We live in a frenetic, fast-paced world. From the time we get up in the morning until the time we rest our heads upon our pillows for a well deserved sleep, we are tugged in dozens of directions, many of which threaten to drive us off course from our mission and vision. It’s often been said we live in a rat race. Comedienne Lily Tomlin once said, “The problem with a rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” The first habit of highly effective servant leaders is making time for daily solitude. This is the time we spend alone with God, feeding upon our source of spiritual nourishment and refreshment, helping us to focus on the tasks ahead and to discover His plan for our life by listening for His “still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12)
Solitude is countercultural. Almost every waking moment is bombarded by the media, social networking, text messaging, email, cell phones, putting out the fires that arise in our lives and the interruptions from those competing for our time. This is not a new problem. Jesus suffered from the same time demands we face in life. The methods by which those demands were delivered are different, but the demands themselves are the same. He ensured solitude was a key habit in His life for a variety of reasons. As the role model for serious servant leaders, we need to take our cues from Him.
- When preparing for the tests of leadership and public ministry, Jesus spent 40 days alone in the desert (Matt. 4:1-11)
- Before choosing His twelve apostles, Jesus spent the entire night alone in the desert hills (Luke 6:12-13)
- When He received the news of the death of John the Baptist, Jesus withdrew in a boat to a lonely place (Matt. 14:13)
- After the miraculous feeding of the 5,000, Jesus went up into the hills by Himself (Matt. 14:23)
Whether He was preparing Himself for leadership, making important decisions, mourning the passing of a dearly beloved friend or dealing with the tasks of His daily walk, He found time for solitude. It kept Him in tune with His mission and vision for His life here on Earth.
What is it that keeps us from spending time alone with God? What are we afraid of? Why is it so difficult to make Him a priority in our lives? What changes do we have to make in our daily routines to make time for solitude? What activities stand between us and our alone time with God?
Here’s a challenge for you. Spend 30 minutes alone with God today. Turn off all the distractions, no electronics, cell phones, PDAs, radios, televisions, etc. Don’t even talk to anyone during the 30 minutes. Close your eyes and think about the things that excite you and concern you. Place them ceremonially at the feet of Jesus, then turn your attention to Him. Think of the attributes of God such as His Holiness, His love, His mercy, His kindness, and His great gift of salvation. Listen in your heart for His still small voice directing and guiding you. It could be the most difficult 30 minutes you’ll ever spend in your life, but it could also be the most rewarding. To develop a habit, it has to first become a discipline. To become a discipline, it has to first be accomplished as a task. Are you will to take the challenge?