I recently had a chance to take a southwest road-trip. Unlike the other times…no co-pilot or navigator would be sitting across from me. I wasn’t meeting anyone at the end of this trip, no large business meetings or special visits were planned. I was solo on this run.
Landed in Albuquerque around midnight… rolled into Santa Fe in time for breakfast. I was feeling strange... like something sacred was happening, not my normal exuberant road-tripping self. This was going to be different.
I scrolled through my memories, trying to remember a time when I went more than a day or two all alone. Nothing registered. This was new territory, unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
I knew it was lent. I know Lent is a very sacred time to personally reflect on a deeper level about my faith… my life and the trajectory of my journey. But this little excursion was feeling a lot like a personal invitation by God to come away. To be still and to wait.
I accepted the invite…but with some hesitation.
Solo and silent was not my preferred circumstance. I like to be stimulated. Music, books, movies, conversation, radio, talk shows, the news cycle… it all fed my ADD like crack cocaine to an addict.
This being solo would require me to expose myself to the silence.
It would mean I was intentionally clearing my mind and schedule to be alone with God. Not something easily accomplished for more than a few hours. The disciples weren’t any better than we are at it. They couldn’t stay up for even one night to pray with Christ in the garden. The battle for solitude and silence is probably more intense for our generation than any who have come before.
So, I had some ‘stuff’ on my mind. Things that were scratching and gnawing at my heart and unsettling to my fragile peace. Unresolved questions. Frustrations and hurts, disappointments, and delays that I couldn’t explain or understand. The normal wear and tear of life along with the extra debris that comes with any form of pastoral ministry.
It was important for me to unload and get free of the ‘stuff’ before it poisoned me. I knew this solo ride was prescribed by a loving physician and He was going to pick the places and things we needed to visit, do, and see in the days ahead.
I simply had to decide… who would be in charge ? Me or Him…
I chose to submit.
I chose to quiet my mind… still my heart and listen for His gentle voice. I was prepared to let go of control… to wait as long as necessary to hear what He had to say. I didn’t realize He would test my resolve until the very end… and I didn’t realize how significant this waiting would be…
Part 2 of this blog post will be tomorrow. (March 8, 2016) If this sounds familiar, if your feeling like I did… let me encourage you to read on. If not, you may know someone who is feeling this way… share it.