One On One
By Dwight Ferris
One of my favorite memories as a kid was catching my dad in moments of solitude. We lived on a farm and in the evening, especially in the summer, when I was doing my daily chores before bed time, I would run into him somewhere on the farm, sitting on the front porch or maybe with a foot resting on a cattle stall in the barn, just thinking. My dad was good at thinking. Still is.
You can’t pressure my dad into making important decisions without a lot of thought. Believe me, my siblings and I have tried many times without success. As a family we learned that, once he made up his mind, the decision was usually final. We also learned that we could trust him to have a consistent vision that incorporated his Christian ethics. My dad never seemed to struggle with ethical dilemmas and he typically got his personal goals accomplished as well. Are you struggling with keeping a handle on your life? Maybe practicing solitude could help; Jesus was big on it.
Have you ever noticed that, despite being constantly on the move throughout his ministry, Jesus took time for solitude? Right in the midst of the chaos of critical moments, He often slipped away to pray or be with the Father. He wasn’t getting away; He was getting with God. In the gospel of Luke, 5:15, it says; “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. In Mark, we are told that Jesus practiced solitude time after time throughout His ministry, ( Mark 1:12, Mark 1:16, Mark 1:35, Mark 1:45) even on the road to His crucifiction. In some cases we know what He and the Father were meditating about, and in others we are left to wonder. The point is that Jesus seemed to return from those moments of solitude with a crystal clear vision for the next step forward. Apparently Jesus didn’t make decisions on His own, so why should we feel the pressure to do so?
There’s another interesting thing that sticks out in accounts of Jesus and his moments of solitude. The disciples, his friends, were at times impatient with His needed to get away. In Luke the author describes how the crowd sort of freaked out about the idea that Jesus needed to seek solitude. Jesus sought solitude especially before what turned out to be some of the seminal moments of His life on earth. I can relate, can’t you? I’m still astounded, even at my age, how often seeking out the Spirit is the last thing I think of. I find it hard in the best of times to carve out a few moments and find a place to quiet my thoughts and allow the Holy Spirit to enter into my thinking, especially when someone is waiting for an answer. Unless I make solitude a priority, it doesn’t happen, and the resource goes to waste.
Jesus learned that when He entered those discussions with the Father, He came away with a clear vision of what the Father wanted Him to do. Many nights I watched my earthly dad do this and he usually came away with a sound plan. The lesson for us is to invite the Holy Spirit into the conversation and listen. It’s you and Him, one on One.
I think if there is anything I learned from my dad, it’s that carving out time in your day to spend in reflection with the Holy Spirit is essential. It creates a clear vision for you, whether it be in the area of personal ethics, family leadership, or setting and achieving career goals. It doesn’t much matter if you’re a farmer like my dad, a professor at the university, or a student charting a new course in life; we need to carve out a time in our day when we can share what we’re thinking on a spiritual level with the God who loves us and has our best interests in mind. Yes, of course, we need to discuss our thoughts with our spouse, a trusted friend, or our family, but if it’s really something important, find a way to get away, even if for only a moment, and run things past God.
Write This Way: Look around your daily routine and try to find a go-to place that you can get away from people for a few minutes; a solitary spot where you can sit and just pray or meditate with the Holy Spirit about your day. When I attended Ball State, I would occasionally walk through Christy Woods or find a chair in the library for 15 minutes on my way to class. Scout around for a personal spot – your little rendezvous spot- where you can share your thoughts and allow the Holy Spirit to interject some wisdom into your life.
About the Author
Dwight Ferris is a long time member of Commonway church. His career path & interests started as a public school teacher. He has owned a small solar energy company, built custom furniture, and worked as a graphic artist at a cartoon studio before retiring. He says, “Writing is a creative outlet that I wondered if I would like, or be any good at, and I’m thankful for Commonway’s blog as a safe place to try my hand at it.”