Part of the solution is to pursue the benefits of solitude and silence found in times of obscurity. For the first time in seven years, I took six weeks off one summer. No preaching, no writing, no counseling, no speaking engagements . . . no nothing. I focused on slowing down and refilling my soul with the deep things of the Lord. I prayed, I sang, I studied, I walked, I fished, I stayed quiet, and I sat thinking about and reevaluating my life. It was magnificent!
You may not have that much time available. You may have only three days, or perhaps two weeks. If you’re not careful, you’ll quickly fill those days with things to do, places to go, and people to see. Resist that temptation to crowd out the Lord. What a perfect opportunity to carve out time to be alone, just you, the family, and the Lord. Computer off. Fax unplugged. Cell phone tossed in the ocean.
Instead of speeding up, slow down and rethink. I don’t want you to miss any of these words. I’ve thought about them for years. Instead of speeding up, let’s find ways to slow down and rethink. Taking time to discover what really matters is essential if we’re going to lift the curse of superficiality that shadows our lives. Don’t wait for the doctor to tell you that you have six months to live. Long before anything that tragic becomes a reality, you should be growing roots deep into the soil of those things that truly matter.
Once Paul left Damascus and slipped into Arabia, he began taking inventory. There were no “To Do Before Sundown” lists. No “Six Fast Steps to Success” or other self-help scrolls clumped under his arms. He was alone. He walked slower. He watched sand swirl over the stones. He thought deeply about his past. He relived what he had done. He returned to what he had experienced on the road to Damascus. He considered each new dawn a gift from the Lord, the perfect opportunity to rework his priorities and rethink his motives. It takes time, of course . . . lots of time. But time spent in solitude prepares us for the inevitable challenges that come at us from the splintered age in which we live.
Slow down. Sit still. Be quiet. Rethink.