“Come away to a quiet place” beckons the voice of Christ. The practice of solitude. John Ortberg in his book The Life You’ve Always Wanted calls solitude the “furnace of transformation”:
“Solitude is the one place where we can gain freedom from the forces of society that will otherwise relentlessly mold us. According to a much-traveled analogy, if we put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately hop out. But put the frog in water that’s at room temperature and heat it slowly, and the creature will stay there until it boils to death. Put him in a lethal environment suddenly and he will escape. But introduce the danger gradually, and he will never notice.
The truth is that the dangers to which we are most vulnerable are generally not the sudden, dramatic, obvious ones. They are the ones that creep up on us, that are so much a part of our environment that we don’t even notice them.
The deeper truth is that we live in a lethal environment. American society is filled with ideas and values and pressures and temptations about success, security, comfort, happiness…that we will not even notice unless we withdraw on occasion. “
But how do we fight this temptation to be squeezed into the mold of society? By slowing down and making time, choosing to have time to be still & alone. Busyness becomes the enemy of our souls if we do not intentionally take time in solitude and reflection with the Lord. As Ortberg continues:
“The truth is, as much as we complain about it, we are drawn to hurry. It makes us feel important. It keeps the adrenaline pumping. It means we don’t have to look too closely at the heart or life. It keeps us from feeling our loneliness. In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding. Scaffolding is all the stuff we use to keep ourselves propped up, to convince ourselves that we are important or okay. In solitude we have no friends to talk with, no phone calls or meetings, no television, music or newspapers to occupy and distract our minds… Just me and my sinfulness, my desire or lack or desire for God.”
(From the chapter: An Unhurried Life)
Oh that we would enter into the furnace of transformation and get away with Christ. To push pause on our fast-paced lives. To reflect. To listen. Lord teach us to get away with you. Reveal to us the beauty and power in solitude.