Practical Messages for Impractical Times by Sonya Johnson Ruiz
There are times when something goes awry, and my electronics seem to have a mind of their own. My initial reaction used to be frustration, now I simply reboot, and their normal functioning abilities are restored, and all is well. The past week, I endured some stressful times that left me mentally and emotionally exhausted. My prayers were answered when God allowed me to read two Devotional messages (one by Sister Zoe) on the necessity of solitude and silence. We should make a daily habit of placing everything around us on pause, to practice silence, and to spend solitary moments in communion with God.
Do you remember your stage of growth and development, known as the “teenage stage,” when you battled a spirit of rebellion? Many parents went through the roller coaster ride of their children crossing the bridge from dependent to independent and the closeness that they once had almost ceased to exist. Although, a teenager does not understand the “why?” of their inner turmoil, the mind and body are being prepared for the hardships of adulthood. The one of the few memories that I do recall from that stage is the overwhelming desire to just be left alone, away from the rest of the family.
The scripture Be Still and know that I am God…Psalm 46:10 is to be taken literally—God, our Creator, desires that we place our busyness on pause. I can recall escaping from the commotion of a hectic job by taking lunch hour in my car. From 12 pm-1 pm, while eating a nutritional lunch, I enjoyed a mid-day worship experience with God, which left me refreshed. Although I noticed a vast improvement in my mental acuity and physical energy when I chose the peace of silence and solitude, I was inconsistent. On the days I worked through lunch, went out with my coworkers, and chatted nonstop, I was sluggish by 2 pm, which caused the unhealthy habit of drinking coffee. Believe me, it takes a conscious effort to form the habit of taking pause breaks for silence and solitude, but the benefits were awesome!
This morning, God reminded me of the necessity to separate myself and spend quiet time alone with Him. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6. With all of the chaos surrounding us, decide to get away and have spiritual escapes as often as you can. Even with working a full-time job, we can take 1-2 minutes to perform a set of 3-5 deep breathing exercises and pray. Yes, God is aware of our daily responsibilities, and He knows the stressors that we face every day. His answer to preventing fatigue, burnout, and premature aging: Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11. God honors our commitment when we place our busyness on hold to spend time with Him.
The Power of Silence–The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. Exodus 14:14
We live in societies that encourage transparency, big reveals, ranting, sounding off, verbal sparring, and telling it like it is. But this is in direct opposition to the Word of God. In Ecclesiastes 3, God tells us that there is a time for everything; A time to be quiet and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7 (last part). We do not have to tell all, engage in lively debates, or be involved in conflict. I will be the first to admit that maintaining silence is a tough battle. Even so, obedience to God is not an option. If we say that we love God, then we will: Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
With prayer and submission of our will to God, we can understand David’s prayer; Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10. Not only will we grow spiritually by gaining a deeper relationship with God, but we are also refreshed mentally and physically. Life-changing strategy: Go ahead, incorporate solitude and silence in your life by placing yourself on pause, and you will come to rely on and enjoy the peace that passes all understanding.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.