Monday, June 29, 2009

Places for solitude

I remember, i was 14, sitting on the "shore" of Elephant Butte Lake, NM, when my youth pastor encouraged us to claim a special place as "Holy Ground" where we could meet with God every day that week at summer church camp. I eventually found a patch of sand behind two shrubs which cut me off from everyone else - gave me enough solitude to feel like i could really focus and open my heart hoping to experience God in a new way that week. Each morning i met Him there in prayer and worship and whatever else. And if you know anything about God, you know that he was there - well, he is everywhere. After that summer, i have tried to make a habit of this when i get the chance.

While i was at APU i waited until most of the other students were asleep, and every night between 1 and 2 am i went to the prayer chapel and had the whole thing to myself. That year i grew in leaps and bounds as i enjoyed my intimate times with God in that tiny prayer chapel.

When i was a camp counselor at Id-Ra-Ha-Je, i would wake early - before my sweet campers would stir and i would watch the sun rise East over the beautiful mountains, as i was submerged within them. And i would pray - mostly for my campers. And i would sing praises. And it didn't take much discipline to wake, because i so longed and looked forward to those times to be with God.

In San Diego, first thing each morning i would hurry to Mission Beach, a few yards down the street from our apartment and i would scribble in my journal and nibble on a cinnamon roll as i watched the waves pound the sand, and hear the beautiful movement in the water.

These places that I claimed for time with God have always been so important in my life.

Yet, these last few years i have "lost the time" for these. for Him, i guess it would really be. It's harder to be alone when your very life is entwined with someone else's life. Especially when neither of us have regular schedules, it's hard to plan a regular time to be alone. And yeah, i've been tired a lot these last few years. but still....wouldn't you think that would be a greater reason to find a time and place to meet with God daily? Of course, God's love surrounds me every where i am, at every moment. Of course he speaks to me through friends and family and his beautiful creation. Of course, he is stronger and greater than my lack of self discipline. But for me - this time is something that i have found is important to ME - and i'm missing it.

I do feel like i am more lost and alone and living less purposefully than i've ever been. and i think this has everything to do with my lack of "perspective" when it comes to God's purpose for my life. And how would i know that perspective, if i am not seeking him and seeking his purpose for me. When i am just droning away every day....

So this week i am planning for myself a little day of "retreat".
como, CO


Sara said...

Hannah, I definitely relate to your post. Somehow, it seemed so much easier in college to when I could go on a 10 min walk and be sitting on pulpit rock staring at Pikes Peak to find time to spend with God. Why is it that my mind seems to think solitude in nature is needed to really have quality time with Him, and in Dallas, when that is near to impossible (especially without being in 100 + degree heat) I just don't seem to make the time. Hope your retreat is awesome! Miss you!

Merritt said...

praying that you have a wonderful retreat!