Retreat in Silence:
I recently spent 2+ days in total silence. No cell phone. No music. No TV. No social media. NO TALKING.
I checked into a motel - using primarily some note cards I'd prepared in advance. And I shut out everything and everyone but God. This was something I'd wanted to do for years, but I never followed through on it. Then Daughter reported back after her silent weekend, and she encouraged me to jump in.
God speaks in the silence.
The Lord will fight for you. You need only be still. Ex. 14:14
Maybe you can turn everything off and that's that. But being still is one of the hardest things for me.Don't get me wrong. I LOVE SILENCE. I even CRAVE it. It's just that it's hard to come by in my life these days.
When the kids were little, Hubby would on occasion pack them up and take them to Grandma's house for a weekend getaway. Now the kid are grown and gone. And Grandma lives with us. So I take every advantage of my studio/office for quiet time. But the idea of days of extended silence seemed like an out-of-reach luxury.
What I Heard in Silence:
1. God shows up when you invite Him.
I asked several prayer warriors weeks before my retreat to pray with me. And God showed up in a big way. It's amazing how much better I heard Him when I turned everything else off.
2. God's pull is stronger than the enemy's tactics.
Once I had a hotel reservation, the enemy began to really work against me. Health issues - mine and another loved one's - almost made me cancel. Even as I checked in and sat down to begin my initial Bible study that first day: the hotel's fire alarm went off. Turned out it was the construction workers on another floor. The dust from their remodel had triggered the alarm. I will say that fear/anxiety hit me pretty hard at that point. But I powered through it.
3. God's creation speaks volumes.
I spent most of one day out in nature. It's ironic that I love nature so much, but my seasonal allergies keep me from it. My intent/plan was to do my morning Bible study on a bench at a dock I knew. The Oklahoma wind made that impossible. So I just listened to God through nature. Be watching for a post exclusively on that journey soon.
4. God has a sense of humor.
One part of my retreat was devoted to planning. As I searched for future blog posts, they came easily from the scriptures I was studying. The humor came in the insights. They all seemed to have a science fiction connection. Now, I'm not saying that God is a nerd or a geek. I'm saying that He connected His Word to something I enjoy.
5. God doesn't mind if I plan.
I couldn't imagine entering into silence for days without a plan of what to do. In the months leading up to this retreat, I read articles and books with a "How-To" slant. Eventually - after extended prayer about it, I came up with my own plan that gave me a peace. I simply expanded my typical prayer time. Since I generally begin prayers with praise, I used a 4-hour block to simply praise God. I mentally sang praise songs and added specific praises from those songs and from the Psalms to my retreat journal. I also had time blocks for confession, requests and thanksgiving.
6. God renews.
More than one of the scriptures I studied dealt with sleep. Sleep is something I've battled for a while now. My mind will not turn off. Do you know how hard it is to function when you do not sleep well? So, after lengthy study of Psalm 3:5, "I lie down and sleep, for the Lord sustains me." Or Psalm 4:8, "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety." I was finished for the first day. I shut the room-darkening shades and ignored the pull to turn on the TV. When I looked at my watch, exhausted from a day of intense study - it wasn't midnight. It was only 9:30! I slept for 11.5 hours that night. I awoke ready for more time with my Sustainer.
7. God craves time with His children.
God was so faithful to show up for me. He had so much to show me in His Word. I felt Him on my hike and in my hotel room - more clearly than I have in quite a while. Like any father, our Heavenly Father wants time alone with us. I'd let the struggles of this world steal that from me. I'm blessed to have had the time with Him.
I pray you find a mini moment of silence with Him today.