In mid-October the two houses of Mission Year Houston took a Solitude retreat. Now, even to an introvert like myself, the idea of a Solitude retreat sounds strange. First, solitude implies alone-ness. So how do you do that together?? Second, a weekend is a long time for solitude, yeah?? Good news is that there were intentional times of solitude during the weekend, alongside community meals, worship (including Your Love is Strong), guided reflections and down time.
To set up the weekend, we had read a book by Henri Nouwen called Way of The Heart. If anything I write sparks your interest, you might want to check it out. His thoughts on solitude, silence and prayer were a good challenge for me and set up the weekend well. According to Nouwen, “Solitude is the place of the great struggle and the great encounter – the struggle against the compulsions of the false self and the encounter with the loving God who offers himself as the substance of the new self.”
We are out on this ranch, about an hour outside of Houston, for the weekend. And for two 2-3 hour chunks of time, we are in solitude. I spent a majority of my time in a tree that I was able to perch/sit in. So much of me was anxious for an answer. I knew that God could and would do big things. I asked for him to reveal something new to me. It felt like silence. I just kept asking and asking and asking. STOP.
Be still My Son. Can you just be? Just be with me. Enjoy what I have created.
I wanted answers I wanted some BIG revelation, new wisdom or direction for what was happening as I transitioned to Houston. And God saw my restless attitude and lifestyle. He called me out. And then it was time to re-group.
During free time I got to chat with Andrew, one of the guys from the married team. We briefly shared stories from our lives and how God had brought us to Mission Year. Solid guy, looking forward to growing with him this year. Also, had an armadillo walk up to us while we were talking!
Solitude part two. I had spent time resting, so now I was ready to hear. Go ahead and drop some awesome truth God. Call out some area of my life I need to lay at the cross. I’m ready for some messy crying even. Nothing. And then – remember this morning? Just be Kevin. I AM right here with you. I AM true peace. Your mind is always on the go. You have become restless in your thoughts and life. Be here. I AM the peace you are seeking. I AM true peace, right here with you.
And that is where we left it. It wasn’t what I was expecting. But it was what I needed to hear. Those words have carried me through several day since then. When I feel alone, tired, overwhelmed – I AM the true peace right here with you.