On this past Sunday (just hours prior to unplugging from the local pastorate for a season of sabbatical that will excuse me from the pulpit and all church-related responsibility for 8 straight weeks) I shared aloud these words about giving up control and choosing solitude. The words are my personal remix of deep writings from Henri Nouwen. By the expression on many of the faces in the congregation, my vulnerable confession really resonated:
When I enter into solitude to be with God alone, I quickly discover how
dependent I am. Without the many distractions of my daily life, I can feel
anxious and tense. When nobody speaks to me, calls on me, or needs my help, I can start feeling like a nobody. Then I begin wondering whether I am useful,
valuable, and significant. My tendency is to leave this fearful solitude
quickly and get busy again to reassure myself that I am"somebody." But
that is a temptation, because what makes me somebody is not other people's
responses to me but God's eternal love for me.
To claim the truth of myself I have to cling to my God in solitude as the One who makes me who I am.