "Me, too!" to our minds running on overtime. Hugs!

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    2. Blueberry scones ... how perfect for an open house!

      http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2014/10/scones-autumn-nesting-delights.html

      Yum ... maybe this weekend?

      ;-}

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    3. Running on overtime ... yeah, I hate when that happens. It usually comes when I've spent far too much time running around online.

      Unplug. Yep, that's my best response.

      ;-}

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  3. I loved the idea of writing down our fears, concerns, distractions, and placing them into an envelope labeled "Trust." Definitive action before dedicated "inaction." Let go and let God . . . He is the One who can address and heal all of our needs, wants and desires.
    Now solitude and silence are a challenge under our current circumstances, but I will find a way. I'm determined to practice this quiet time with God, especially during the Lenten season, even if it means I have to retreat to our downstairs laundry room to simply feel His peace deep in my heart.
    Thank you, Linda, for hosting this most important discussion about the importance of simply being in God's presence.
    Blessings!

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    1. For Lent. Yes, yes! It never occurred to me in the dead of winter that our conversation would ease us right into Lent.

      I'd love to hear if others are enfolding this book into their observance of Lent this year.

      Meanwhile, let's hear it for laundry rooms, little nooks, closets, a warm corner somewhere to tuck ourselves away. Most difficult for many, especially those with little kiddos running around.

      Thanks for putting Lent on the table, Martha. An important consideration ...

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    2. Martha, Lent is the perfect time to begin and perfect the habit of solitude and silence. Habits that will hopefully endure well past the Lenten season!

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    3. Habits that last the long haul can be hard to maintain ... God help us to keep in step with what you're inviting us to live out!

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  4. Linda, I think I fit fairly well into the "Dangerously Tired" category. Sigh. This truth is fitting for me right now, thank you. ((hug))

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    1. Oh dear friend, praying, even as we speak, that you'll know your next right step.

      Please give plenty of grace and space to yourself in the process ...

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  5. I love these thoughts everyone is sharing! We have such good intentions of meeting with God - but I, for one, am so easily distracted by my own busyness, the obligations and work of the day, etc. - that like some of you more eloquently shared, it's so easy to "dump" my prayers, concerns, etc. at the feet of Jesus - but not wait to hear what He has to say!
    I too, would love to incorporate this into a Lenten endeavor.

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    1. Wouldn't this have been neat to have experienced way back in the day? Makes me wonder how life might have been different {healthier, wiser, godlier} if I'd incorporated some of what I've learned in recent years into my earlier years.

      Thank you for being here, dear Heather ... I love how God is reconnecting us yet once again. He is so good!

      ;-}

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  6. Is that you in the first picture?! I don't think I've seen a picture of you before!? So nice to put a face to the name! <3 - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. So stunning, yes??!!

      Just goofing around with my 8 year old granddaughter with her daddy's phone ...

      Good times.

      ;-}

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  7. As I am trying to incorporate some times of silence and solitude, I am curious to how others do it. Do you do it as part of your regular prayer or study time with God or separate? Today as I had a time of silence and solitude, I knew I needed to step back for a minute and take care of some things with God -I needed a clean heart. I know that time will reveal things too but I knew I needed to deal with these things first. I guess just like it is not good to go running without stretching first maybe before I enter this time, I might need to sing a hymn or spend a few minutes in prayer to help me be more ready.

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    1. Just like any other relationship where we approach each other in unique ways depending on the situation, we do the same with the Lover of our soul! We connect in ways that are comfortable, that speak peace, that breathe life, that pay attention to where we're both coming from.

      I love that you're listening, you're cultivating, you're growing in your faith walk, TJ. Thanks so much for sharing just a snippet of where you are ...

      So grateful you're here early this Saturday morning.

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    2. The reason it looks early for you is because I am in Africa and at least 5 hours ahead of you. :) I love that about God that he is the same God but relates to us uniquely.

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    3. TJ, Linda is right. How we approach this time with God will be as individual as we are. Personally, I seek solitude and silence separately from my prayer or study time. Others may wish to incorporate prayer or journaling during this time, so it will look differently for them. There is no right or wrong way. Follow the Holy Spirit's prompting. Let God draw you in to your time together naturally and be open to His leading. Ruth even mentioned walking and bike riding, which surprised me! The point is, spending time with Him apart from the normal clamor of our lives.

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    4. If I had my druthers, I'd do the whole package ... but it would take well over an hour and I don't always have that kind of time at the beginning of the day ... or more accurately do not CHOOSE to use my time in the best way.

      Walking. Yes, June. Some of my best prayer time is when I'm on my feet striding. My heart seems to be freer, more open to hear ...

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  8. Dangerously Tired - I can relate to that - but part of it is ingrained over years of being active and busy. It is hard to get out of that cycle and to inspect whether I am trying to avoid something. Guess silence and solitude would answer that question! Love the picture Linda.....

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    1. Ingrained. Yes, I think you've said it well.

      The good thing is when we notice something about our lives and then decide not only how we feel about it, but what we want to do with the truth of where we are.

      I think there's a difference between busy and active. Busy tends to come with a sense of always being on, a sense of overwhelm, of a never ending treadmill.

      Active sounds productive, positive, fulfilling, purposeful.

      No matter where the questions lead, I'm glad you're here, Marilyn.

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  9. I haven't started on my reading list this year so it's lovely to read great stuff randomly online. Thank you for sharing this blessing!

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    1. May you gather lots of good reads in your travels, Lux ...

      ;-}

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  10. Hi Linda! I love this woman's perspective on trust. She is right on the money with me. The idea of putting those trust issues in an envelope is the just the thing to concretely remind me that those things are covered! Let it go for Pete's Sake!
    I'm preparing a talk right now about accepting forgiveness, and it's theme has tones in worry and trust issues too. Hey, congrats on your increase in readership! You are truly feeding us, and answering a great call for holiness in our lives.
    God bless,
    Ceil

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    1. I wish I lived near you so I could sneak in and by a fly on the wall at your talk, Ceil. Forgiveness, worry, trust are all huge issues that we deal with, one seems to meld into the next.

      I'm hoping {pretty please!} that maybe you'll be doing a post on this, too? Would love to glean from your wisdom and experience.

      And yes, there's much we all need to let go. What a process. Thanks for the reminder, friend.

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  11. I planned on leaving a comment, since I'm still reading along with you and the other lovelies in this group, Linda, but time got away from me. So here I am several days late! ;-)

    I found chapters 3 and 4 to be interesting and insightful. I liked several of the practical ideas like the one using envelopes and notes to visibly let go of our cares to the Lord. I do these kinds of acts a lot and they always prove to be monumental and effective--grounding me more in the reality of God's presence and care with me.

    I also see that part of what may be a difficulty for me with this book is how she comes from a burned out or at least depleted perspective. I don't feel depleted at this point in my life. Busy, yes! Depleted, no! However, I'm grateful to be reading something that is challenging me to look at solitude and silence in God's presence from a lot of new angles. Thank you for hosting us, Linda!

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    1. I'm glad you're here! I really believe you could write a book, Beth. You have so much wisdom to share ... not only on marriage but on cultivating a vibrant walk with the Lord.

      I think it was the spiritual director I was working with when I dangerously tired and depleted who recommended the book to me. It was a lifesaver. I wish I had known some of what I learned much earlier in life - I think it would have served me well along the way.

      And maybe if I hadn't been in that dark place I never would have known what it was like to only have just enough energy to whisper the name 'Jesus' ... and find therein the key to new emotional health and a deeper spiritual life.

      Thanks for hanging in with us on this journey. I so appreciate what you bring to the table, friend ...

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  12. I love the photo, Linda! And it's great that so many people are reading and participating in the discussion. I think it's an important conversation.
    I thought the insights about fear and desire in chapter 3 were interesting- that we desire to meet with God in the silence but we fear that it may not work for us and that can make us resistant. I definitely relate to that at times.
    And I agree the idea of writing down our concerns and physically handing them over to God is really helpful. I actually did this a couple of years ago when I had a lot of worries and cares. I wrote each one down on a slip of paper and prayed over each one as I put them all in a box. When I started to worry, just seeing the box was a great reminder that I had handed them over to God. I'd take them out once a week and pray over them again, and occasionally I got the pleasure of removing a slip where something had been resolved or was no longer a worry. I found it really effective.

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    1. I love your box!

      I love that simply spying the box was a helpful reminder to banish worry. And I really like taking out your concerns, praying over them ... and finally the victory of finally removing a request now answered.

      Thanks for sharing your steps to freedom, Lesley. And let's hear it for answered prayer, for fears conquered, for anything effective that helps us grow in our walk with Christ.

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  13. I was fascinated by chapter three and everything Ruth shared about our desire for God our [possible] fear that those desires may be unmet. She lovingly reminded us that we desire Him because He first desired us! Our desire for God will never be unmet or rejected. What an awesome truth!

    Chapter four, on the other hand, was a bit like peeling a band-aid off sticky wound. Ouch! and "Dear God, this tiredness is what's true about me. What are we going to do about it?" This is the chapter I need to sit with for about the next six weeks. Somewhere along the way life taught me to be careful about expressing my emotions. I can relate to her correlation between being busy as a, perhaps unconscious, way of not allowing ourselves to fully feel. The fear of stopping and being overcome by those feelings. Of "be[ing] afraid that if we entered these unlit places in our souls, we might never come out."

    However, if we are going to fully live as God intended we must give Him all. And Who better [safer] to walk with in the unlit places in our souls than the One Who created them?

    I'm so glad word is getting out about you open house, Linda! Your hospitality is unmatched. Looking forward to discussing the next couple of chapters with you and the others. Blessings on your week, dear friend.

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    1. June, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you literally spending time, and lots of it here, last evening. Thank you so much for the investment of your wisdom and thoughtful observations. Those who read it will reap benefits, for sure ...

      You bring up a great point about sitting with a chapter, which is what Ruth recommends, too. We're galloping through this book at 2 chapters a week, but there is much here to contemplate.

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    2. Thank you for your encouragement, friend. After sharing, I thought perhaps I'd shared a bit too much. I don't always have the time but I'm really enjoying this book and discussion. As always, feel free to post only comments you feel are helpful to the conversation. If I were in your home you might draw me aside and say, "Let others share a bit, dear." ;)

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    3. Oh no! You're doing exactly what I hoped would happen, where people would take the time, wander around, see what was going on, and join whatever conversation caught their heart.

      Perfect. Just perfect. You're a God-send.

      If you were in my home, I'd draw you aside, and thank you so very much, give you a hug, and thank you for helping me make this conversation what it has turned out to be.

      A blessing.

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  14. I love the idea of physically handing our worries to God as a sign we trust Him with them. My issue isn't that so much as a wandering mind during my quiet time!

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    1. I've often kept a pen and pad on the night table to jot down that hugely urgent stuff {haha} like laundry or a phone call or another thing for the shopping list.

      As I put the reminders down in black and white, they vanish from my mind and I can re-focus on what's most important.

      Whatever we need to do to be present with Him, yes, yes.

      ;-}

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  15. I have fallen behind and just finished Chap 3 & 4. I think I am finding 2 chapters a week a bit much but will try to keep up.

    The letting go concept was vital for me as I worked the 12 steps and Alanon. In my previous life, detachment (with love) was truly an exercise in focusing, relying heavily on God and learning about what love is without taking over what was not my business. The verses in Col 1:17 were a source of strength for me: “And He Himself existed and is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [His is the controlling, cohesive force of the universe.]” Amplified Bible. I have to always go to God with what is mine , what is another’s and what is His.

    My biggest issue in Chap 3 is like Ruth’s fears: hearing risky promptings, will God show up (pg 49) and my constant fear that I won’t hear God.

    My dangerously tired days are over but I can remember them vividly when I start to loose sight of my energy level. Being semi-retired and not taking care of anyone really helps that.

    All in all, I like how Ruth states I need to take my fears to God but first I must acknowledge my fears to myself. That is why books like this are vital to being aware of what is going on inside of me.

    Love ❤️ your picture!

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    1. Yeah, I know 2 chapters are a bit much ... each one is meant to be savored and sat with.

      But I didn't want the discussion to run out of steam, ya' know?

      Yes, praise God, our dangerously tired days are over. I'm trusting they'll never appear again now that we've learned all kinds of valuable lessons along the way.

      Hard won, they were ...

      I'm glad you're finding the book vital for your awareness of what's going on deep within. Clueless doesn't work well, does it.

      Happy Valentine's Day, my dear ol' buddy ...

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  16. I love your letter exercise here. I do those kinds of things in my journal too! And the "dangerously tired!" Wow, that is so true. Just today I was reading Michael Hyatt's online Magazine issue on rest, and read about taking naps. I might think about trying to implement this. Just as a way to say no to the busy monster, and work more effectively in the afternoon.

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    1. Oh, I love a good 15 minute afternoon nap, Betsy! It's a fabulous pick me up ... and I feel my energy restored, for sure.

      Go for it!

      Joining you in bidding the Busy Monster far, far away ...

      ;-}

      Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours ...

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  17. I'm good at getting things done...and not so good at listening in the quiet. I'm learning, though!

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    1. I absolutely hear you, Anita.

      And am so glad you've dropped in this afternoon ...

      ;-}

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