Yes, I’ve been doing a totally vegan, yeast-free, sugar-free, coffee and chocolate free fast now for 15 days now. I avoid any place that gives me a whiff of coffee. Seriously. I avoid that isle at the supermarket entirely, except for when I need herbal decaf tea and then I plug my nose and race by.
So I’ve been reading through Proverbs during my time alone during this fast and I’ve also been re-reading a few chapters in The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. Here’s the resounding theme I keep hearing in my head:
OK, not those exact word, but something close to it. Here’s a nicer way to put what I’m learning:
Detoxing from our consumption laced society, whether it’s food or noise, is a good thing if it means we step back, examine our life and inner thoughts and draw closer to God.
Here’s what Foster says about solitude:
“Inward solitude will have outward manifestations. There will be the freedom to be alone, not in order to be away from people but in order to hear better. Jesus lived in inward “heart solitude.” He also experienced outward solitude.”
Here are a few times Jesus went off by himself:
Matthew 4:1-11 when He went to fast and prepare for ministry in the desert.
Luke 6:12 when He was about to select his disciples.
Matthew 14:13 when He received word of John the Baptist’s death.
Fear of being alone drives us to create noise in our lives. Solitude frees us of being influenced by others, impulsive decisions, and distractions that keep us from truly focusing on our source of life and hope.
Here are a few ways to build the discipline of solitude or silence in your life:
1. Plan for it. Organize times for solitude like you would a meeting for work. It might be an hour or a weekend, but make time and write it down.
2. Go unplugged. You can’t really get solitude with kids yelling in the other room or the TV on. Avoid competition. Turn off the radio on your drive home from work.
3. Take it outside. Quietness and listening to the gentle sounds of nature go hand-in-hand.