Solitude

Romans 12:2 Series

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will if God”

Do more. Period. Work ethic for some reason serves as both a blessing and a curse. Both of my parents are borderline workaholics (that’s me being nice), or at least they were when I was growing up. I remember nights when my dad was working at the kitchen table when I went to bed, and was still sitting in the same spot when I got up in the morning. I seem to recall asking if he slept, and him saying “yes, of course.” Little did I know at the time he was working through many nights just to keep food on our table. I studied him though, marveled at his tenacity and productivity. While growing up he was my hero in many ways. I remember my mom also working long hours to keep her side of my family afloat. They both pleasingly take some credit for my similar workaholic traits, while also obliging that the other also should get some credit. I was probably destined to be a go-getter with those two as parental role models. I’m not complaining, given how in many ways it served me well, allowing me to find success in a business where less than ten percent of people who start actually last beyond five years.

Paul speaks of not conforming to the patterns of this world, yet transforming our minds. One of the most challenging things I’m still shedding is the guilt I feel when I’m not being highly productive from a work standard. The only way I could justify not working throughout my first decade in the finance industry was to take a vacation out of the country, since my phone had no service. Airplane mode meant relax, yet while in the states I couldn’t get by more than a couple of hours without checking my email. Even weekends typically meant work for me, especially since colleagues usually took them off. I guess my competitive juices wanted a leg up against any competition (which it turns out only I really cared about). Bottom line, the sixty hour work weeks engrained in my brain one of the hardest challenges I face today: rewiring my mind to expand priorities beyond overworking and everything that comes with it.

Murphy (my sixteen year old pup) and I head off on our second road trip tomorrow. Last year we drove nearly two months, while visiting 25 states as we ventured north, east, south and back west. We hit so many phenomenal spots, we had a blast! The trip called for a ton of windshield time, which I enjoyed, despite the fact I don’t really appreciate long days in the car. I had to escape last year, plain and simple. I had to prove that I could permit giving myself some breathing room from others’ expectations, yet even more so from my own. I am intent now on redirecting much of my time to permit space for God, self-love and serving others. I’m committed now to intentionally seeking solitude to allow creativity to permeate from my soul. This road trip is about SURRENDERING and letting God take more of the wheel in life. This trip is about being still.

One of my favorite pics from last year’s trip, Murph seeing Fort Wayne, IN for the first time- my home town.

And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not have time eat. -Mark 6:31

I recently wrote about my rationale behind this second trip in my post “Nowhere To Go, Someplace To Be.” Today I’m expanding on that rationale because I truly believe solitude is needed more than ever. We are absolutely inundated with constant forms of contact. Social media, news, texts, calls, emails, etc.. I read Wild At Heart a couple years back and it helped me realize part of the tug I feel is the desire for adventure. Last years road trip served as that to some extent. This year’s trip is different because I’m really not planning much. We will just be going with the flow. I’m expanding the adventure of last years trip by permitting more spontaneity. Many days I’ll wake up without knowing where we will sleep that night. Amid everything going on in the world, some close to me think I’m a little off my rocker for actually taking off right now. I say now is as good of time as ever for those same reasons.

Eric Church sings a song called “Holdin’ My Own.” I just learned it on the guitar, it’s a song I absolutely love. These song lyrics strike such a cord with me: “when the world comes knocking, tell ‘em I’m not home, I’m finally holdin’ my own.” That’s what this trip is about. Escaping the noise and getting quiet. Being still. SURRENDERING plans and expectations- especially my own. Learning to SURRENDER each day in an attempt to let God take the wheel of life. I don’t know about you, but being at everyone’s beck and call doesn’t permit much room for God’s visitation. The constant contact in our world makes it hard to hear Him whisper guidance. I’m intentionally getting away from the noise so I can tune into the frequency that matters most: The Holy Spirit. 5G gives everyone more access these days. Everything seems faster and faster, and life along with it. I don’t want to look back as an old man (God permitting) and mutter: “I wish I made more time for God in my life.” So, we’re hitting the road with the intent of being still, tuning in, and SURRENDERING.

I probably won’t be posting for a couple weeks. I’ll be writing plenty though- working on the book. 🙂 I hope to hear God’s whispers, feel His guidance, and experience more of His presence. I proceed without expectations. I am trying to shed the workaholic, and if nothing else, these trips can serve as an antidote for just that. I’ll be “holdin’ my own” the best way I know how, by slowing down, shedding patterns, and seeing life more through a lens of grace and love.

Goodbye for now. God Bless!

You can follow Murphy and I on Instagram: @Surrender_Project

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