Be Still, Vol. 3

Today we’re going to dig into the spiritual discipline of solitude. Solitude is not merely being alone. It is being alone WITH God. Those are two very different things. Just like being home alone is very different than being home alone with my wife. The second is relational, beautiful, and exciting. The first is just being alone. Both silence and solitude have a purpose. Being Purposefully, intentionally with God. Separating ourselves from other things that might demand or distract our attention so we can totally focus on Him.

“Solitude is the practice of being absent from other people and other things so that you can be present with God.” –

When you are alone with someone, you find out just how much happiness and fulfillment they bring you. Years ago, there was a girl in our group of friends that seemed like a great match for me. She was godly, smart, and pretty. So we went to dinner, and once it was just the two of us, we realized that we were both incredibly bored. We brought each other no happiness at all, and it was obvious once it was only the two of us. There was nothing wrong with her. And there was nothing wrong with me (well, actually there were lots of things wrong with me, but none had come up yet). We just didn’t connect in any kind of way that brought each other happiness, and that was very apparent once we were alone. I think that is why we fear being alone with God because so much of our happiness depends on other things.

That is one reason solitude is so important. It reveals where our heart searches for fulfillment. When we have nothing else, it becomes quite obvious where our contentment lies. Do we truly find our fulfillment in God alone? Or are we still digging wells, hoping to find happiness in a sixth husband? C.S. Lewis said, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there. There is no such thing.” True contentment only comes from God; it cannot be found apart from Him.

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” Matthew 6:21 (ESV).

It doesn’t say that your heart SHOULD be there, or even that it SHOULDN’T. Only that it WILL. Taking time to separate ourselves from everything else besides God is making an investment of our treasure in Him. Solitude is beneficial for understanding ourselves and for investing in what is good and right. Time alone with God is a beautiful thing to be longed for, not feared. Just like getting precious time alone with my wife is the treasure of the discipline of solitude.



What’s In The Playlist?

Arc Angels – Living In A Dream

Those of you who know me well already know about Doyle Bramhall II. He’s my favorite guitar player/artist. Well, years ago he was in a band with another Austin legend Charlie Sexton. They were Austin’s young hotshots then. The rest of the band wasn’t half bad either. The rhythm section was also known as Double Trouble, in other words, they had played for Stevie Ray Vaughan. They are Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon. Unfortunately, that much talent at that young an age is a formally for implosion. The band recorded one amazing album and broke up. But here we are, years later, and they have all gone their own ways. Chris and Tommy are still two of the most respected artists on their instruments. Charlie has grown into a pinnacle of the Austin music community. And Doyle is well, Doyle. He’s played for Eric Clapton, Susan Tedeschi, and many others in addition to doing his own records. So anyway, they got back together for some shows and recorded this live record at Stubb’s here in Austin. So needless to say, I’m in heaven.

Patty Griffin – Downtown Church

Maybe the only artist that ranks up there with Doyle in my list of favorites is indeed Patty Griffin. I found her first record, Living with Ghosts, on accident in the store. A Blockbuster Music store if that tells you how long ago that was. Anyway, I’ve been in love with her music ever since. Her new record is full of gospel songs. I never really thought to combine her voice with that style but it’s an amazing match. Her voice carries more emotion than any other 10 singers together. In this raw setting, she really shines.

SongDiscovery Vol. 82

SongDiscovery is a worship tool by Worship Leader Magazine. With your subscription, you get 8 issues of the magazine and 8 CDs full of new worship songs each year. Anyway, I’m doing a video blog series talking about some of these new songs. So I’ve been listening to them. There are some great songs in here. I’m learning two of them already to add to my repertoire. I won’t say too much about them because it would spoil the videos.

Bob Marley – Legend

I pulled this record out last week. You know, it’s just incredible. It’s been good for so long, but listening to it now is still amazing. I introduced the kids to it. I’m not sure they get the whole reggae concept, but might as well start them while they’re young. Bob Marley has turned into more of an idea in our current culture. But going back to the music is so awesome. These songs are so well-written, great arrangements, and so creative. It’s really a joy to listen to.

Matt Maher – Alive Again

I finally took the time to sit down with Matt’s new record and it’s really great. He’s always been an incredible worship leader. But this record has taken some large steps forward musically. You probably have already heard the title track and maybe, Hold Us Together as well. But the rest of the record is strong too. I highly recommend it. Check it out.

And that’s what I’m listening to this week. What’s on repeat at your house?