So I thought to end our discussion of Seclusion I would change things up a bit. I decided to do away with the Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 stuff and just post a title that fit. Somewhat fitting for seclusion, I think that I may have secluded what the posts were about with the titles. Also, I wanted to mention that I am reading through the book, The Jesus Habits by Jay Dennis, and a lot of the inspiration for this blog is coming from this book. Just as a review, the Peacefulwife and I were talking a few weeks ago about how a woman needs to show respect to her husband and a man needs to show love to his wife. Along the way the discussion evolved into if a woman submits to her husband, he needs to be able to take on a leadership role in the family. That led to trying to define what leadership traits make a husband a good leader. So I found that there is not a lot of information out there that defines this other than exploring the headship role of the husband. The best example of Christian leadership traits for a husband I could come up with were looking at the habits of Jesus. That is how the Happy Husband Habits came about and I hope they are meaningful. To finish our discussion on seclusion we are going to look at ways we can go about making seclusion a Happy Husband Habit.
Permit yourself to have a quiet time with God
I think Jay Dennis does an outstanding job of explaining this as “come to the place where you realize that not coming apart in seclusion could mean you will come apart in exhaustion, both spiritually and emotionally.” I know as a husband we fall victim to pushing through things and not taking time out for God. Our wives, I believe, are even more susceptible to this and will run themselves down until they have nothing else to give. It is important that we evaluate how all of the members of our family are doing and try to encourage them to take a time out before they start to break. A lot of people may feel guilty in the midst of their day to take a moment to refocus and recharge. It may be that a few quiet moments could help you clearly get through the rest of the day.
Pick a time and place
Have a time during your day that is deliberate and try to stick to it. Some are early risers and like to start the day with some quiet time. I like to take a few minutes during my lunch break at work. Just find something that works for you.
Put your seclusion senses on
Sometimes there are going to be things that test you where you need to make a time-out call. In basketball when the other team makes a big run, a good coach will often call a time-out to settle his players down and regroup. We need to sense when pressure is mounting after something happens or someone says something to take the time-out then. We need to be able to pull away and refocus and then get back in the game.
It’s okay to let people know
If you need to take the time-out, it is okay to let people know that you need some time to think or pray. People will appreciate your honesty and be willing to give you some time to work through something. It is important that you do not use this time out just as a way of not giving them an answer or input, though.
Location, location, location
In real estate they say that a property is all about location, location, location. We talked about how Jesus often went up to the mountain or by the water to find seclusion. We can usually find a quiet place in our home or office for seclusion, but it might make sense to try having some time with God outside, taking a walk, or during a peaceful drive.
Limit your distractions
With smart phones and Tablets so portable these days it can sometimes feel like we are connected 24/7 to work and everyone else. Try to limit your distractions during your times of seclusion. It will be there when you come back. Last week we went to a cabin up in the mountains for a few days and once we were there it became apparent that we had no cell service or internet there. It was a little frustrating at first because we had our IPad, cell phone, and laptop with us, but then it was kind of a relief that we didn’t have a choice and it wasn’t going to bother us. We could just relax and enjoy our family time together.
Intentional Scripture reading
It is good to have a plan when it comes to your time with God. You can work through a devotional book or a book of the Bible, but have a plan. Read a passage and let it sink in. I know I just talked about not using your electronics, but I really enjoy using a tool like Bible.Is app and listening to a dramatic reading of the scripture while reading along on the screen.
It is important for us to practice being still and listening to God. Jay Dennis describes this as “a holy shut up.” The temptation is to make our quiet time as quick as possible and get back to our day. Sometimes I think we leave out the listening part. It will take discipline to take the time to be still and listen.
Plan for your next time of seclusion
When you finish a quiet time, begin planning for your next time. It might be good to kind of keep a “seclusion to do” list as you go about your day that you can dwell on when you have your next quiet time.