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“Oh, how weary I am, how weary I’ve been for many years already, of this need to live twenty-four hours every day!” ~ Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867)

Silence, solitude, and a slower pace of life. I yearn for more of all three.

In a bustling and busy world where voices are clamoring for my attention and constantly making demands of me, the quiet serenity of absolute silence is like a warm blanket to my soul. Periods of silence recharge my spiritual batteries and strengthen my emotional stamina. And my interaction with fellow strugglers leads me to believe I’m not the only one in need of replenishing.

Here’s a suggestion: Turn off your phone, shut down your computer, get off social media. Carve out time for solitude. My quiet mornings are sprinkled with reading, praying, and journaling—three must haves in my life. I encourage you to practice these disciplines as well.

If a genuine human life is what you crave, then solitude is what you must pursue. All the props we use to justify our existence collapse during times of solitude, as we finally—finally—face ourselves. While initially painful, truly facing ourselves breeds self-knowledge, and self-knowledge is a key component of spiritual growth. Spiritual growth, however, entails not only prayer and Bible reading, but also delving into the province of the soul. Entrenched sinful patterns must be addressed, confronted, repented of, and replaced with Christlike behavior.

Here’s a suggestion: Rise early in the morning, go sit in a corner, and breathe deeply. Next, open your Bible and read Psalm 131. I encourage you to establish a morning liturgy that feeds your soul.

“God is good,” we say, and so he is. I want to slow down long enough to actually contemplate how or why. I don’t want to sprint through my days; I want to amble along, pausing for reflection, gazing slowly at the places and people before me. I want to stop, look, and listen. I want to pay attention.

Here’s a suggestion: If you’re able, go outside and look at the created world, taking careful note of what you see. Give God praise for it. If you’re married, go hold your spouse’s hand. If you have children, go stare at them for a while. (Yes, they’ll think you’re weird!). Then go count your blessings, name them one by one.