Invitation to Solitude & Silence * Book Open House #5

Dear Solitude Seekers ~

Well, here we are, in the home stretch of our Invitation to Solitude & Silence journey.

It's been quite a ride, hasn't it.  I know some of you have been concerned that you weren't 'keeping up' with the weekly postings.  But that's absolutely fine.  The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint, and we're wise to continue the journey at a speed that we find comfortable, keeping in step with the Author and Finisher of our faith, and paying close attention to His whispered prompting for our individual next right steps.

They will always draw you closer to Jesus.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, we're settling down and looking inward.  Perhaps you're not quite sure you like what you're seeing.  Throw discouragement to the wind, friend.  Listen to the Spirit's still, small voice.  Name the obstacles that keep you from drawing closer to Christ and be courageous enough to make those hard decisions on what you want to do with what you're discovering.

No one said it would be easy.  But the good news is that you are not alone.

My friend Ceil has been a big encouragement to me since day one of this trek ... and you must head over to her place to find out what she's doing with what God is inviting her to.  My admiration knows no bounds.

Author Ruth Haley Barton muses ...

Chapter 9 - Facing Ourselves
When we find ourselves in the rugged terrain of deeper self-knowledge, we may feel very alone, we may feel ashamed, we may feel as if we are the only ones who have ever had to experience such a soul-shaking experience.  For some of us - especially those of us who have been Christians for a long time - the view of the self that we gain in solitude is shocking.  We thought we were better off than that!  We thought we had come farther.  

By now we have a lot riding on our ability to keep those false expressions of ourselves under cover.  What's more, we're not sure there is any other self than the self we have constructed in reaction to the wounds and pains of our life.  We have identified with this adapted self for so long and so relied on its energy to propel us forward that we don't know who we will be if this self dies.  It is the only self we have ever known.  Suddenly it is a very precarious cliff we're standing on, this place where God has instructed us to stand and wait.

Chapter 10 - Pure Presence
Accompanying this self-awareness is a desperate desire for healing and communion that is painful in its intensity.  To truly see, with the eyes of the soul, our need for transformation at the very core of our being elicits a longing that is beyond words.  This part of the spiritual process is so demanding that we may be sorely tempted to turn back.  The problem with this possibility is that there is no place to go back to once we have seen ourselves for who we are, enslaved to patterns of relating and being and doing that are ultimately antithetical to the life we are seeking ...

It does not good to try and fix what we see.  It is useless to make excuses for what we see.  It is cowardly to blame others for what we see.  And denying what we see just puts us right back in the mess.  The only thing we can do is to keep our whole selves turned toward God even as we endure the grief and unsettledness that the seeing brings.

Let's talk, friends.  And yes, you are invited to the table even if you're behind on your reading ... or aren't reading the book at all.

Give yourself grace ...

Beyond Words

Dangerously Tired

Book Open House #3
Rest for the Body
Rest for the Mind

Book Open House #4
Rest for the Soul

Book Open House Conclusion
Receiving Guidance
For the Sake of Others