Jesus calls us from loneliness to solitude. . . Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfillment. – Richard Foster
Some Truth in Slogans
Slogans are good because they approximate reality. They don’t claim to be everything there is, but they sometimes point out something that yearns inside of us. The old Nike slogan “just do it” resonates with me because sometimes I give lip service to values and priorities but don’t act on them. The North Face slogan, “never stop exploring” also taps into the deep human desire to discover more. That just seems right. There is no slogan to adequately describe the lifestyle of Jesus, but one thing I do know is that he prioritized regular retreat with his friends. His lifestyle seems to say, “everyone needs regular retreat.” His disciples needed it. Jesus facilitated it for them:
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. - Mark 9:2
We have every reason to think that we, his disciples, still need regular retreat today. And it is right to believe that Jesus through his Spirit will facilitate our solitude with him, if we seek him. There are lots of potential outcomes from a spiritual retreat, but it seems to me that many of us need a retreat because anxiety has set in and we need to get rid of it. Here is a very simple format to get started with some refreshing solitude with God in his Creation… maybe it will help you overcome anxiety in your life.
1. Prioritize a Personal Retreat to Overcome Anxiety in Your Life
Think about a problem, challenge, or obstacle facing you in your workplace, ministry, family relationships or friendships. What do you have anxiety about?
2. Stop and Name Reality
Stop and write down a short list of what comes to mind.
3. Get Alone with God
Plan a couple of hours this week to get away to a secluded place and prayerfully seek the Lord’s creativity and perspective on your anxiety.
Write down Scripture that he brings to your mind as you quietly listen for his guidance. For example…
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:7.
After you return home, share with a trusted friend or spiritual director in your life what you sense the Lord speaking to you in this situation. As you take action steps in this area of your life, ask your friend to pray for you to carry out the Lord’s strategy to address this challenging area of your life.