By Ali Laing
Next Generation Development Coordinator
Life can be incredibly busy and feels like it’s going at 100mph. Sometimes we can all feel like we want to step off the merry go round and sit in a still place.
The truth is very few of us need to be convinced that there is real value in have times of stillness and solitude in our lives. Times to reflect with God about life, work and family.
The problem is that we find it very hard to actually do it. In between genuine family, work and life commitments and also perhaps a small amount of FOMO or, in my case, procrastination. We never seem to get these moments of stillness into life! We justify why and shrug our shoulders and keep going.
But the truth is we can all know stillness and solitude if we are willing to sacrifice a little.
We can all find a couple of days a year if we put it in the diary and accept the challenges it has on life, work and family. It will always seem to come at the wrong time and the temptation to cancel will be strong. But I’ve yet to have a retreat that I’ve regretted!
We can also all find smaller times of stillness and retreat in the day in and day out of life. 15 minutes of stillness away from our phones and TVs, a walk in the evening or early morning. Perhaps an evening without binge watching something and just having a bit of time. The opportunities are endless for periods of stillness.
But why? Why do we need more stillness? Science tells us it’s good for physical, emotional and mental health. The life of Jesus shows that it is good to spend still, quiet time alone praying with our Father.
As someone who works with younger people, I am growing increasingly aware that one of the most potentially potent forms of mission we can engage with is to create spaces of stillness for young people. Away from phones, games and social media stresses. A glimpse of a relevant form of monasticism if you will!
What could God do in your life if you had a 48 hour retreat of stillness and reflection with Him?
Scripture tells us, “Be still and know that I am God”.
Psalm 84 tells us that better is one day in His courts (presence) than thousands elsewhere.
Perhaps Scottish contemporary culture is giving us a Macedonian cry to help them discover stillness and in so doing they may just encounter the life transforming presence of Jesus.