FAQ’s About a Morning of Solitude
What is a morning of solitude?
It’s a three hour time set aside to spend with your heavenly Father – just He and you. It’s time spent unplugged from your normal routine, the demands of your job, other people, and your mobile phone.
Why is it a good idea?
In the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus we see him often getting away to connect with his heavenly Father. If Jesus, in his humanity felt the need to make this a priority, shouldn’t we? My computer gets bogged down and occasionally needs to be defragged, registries cleaned, old programs dumped. I function much the same. I need an occasional time of concentrated focus to renew the speed with which I connect with my heavenly Father. There’s no substitute for the time required to offload life’s burdens in the presence of my heavenly Father.
Why is it so counter intuitive for us to desire solitude?
We all tend to suffer from the “Martha” syndrome (Luke 10:38-41.) We come to believe that our activity leads to productivity, and we subtly become dependent on our own ability to carry out tasks. Furthermore, we tend to define ourselves by how much we get done. But Jesus rebuked Martha by saying, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better (sitting at Jesus’ feet,) and it will not be taken away from her.”
A morning of solitude is counter intuitive because we don’t think we can afford the time away from our busy and active schedules. It feels like we’re not getting anything done. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our relationship with the Father is our greatest privilege and the fuel by which we can serve with great power and strength.
In addition, we are used to lots of noise in our lives. TVs, phones, radios, iPods, and conversations often keep us from ever hearing God speak in His “still small voice.”
Who should attend?
Any believer in Jesus Christ, but the busier you are the better. Too often those who are busiest serving the Lord and those who have positions of leadership in the church are the last to recognize the need for a periodic getaway with God.
What will I do with all that time?
When you arrive, a brief introduction will be offered and some materials to help you should you need them. These materials will serve as an optional guide through your morning.
What will be the hardest part of this?
Two things: Number one, just doing it. Committing to it. You’ll find every reason not to do this. Secondly, once there, getting settled in. You will be very conscious of your body and distractions in the environment, not to mention the buzzing thoughts in your head. You’ll likely need a good twenty minutes at least in the beginning just to settle into the presence of the Lord. You will be able to notice your interfering thoughts and then just let them go like clouds that pass overhead, and eventually, you will be able to just be present with God. The goal is not to achieve some momentous breakthrough spiritually or to achieve some incredible new insight, but simply to give God your undivided attention. Brennan Manning was once asked after spending time in solitude what he got out of it. He answered, “I don’t know. I just figure God likes it when I show up.”
What will be the schedule?
9:00 – Brief Introduction and Orientation
9:20 – Seek out your place of solitude on our Grace Valley property
9:20-12:00 – Spend time with God
12:00-12:30 (Optional) Re-gather as a group for a brief time of sharing.
What should I bring?
Bring your own lawn chair, your Bible, pen and notebook. Also bring any snacks and drinks you might need through the morning.
Where is the Grace Valley property located?
At 435 Colmer Road in Canton, GA. Follow Hwy 20 West of Canton across Knox Bridge near Allatoona Lake until you come to Willie West Road. From there, take the fork to Colmer Road. Colmer Road turns into a gravel road for the last block or so before reaching the Merrefield’s residence. The property adjoins their residence, so we will take a brief hike from their house to the property where we will eventually be spreading out.