Life comes at us. We barely have a chance to catch our breath. From the time we wake up in the morning until we finally drift off to sleep, it seems we simply live reacting to whatever crises, whatever deadlines life demands. We carry our wounds with us, from one season to the next, one job to the next, one relationship to the next. At the end of the day, we’re left wondering why we are exhausted, depressed, undone.
This is not the life God designed for us. Healing will never happen in the hectic. Peace will never be cultivated out of chaos. Solitude is as Henri Nouwen describes, the only necessary thing — for our healing, for our peace.
If you’ve ever felt beaten-down, bruised, and broken, God has so much more in store for you! He longs for you to experience peace. “Peace” in Hebrew refers to wholeness, completeness, safety, soundness, and fullness. God wants us to be whole —physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NLT) states, Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
Here is an excerpt from my new book, Peace For a Lifetime, that shares why solitude is a necessary place to experience true healing and ultimate peace.
As we embark on this phase of our journey, recognizing we must walk this pilgrimage alone with God is important. While family and friends can provide great support, encouragement, and wisdom during this season of healing, we must take all of the energy we expend externally on others and begin to focus that energy internally on ourselves and our walk with God.
I’ve spent so much time and energy over the course of my life reaching out to others with the hope or expectation that they might love me, fix me, heal me, or even need me. So many times I cried in anguish for what others could not give or fix. In my barrenness, hunger, and need, I approached those around me with an empty cup, begging them to fill my broken, empty vessel. Because of their love for me, they might try to fill me. But just at the time I thought my cup was full, I would look down to see all of the contents had escaped and once again I was empty. The cycle continued until my friends had nothing left to pour into my cup, and I felt my emptiness as their rejection of me.
The truth is our friends cannot heal our wounds; our pain is our pain, and their pain is theirs. Yes, Scripture says that as brothers we should carry each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2 NIV), but we only have one Healer and he is Jesus Christ. He is the One to whom we should run with our pain, our fear, our loneliness, and our desperation. He stands waiting in that place of solitude to heal us, to free us, and to strengthen us.
Only when we become still can we silence the outside world. That stillness enables us to turn down the volume on the noise that keeps us distracted and exhausted. Only in the stillness are we able to experience both God and ourselves, perhaps for the first time in our lives. Initially, the silence might be difficult, maybe even frightening, but such silence is the beginning of true healing and peace.
You don’t have to continue hanging on by a thread. You don’t have to carry your wounds with you one more day. I’ve put together materials in my book, Peace for a Lifetime, to provide simple, practical life steps that will help heal the broken place inside of you. These materials will show you how you can cultivate a life of indestructible and indispensible peace —not just for today, not just for tomorrow, but peace…for a lifetime!
Join the Peace for a Lifetime Community!