I mentioned recently that I was planning a 48 hour “spiritual retreat” during which I would spend that time alone seeking God through His Word and prayer. I actually did that one week ago. I had planned to write some reflections on that time as soon as I got back, but you know how life is. Anyway, the plan is to take a couple of posts over the next few days and write out some of those reflections. They may or may not be of interest or use to anyone but me, but I want to write it out for my own sake.
I’ll begin in this first post by simply saying: it was harder than I thought. Being alone with my Bible, notebook and a couple other books, one of the first things I realized was how much of my time is taken up with the noise of technology: computers, internet, etc. Just me and some books for 48 hours was like being on another planet.
As I considered that, I began to question just how much of that “noise” is even necessary. I do nearly all of my Bible study and sermon prep on my laptop, so I guess that could be seen as a “necessity.” But then I realized that for the first 6 or 7 years of pastoral ministry, I didn’t have access to a computer of any kind. While the resources available make things more convenient, it’s certainly not a necessity.
Obviously, the internet isn’t a necessity at all. How many hours a week are wasted reading email, checking facebook, etc.? Even the “good” things like reading good biblical articles by some of my favorite writers/preachers often leads to time wasting as I chase one link after another.
For those 48 hours I was disconnected from all of that. And while at first I felt I was at a loss as to how to fill that time, I quickly found that the time reading, praying, walking down by the river, etc. was actually quite enjoyable and fruitful.
So, lesson number one from this time of solitude: Solitude is Good! Life can become too cluttered, too quickly, with things that may seem (and even be somewhat) helpful. I need to be more vigilant.
My response to this lesson: shut off the computer more often and listen.
More to come….