Sunday, February 19, 2012

soledad and sabbath.

Back in high school, someone introduced me to this huge, open field behind a neighborhood that was always quiet, surrounded by trees, and full of wildflowers and bugs and wild grasses. We called it Soledad, which means "solitude" in Spanish.

I hardly ever think about that place anymore, but what I miss about it is the overwhelming sense of peace and relaxation that it provided me. I loved just going there to sit and think and just wonder. The name was so fitting for that place- solitude is defined as "the state or situation of being alone", or "a lonely or uninhabited place".

This weekend, all my suitemates went home, and I was alone in the suite. For the first time in a long time, I was completely alone for quite a while, and I really went through quite a range of emotions because of it.

At first, I didn't like it. I felt agitated. I felt the need to call all my best friends and just talk about nothing, just so I wouldn't feel like I was by myself. I felt anxious, thinking every noise was something about to get me. But then time went on, and I started to feel a whole new sense of calm. I was able to truly relax, without any interruptions or distractions or anyone else's thoughts or words crowding in on my own. I was able to just be myself with no fear of anyone else watching or noticing.

What struck me most about those hours of solitude and being alone, was how I eventually didn't feel alone at all. There weren't any people around me, but I wasn't alone.

Jesus is called Immanuel- God with us. We aren't ever alone, we aren't ever abandoned. And it took me being actually alone in the suite for me to really realize what that feels like. Knowing that technically, yes, I was the only one there, but I wasn't on my own, was a very comforting and calming thought.

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." -Colossians 1:17

The more I started thinking about solitude, the more I realized it has to do with keeping the Sabbath. Learning more about what having a Sabbath really means this semester at Large Group has shown me so clearly that my alone time with my Savior is so crucial. I know that I am so restless until I rest in Him. I know that I need to just be still and know that God is God despite anything in the world around me that might try to tell me otherwise.

Solitude and Sabbath go hand in hand for me. I have really come to cherish my alone time and my Sabbaths, where I can just rest in Him and find joy and peace in the completeness of the week and the promise of the plans He has prepared for me in the days ahead.

I've been learning more and more how to remember and declare the good works of God and relinquish the things ahead, as hard as that might be.

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." -Deut. 31:8

I've really been realizing that my introvert self needs and craves alone time and my quiet times with my Father and my Sabbaths spent resting in the promise and glory of all that He is. I love my times of solitude.

I don't need the wide open spaces of that grassy field to find my soledad. I've found my rest in my God.

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