the word solitude is scary to some people. i've never been one who's feared being alone or even minded being alone. in fact, as a kid i spent ALOT of time in my room reading books, writing or thinking... in solitude. and it never bothered me. but as i've gotten older and busier and more social, things have gotten in the way and in my oh-so-backwards brain, things have become more important than solitude. so in my quest to be someone who lives a better story this year, i decided that a better story meant not skipping out on what God thinks is important and on what Jesus valued most - time alone and away with the Father.
here's my honest take going into it - i wasn't scared of it, but i wasn't really all that looking forward to it. it's not my favorite thing on the list and not my least favorite, but closer to the least favorite side for sure, which is strange to me because every time i leave a period of solitude, i walk away wanting more, but yet i dread it. is it because i feel like i'm missing out on things while i'm gone? or is it because i hate the idea of being stuck in my own head for that long? or is it because i know that when you give God that concentrated time, there's no way you could come back the same?
my guess is it's all of the above, but more than anything - i'm grateful for His faithfulness in allowing me to come back changed - every time. it's beautiful.
so i left for pismo beach for a few days last week and am grateful beyond words to my aunt and uncle who graciously lent me a free (amazing) place to stay. i got there and thought, "yup, me and God will be just fine here." :) and we were. i know from where you sit, your questions for me might be - well, did you come back changed? what did God teach you? was it worth it?
did i come back changed? i had spoken with God before i left and told him that whether he changed nothing or he changed everything, 2 days with him was all i wanted. but yes, because he's that faithful, he did show up and i am not the same as i was when i got there.
what did God teach me? he taught me about himself. he gently reminded me of how very much he loves me and how often i forget that. he restored hope for things that i'd lost hope for both in my own life and in the lives of those i love. he renewed my passion and vision for ministry with students and gave me excitement for what's to come down the road with that. he continues to change me into someone who is more like him, someone who loves deeper, is more humble, but yet confident and comfortable in my own skin; someone who is able to see past people's actions into their need. he released me of the responsibility i carry to fix things for others and reminded me that he's in the business of restoring and redeeming people, so i don't have to :) he took me from a place where i was overwhelmed to a place where i found peace.
this was way more for me than just 4 hour walks on the beach and good coffee and some solid reading and praying. this was restoration. this was filling me up so that i can pour out. this was taking my burdens so that i can better love others on the flip side. this was preparation... preparation for what's to come, energy and ministry restored so that i can handle what's next and let's just say "what's next" didn't waste any of its time getting here. :)
was it worth it? always. time away with the Father is always worth it.