Solitude- the furnace of transformation

By Dave Henning / November 7, 2012

John Ortberg (The Life You’ve Always Wanted) tells us that Christians throughout the ages have understood the necessity and benefit of solitude.   Pastor Ortberg goes on to explain what makes solitude so important:

“Solitude is the one place where we can gain freedom from the forces of society that will otherwise relentlessly mold us.”

Ironically, we are not the most vulnerable to dangers which are the most sudden, dramatic and obvious.  The most insidious dangers are the ones that sneak up on us and are so much a part of our environment that we don’t even notice them.  The negative, self-defeating thoughts and emotions we experience after our ministry downsizing or position loss can become our default, even subconscious, response to life.

The author continues by describing 4 characteristics of solitude:

1.  Solitude requires relentless perseverance.  Unless you make a scheduled commitment to times of solitude, it won’t happen.

2.  It is helpful to think of 2 categories of solitude- brief periods of solitude on a regular basis, preferably daily; extended periods of solitude over greater intervals, perhaps a day or several days.

3.  Structure your first attempt at extended solitude.  One of the biggest obstacles to this practice is the feeling that extended solitude is a waste of time- we only feel useful when we’re doing something.

4.  Always strive to do better and don’t become discouraged when you fail.  In the words of Brother Lawrence: “For many years I was bothered by the thought that I was a failure at prayer.  Then one day I realized I would always be a failure at prayer; and I’ve gotten along much better ever since.”


About the author

Dave Henning

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