There is something really cool about that word…at least to me. Solitude over the past year and a half gave me time to devour a few books I wanted to read. To ponder the ideas presented in the books. To think more about my faith. Then along came a consulting opportunity that gave me the potential to build my own business. It means a four hour drive, each way, once a week. Good time to listen to courses I’ve purchased but hadn’t started. Four nights a week in a hotel that I could use to isolate myself from the normal pulls of friends and family so I could dig into the Word. But isn’t it interesting how things don’t seem to work out the way we envision at first?

The job is good. I’ve met some really interesting people over the past couple of months. One lady I’ve met, and grown to not only like but highly respect, was born in Poland, moved to Palestine before World War II started, and fought for Israeli freedom in the Ben-Gurion faction. Now when I say she fought, I should say she was a member of the self-described “most militant terrorist group” within the Ben-Gurion faction. So she saw the reality of what it took to make Israel a state. But this isn’t really the focus of this post.

The solitude I envisioned having over the past couple of months slipped away though. The project is demanding, so I end up working some in the evenings while I’m in the hotel. Before I started the consulting gig, I used to go down to a coffee shop a couple nights a week and hang out for a couple hours, read, talk to people, work on a post or two while I sat there. But when you leave the office, and then eat dinner, and know you have probably another hour or two of catch up work to do, it’s hard to focus for even a little bit on reading and thinking. I had forgotten how demanding it can be to bring up a new facility, let alone a new facility in four months, when it would normally be a 6-9 month project. But hey, they’re paying me in a time when a lot of people are losing their jobs, so I can’t complain. But I do miss those times of solitude.

But the past two months have shown me something I’ve been lacking. Discipline. Yep, that terrible “D” word. Discipline. Discipline to study the scriptures daily. To pray without ceasing. To spend time reading a book that enriches my understanding of God, or His plan for humanity. Discipline. I guess that’s why I have a guitar that I can’t play. Or why I’m not 6’2 and 180 pounds of lean muscle. Because I don’t discipline myself to do the things that aren’t immediately rewarding. I can discipline myself to get a job done, because I can see the progression day-by-day, or I hear about when the boss or client yells at me. But when it’s the “still quiet voice” of God that I need to be listening for, the rush of the day gets in the way.

But that is going to change. It is going to mean one thing. The television in the hotel is going to stay OFF! I don’t have cable service, or even those rabbit ears that are going extinct in a few weeks, at home. And that distraction has to stop. But I also have to force myself to shut down work at 7 each night so I have more time I can spend with a good book, or a devotional, or the Bible. I have to keep in mind that the spent studying the Bible and praying is non-negotiable. If I don’t enforce that, I’m going to fail. Fail at either the job, or at what God wants me to do with my life. And I don’t want to meet Jesus and have him look at me and ask me why I didn’t listen to Him more. Would you?

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