My One Word: The Solitude and Silence of Simplify

 

This journey, which it has truly turned out to be, into simplify, has been unexpected in one way and expected in another.

The unexpected part has to do with encountering and then experiencing solitude and silence. Two practices that I thought simplify would NOT involve.

The expected part has to do with the beginning of the empty nest process that took place last month as my wife and I dropped off our youngest son at university.

I had the feeling, an inner sense, earlier this year that life would simplify for a while once the fall came and that would open up a whole host of possibilities for new things, and … the need to revisit and re-prioritize some current things by letting go of things that were no longer needed nor required.

So what did I need to do to discern what things needed to go, what things needed to stay, and what things in my life needed to be added?

This is when/where the unexpected showed up…

… be silent

…be still

…listen

The intersection of expected and unexpected created an awareness in me that I need to simply spend time alone with God in silence.  I needed to ‘go simple’ to simplify…

Seeking a guide in this journey to spend more time in silence and solitude, I found Ruth Haley Barton via a link in social media… which led me to her books…

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Her first book I read was Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. It was not just informational but also inspirational and encouraging.  I have long read and heard about the need for taking care of soul as a leader.  The time was now present as life had simplified to do just that… start taking better care of myself

This book became a good long drink of cold water for my soul…

“What would it look like for me to lead more consistently from my soul-the place of my own encounter with God-rather than leading primarily from my head, my unbridled activism, or my performance-oriented drivenness? What would it be like to find God in the context of my leadership rather that miss God in the context of my leadership?’

This is where I have been… and this is where I cannot stay.

Simplify…

delegate…

give away…

pray…

listen…

empower…

A process, a journey to be sure…

 

83000The second book Invitation to Solitude and Silence (which I am still reading as of this post) began to peel back layers of life and allowed me to start sitting quietly at a consistent time during the day  listen for and to God. It is not an easy thing to do.

But as I read this book the simplicity of sitting and being silent before the Lord has become something that I want to do.

 

We are starved for quiet, to hear the sound of sheer silence that is the presence of God himself.

Yes… that is me…

So my journey continues into this time of life called ‘the empty nest.’ I am on the front end of it.  How am I to handle it?

Simply…

Silently…

Expectantly…

listening for the Lord out of the abundance of silence and not the abundance of noise…

 

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