On Why Solitude is so Difficult! Solitude as Sabbath

For people living in culture of compulsive productivity, solitude is so difficult because it is as unproductive as is Sabbath. The way of out of such compulsivity is to treat the practice of solitude as Sabbath. Sabbath rest is where we learn to rest in God’s presence. Augustine said, “we are restless until we find our rest in Thee(God).” We come to experience true freedom in resting in the presence of Christ instead of being addicted to our compulsion to productivity. Spiritual practice of silent solitude helps us to learn to trust in the God’s provision and rest Christ’s love instead of being addicted to our need for productivity. 

To jump on the bandwagon of cyber candidness I have to confess that the past few weeks I have not has my weekly spiritual practice of solitude. I have been wondering why I haven’t been making time for spiritual solitude. I realize that the reason is: I am addicted to Productivity

The past few weeks, I have allowed myself to get spread too thin doing too many projects ranging from church planting planning to mapping out book plan outlines to working on Star Wars vlogs, all for the sake of the Gospel of course! But it meant that I was in a productivity binge owing to which I kept postponing my solitude time weeks on end.

I decided to break the streak and go sit at Herman park meditating and praying, resting quietly in the presence of the Spirit of Christ. It occurred to me that the principle behind solitude is really same as the principle behind Sabbath. The principle behind Sabbath is one of learning to trust God. Sabbath was instituted as an exercise of faith – that one can have a zero productivity day trusting that God will provide. 

 

Opposite of this Sabbath trust in God’s providence is modernity’s compulsive productivity mindset. As a kid I used to be told repeatedly, “you can’t go to heaven in a rocking chair,” meaning one has to be hard working productive individuals to be loved by God. Apparently productivity is not merely the domain of economics, even religion has fallen down to worship the god of modernity: productivity improvements! 

Sabbath is instituted as the second of the 10 commandments because it is the counterpoise of this compulsion to productivity. The spiritual practice of solitude, even as unproductive as it seems to the modern eyes, is precisely the disciple that helps us not worship the counterfeit God of productivity at all costs. 

I sometimes hear people say how much they love solitude because it helps them relax and rest up so that they can hit the ground running and be super productive at work. This type of reasoning completely misses the point of Sabbath which is that we are commanded to be unproductive so that know what it means to rest in a state of consciousness of truly trusting in God’s provision. 

For people living in culture of compulsive productivity, solitude is so difficult because it is as unproductive as is Sabbath. The way of out of such compulsivity is to treat the practice of solitude as Sabbath. Sabbath rest is where we learn to rest in God’s presence. Augustine said, “we are restless until we find our rest in Thee(God).” We come to experience true freedom in resting in the presence of Christ instead of being addicted to our compulsion to productivity. Spiritual practice of silent solitude helps us to learn to trust in the God’s provision and rest Christ’s love instead of being addicted to our need for productivity.