Two Scary Words
Silence and Solitude: two words that probably scare some people, but not me. At least not in the literal sense, that is. This past summer, I spent a week as a camp counselor. I learned quickly and you have, too, if you’ve spent any amount of time at camp that both of those words are very rare. So imagine my excitement and confusion when “morning quiet time” was on right there on the schedule. For thirty minutes a day, everyone was to spend quiet time alone with God. At first, I felt peace in the quiet atmosphere, but unfortunately it didn’t last long. The quieter the surrounding environment was, the louder my thoughts were. Sometimes you have to hit pause on everything and just spend time alone with God.
At first, I felt peace in the quiet atmosphere, but unfortunately it didn’t last long.
Being at camp, I felt close to God because we talked about Him every day. I got the chance to pray with campers and hear their testimonies. There are some times when you’ll realize your personal walk with God could use a boost. You may be thinking, “When will I find time for this?” The fact of the matter is that we all have the opportunity to experience silence and solitude everyday, but we are just so quick to fill the void. Most days I would rather sit with a group of friends at lunch than by myself, or listen to the radio in the car rather than turn it off. I’ve found that taking those twenty minutes alone to read a daily devotion as I eat, or pray as I drive are very beneficial to my day and my spiritual walk.
During my freshman year of college, we were required to take a course called “Introduction to the Spiritual Journey,” where we learned about and practiced the different spiritual disciplines. Everyone was dreading Silence and Solitude day, where our entire class sat in the classroom silently, guided by journal prompts on the board for close to half an hour. It was entertaining to see how everyone responded (each sitting in their little corner of the room), some rapidly clicking their pens, while others seemed completely comfortable. I remembered hearing “that was the longest twenty-five minutes of my life,” while leaving class that day. Honestly, I agreed.
Silence is often considered “awkward” when shared among multiple people, but if we are always quick to speak, how can we listen? What if God is trying to speak into our lives, but we are never giving Him the chance? As Christians, we should get used to being uncomfortable, because God calls us outside of our comfort zones. While silence and solitude may not be for everyone, they are definitely worth trying. What’s the worst that could happen?
Written by Caitlyn A. Jugenheimer, Soldier at the Spring Valley Corps, GNY