“If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end. The only people who achieve much are those who seek while the conditions are still unfavourable. Favourable conditions never come’
- C.S Lewis
Here are seven common interruptions, solved through the teachings of Jesus.
1. Busyness [Solitude]:
Is your calendar SO compressed with studying, partying and watching Season 2 of The Witcher on Netflix, that you don’t have time to be a disciple? Ouch. The human soul is like a wild animal, it is shy and elusive. Our noisy, disproportionate movements is the crashing upon the undergrowth that causes such beauty to evade and from inhabiting in it. We’re told God speaks in a still, measured voice. Rumble, you’ll struggle to hear Him. Rush, you’ll struggle to see Him. Scurry, you’ll be out of step with Him.
In Mark 6, Jesus’ ministry is FULL ON. Teaching in the synagogues, travelling between villages, healing the sick, raising and releasing the twelve to preach repentance. Yet, like a juxtaposition, right at the heart of this passage, just before He feeds the 5,000, Jesus says to the disciples: ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’. Despite huge popularity, enormous demand and burning pressures, Jesus stewarded busyness by seeking solitude in every key moment of His life.
I wonder whether you do too?
The relationship I looked up to most growing up was my Mother and Father’s. My parents just knew how to sit and be with one another, wordlessly. These tranquil, rhythmic pockets of time didn’t become boring or tedious. In fact, the complete opposite. These ‘no strings attached’ moments were the foundations that blossomed into unforced, life forming conversations that truly mattered.
Solitude is where we stop doing and start being. It is a space of safety, honesty and conversation with God in prayer. Henri J.M. Nouwen said: 'Solitude is the furnace of transformation. It is the place of great struggle and great encounter - the struggle against the compulsions of the self and the encounter with the loving God who offers himself as the substance of the new self'.
Solitude is a sign of grit and strength. It is a place many are afraid to go but necessary to becoming fully acquainted with ourselves and with God’s stunning plans for our lives. For many university students, the great danger is not that they will abandon their faith, but more so, their preoccupation that will settle for an adequate version of it. Without a quiet place to pause and examine the heart, we deceive ourselves and manifest society rather than the Holy Spirit. Students urgently need to step away from the university cultural norms or else they risk skimming over their undergraduate days rather than living them.
If solitude really is the antidote to the diluted spiritual life, then the problem is more our busyness than His disconnection.
Jesus is our model. He was busy, but pursued solitude with the Father.
Today, the invitation of the Holy Spirit is to come into the presence of Jesus who says to you and I: ‘Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’.
Dare to embrace the silence.