Saturday, April 30, 2016

Making Solitude Time With God

Some people would say my hubby and I have a pretty quiet, laid back life.

  • We are empty-nesters.
  • We live in a cottage, on a lake.
  • We are just a few years away from retirement.(I actually stopped working last year.)
  • We are currently not involved in a lot of community/social groups.

But a quiet life doesn't mean there is lots of time for solitude and seclusion from family activities, daily responsibilities, and time that the two of us spend together. In fact, there are times I really crave solitude with God, but it just doesn't come that easily. (And when I say "solitude" I don't especially mean a devotional time in the Word and/or prayer. I am pretty much able to do that every day.) I mean just getting away from all of the schedules and business, t.v. and computer, and just making time to gather my thoughts, rest, and relax. 

We have a small lot, which our cottage is situated on. There are two different patio areas - one on the lakeside of the house and one on the roadside. In the summer, we use the lakeside area for entertaining quite a lot. The other patio, though, is not real functional, currently. Our grill is located there and we have a small table and chairs, but never really eat at it, as there is no real shade or privacy. Well, I'm very excited to say that that is going to be changing soon! 

My hubby just purchased a pergola kit and will be putting it up there! I already have been dreaming and planning what I want this peaceful spot to look like. Here are some pictures from the internet that caught my attention...

all photos can be accessed through my Pinterest Board

I hope to start several vining flowers to grow over the top of the pergola. I also would love to purchase a sitting area...possibly an outdoor daybed or sectional set. Once the spring weather decides to arrive and actually stay - we have had a rough April, with lots of wind, rain, and temps in the 40s-50s, I hope to make this area my outdoor solitude spot!! Currently, my only real "inside" solitude spot it in the bathtub, when I take a long hot bath, which is fine, especially when the weather is nasty - like today!!   :-(  But, I just love being outdoors and in the beauty of nature. I look forward to this addition to our little cottage!!

Do you have a place of solitude that you like to go to (or have a dream of the kind of place that you would like to have time away in solitude and seclusion from people and daily activities)? 

The Word encourages us to take time away from daily life...
In Old Testament Times God’s People Practiced Solitude
“Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting’… The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.” (Exodus 33:7, 11)
“[Elijah] went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him… a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:9, 12).
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” (David; Psalm 23:1-3)
“Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.” (Lamentations 3:28)
Jesus Practiced Solitude and Silence (If He Needed it How Much More do We!)
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them.(Luke 4:42)
“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)
Solitude is Important for Spiritual Growth
“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Jesus’ Disciples Prayed in Solitude and Silence
Peter went away from his traveling companions to go into solitude and silence and seek God. He had a vision and heart the voice of the Lord three times. His experience led to the Gospel being spread among the Gentiles. “About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened…” Acts 10:9-11).
The discipline of Solitude is an excellent tool to build our relationship with Christ! For some people it may take time to practice and get used to it, but once you do, it is a phenomenal way to build intimacy with Christ and take in the goodness in life! It will become a "personal retreat" of sorts. Whether you spend 20 minutes or several hours there, it should be your very own space.
I realize that most people cannot build their own secluded spot, but usually we can look for similar spots in a local park or a corner of your yard. When I worked, there was a private corner between the two buildings on the property, where I would go back to, over my lunch hour and enjoy the woods and nature. Wherever you go, make it your own little spot, if possible. Turn off your phone and computer and take in the beauty of the Lord!!
Have a blessed weekend!!

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  1. Oh I love your ideas for your solitude spot! I take mine whenever possible—I have a favourite chair (which feels like a hug!) for reading, or I love to walk/ run in my beautiful neighbourhood for some solitude time when I can appreciate the Creator. I agree, it's so important to snatch time away from the constant bombardment and busyness... thanks for reminding me to make a conscious effort to do this regularly :) Stopping by from Word of God Speak—blessings to you!

    1. Oh, a "huggy chair" is a perfect place to spend time with God, but being outdoors on a beautiful day takes the cake! Thanks for stopping by, Laura. Blessings to you!

  2. Yes, it can be so hard to find a place to be quiet. In my season of life it's very noisy with 5 kids in a 2 bedroom house. There are not many places I can go. We are blessed to have a beautiful pergola that my husband built in our backyard. It's covered with jasmine right now and smells divine. I find myself out there a lot. But when I can't get out there I lock myself in my room or go out for a run and talk to God. There are always ways we just have to be creative. Great post! Love the verses you shared! Linking up with you at #womenwithintention :)

    1. It can be very difficult to find a quiet place, especially with young children at home! I'm so glad you have the pergola, as well as even being able to find solitude when running or even going to you room and locking the door for awhile. May God honor your efforts to make time with Him!!!

  3. I love that you are getting a place to spend time alone with God. What a beautiful place it will be!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I am very excited to be getting this outdoor space! It will truly be a blessing, indeed!

  4. Ann...I have a place I can be alone with the Lord. It's small, quaint and all mine. I look forward to seeing your spot when it's all finished. Thank you for sharing this post at Monday's Musings. :-)

    1. That's awesome, Naomi! Praying that God will touch your heart in special way everytime you seek solitude with Him. I will try to post the completed pergola as soon as I can!! Blessings to you!!

  5. Hi Ann, I love the thought of your new outdoor space for solitude. It's very important to have switch off times and places. As someone who is housebound with chronic illness, and has a tiny handkerchief-size, overlooked garden area, the outdoors isn't usually my 'go to' space to be quiet. But I do have a comfy chair in the bedroom where I spend time resting and relaxing, and another in a study area (that is also a storage site) I use now and then. Although nothing beats getting out to sit by a river or by the sea, breathe freely and enjoy the views. May you be greatly blessed in the gift of a personal space of solitude where you can just 'be'! Visiting from the #letusgrow link up. Bless you. :)

    1. I can't imagine the difficulties of being housebound due to illness, as I am such an outdoorsie person! God definitely has helped you through it, though, by providing you with a couple of comfy, peaceful spots of solitude with Him! That is truly the most important thing!! (I agree, though, that by a river/the sea is the ultimate solitude!)Thanks for sharing, Joy!!

  6. I love the photos and I agree it is important to have a place where we can go just to get away from it all and be with God. I'm lucky to have a park very close to me which is the ideal place to go and be still. Visiting from Let Us Grow.

    1. I love the idea of going to a spot in a local park. Depending on the location, one can usually find a place of solitude and peacefulness to just relax and be with the Lord!! Thanks for stopping by, Carly!

  7. I have to say, sometimes I get envious when I hear "empty nesters" and "retirement"! :). Your house sounds lovely and the pergola project divine! I can't wait to see the finished project!

    1. Yes, I always have loved the thought of becoming an empty nester and retiring, but it does have it's drawbacks. For awhile, after our son moved out a few years ago, my hubby and I were so lost as to what to do. We had focused on our son for so long, we had forgotten how to spend our time together. It was a very difficult adjustment. I also have missed our son immensely. He now lives 4 hours drive away and because our family was so close, it is SO emotionally hard on me not to see him for months between our trips up to see him. Then, because of his tight schedule, we don't even get to see him the whole time we are there. My heart just breaks, when I think of the "good ole days" when he lived at home, worked or went out with friends, then came home and we would sit up late and talk for hours!! I SO miss those days!! As far as retirement goes, we have dreams of traveling when the hubby finally does retire in about 3 years, but it depends on our finances and if we can save enough to do things. We'll see. That is why I do get excited about this place of solitude. At least I will know that I can spend some time alone with the Lord there when weather permits. Have a blessed weekend, Carrie!!

  8. Hi Ann, its so good to see you here in blogosphere again. I've been blogging but not really linking up with anyone. I hope to change that. So glad you linked up on Winsome Wednesday. As to your post, I can imagine your cottage and the tranquility it exudes. I hope your pergola turns out great. I also crave that solitude, moments of exhale and restoration in just being...
    Great post.
    God bless

  9. Hi, Ann!
    Nice to meet you and thanks so much for stopping by!! We are very similar. My hubby will be retiring in Sept., we are empty nesters with no grandchildren and I recently dropped out of all activities that I was involved in at our church and went part time!!
    I am all for living a quiet life and am doing so right now!! I love your inspiration for your pergola! I live in a townhouse and have a tiny back yard that is a cottage garden with a small patio.... I am your newest follower!!


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