Solitude and Community

Intro

Take time to interact with the resources below.  [wpex more=”Why?” less=”Why?”]

Every one of us has a different learning style and are affected in different ways by different things at different times. With this in mind the “into” part of this section is intended to look at the content brought up by the book from multiple angles. Video clips, blogs and other interactions will help bring this information from our heads (information) to our hearts (transformation). You are encouraged to relate your story, your emotion, your perspective to the current content and see where God brings you.

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King Arthur

King Arthur and those that ride with him all have specific abilities that they offer to the mission at hand.  Each one of them, through life and training, have honed their abilities as individuals, and together, they are unstoppable.

Community Supported by Solitude

Solitude greeting solitude, that’s what community is all about. Community is not the place where we are no longer alone but the place where we respect, protect, and reverently greet one another’s aloneness. When we allow our aloneness to lead us into solitude, our solitude will enable us to rejoice in the solitude of others. Our solitude roots us in our own hearts. Instead of making us yearn for company that will offer us immediate satisfaction, solitude makes us claim our center and empowers us to call others to claim theirs. Our various solitudes are like strong, straight pillars that hold up the roof of our communal house. Thus, solitude always strengthens community.
– Henri Nouwen
Sharing In His Authority
You will reign, dear ones, over glorious kingdoms and realms within the great and glorious kingdom of our Father—a role we certainly need some preparation for. In another favorite Narnia story, The Horse and His Boy, the lost prince of Archenland is returned to his father—an orphaned boy, returned to his rightful role, just as we are. But he has some learning to do, some catching up to do before he can assume full responsibility. Shasta, now proclaimed prince, laments to his two horse companions: “It’s far worse for me than for you. I am going to be educated. I shall be learning reading and writing and heraldry and dancing and history and music while you’ll be galloping and rolling on the hills of Narnia.”
A prince totally unaccustomed to the ways of the kingdom cannot be entrusted with the throne until he has had some preparation—just as we need “educating.” We really thought this life was simply about getting a nice little situation going for ourselves, and living out the length of our days in happiness. I’m sorry to take that from you, but you and I shall soon be inheriting kingdoms and we are almost illiterate when it comes to ruling. So God must prepare us to reign. How does he do this? In exactly the same way he grows us up—he puts us in situations that require us to pray and to learn how to use the authority that has been given to us. How else could it possibly happen?
 Key Points

Review the key points for this section.

 
Setting Hearts Free

We were created to rule

Fellowships of the Heart
You must not go alone.
We must have a small platoon of people in our lives who know each other deeply
We will have to fight for it
Like the Treasures of the Kingdom

Our hearts are treasures to be cared for.

Journal Questions

Pick a few of these questions to react to.  Write down your unedited responses.  [wpex more=”Why?” less=”Why?”]We don’t often take time to push the “pause” button. This puts us in a position of having an overwhelming amount of stimulus and an underwhelming amount of time and space to process life. Journaling takes the thoughts, emotions and even actions and captures them for a moment, giving us time to become more self-aware. The more self-aware we are, the more we can connect with God. There are no right or wrong answers so take a moment to write down your unedited response to these questions.[/wpex]

 

We Were Created to Rule

What has your assumption been about what man was created to do?

What do you think about when you think of the phrase:  rule with fierce mastery?
What would it look like to rule with God?
What would it look like to be given a part of God’s kingdom to rule over in heaven?  Don’t over spiritualize it.  Just dream for a moment.  You were made for this.
Warfare Is Where We Learn to Rule

Why do you think it is so easy to have an attitude of passivity when it comes to spiritual strength?

Think about your realm:  your home, family, property, work, roles, etc.  All that is in your care.  Are you ruling them well?  Are you fighting to see that God’s will is done in each as it is done in heaven?
What situations in your life might God be using to challenge you to take up your warrior heart to fight and rule well?
We Must Not Live Alone

To what degree has your Christian journey felt like a solo journey?  If it has been a solo journey, what have you lacked from not having allies?

When you think of a fellowship of the heart for your life, what would that look like?  What would that do for you?

If you already have a group:  What would it take to create an atmosphere of vulnerability and intimacy where everyone knows each other’s stories, speaks powerfully into each other’s lives, celebrates victories and grieves losses and failures together?

If you are looking for a group:  What are you doing to bring it together?  Who do you already know that may be open to following you into vulnerable relationship?

Fellowship Must Be Small

How would you describe the level of relational intimacy you have experienced in groups?
Superficial:  external, surface, limited to information, clichés, limited to study, obligatory
Personal:  deep, sharing fears, emotions, desires and disappointments, authentic, committed to growth, empathetic.

How have you prayed for these intimate allies?  If this is something you want, journal a prayer asking God for what you want specifically.
You Will Have to Fight For It

If you have not found this type of fellowship, you have not found the people or you have a group that has not gone to the desired level, what is holding you/the group back?  What agreements have you made?  Have you considered the enemy’s role in division, isolation and complacency?

Remember again that your heart is good and the heart of others is good.  How can having these two truths as a foundation help a fellowship thrive?
How can you work on your solitude (intimacy with God) so that you can bring it back to your community?  What does this look like?
Like Treasures of the Kingdom

Have you been a canal (always giving, never allowing yourself to be filled) or a reservoir (waiting until it is filled before it is overflowing)?

Have you believed that caring for your own heart is selfish?  What would it look like to be filled and offer out of the overflow?
Solitude

Find a quiet space and time to spend with God.  Ask Him questions and then listen to God and your own heart.  Have your journal ready to capture what surfaces.  [wpex more=”Why?” less=”Why?”]Often times the way God communicates with us is described as a still, small voice. We may be tempted to believe that God doesn’t speak anymore, but what if we just aren’t taking the time and effort to listen. Just like a small child learning to speak their native language, over time there becomes a familiarity and ease in which communication happens.Sometimes a quiet place is a quiet room in the house or a walk in the woods. Allow your heart and mind to be quiet. If you get distracted from God or the question you want to ask, don’t beat yourself up, this is natural. Just say, “Okay God, I come back to you”. Ask the question again and notice your heart, thoughts, images, or words that come to mind and see what God is saying to you.[/wpex]

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Centering Prayer

Get into a present but relaxed sitting position.  Take a few deep breaths and just clear your mind.

Pray:

Jesus, I come to you now to be found in You, to be renewed in You and defined by You.  I give myself over to You, my life, heart, mind, body, soul, spirit and will.  I surrender my will and needs to you.  I am claimed by You, through Your cross and death, Your resurrection and Your ascension.

Cleanse me Jesus, in Your blood, from all sin and shame.  I give myself over to this bath.  I allow all my striving, manipulating, defending, perfectionism, pushing and pulling, sin and shame to be released over to You now.  I confess all these (name any specifics) and ask for a full and true forgiveness and restoration.  I invite You to help me love and accept myself as You accept and love me.

I resist the Enemy in the authority of Jesus and His full work.  I bind away all distractions, all confusion, all frustrations (name any specifics).  I resist all lies against me, silencing all other voices than God, combating these with truth.  Only You, Jesus, can speak to me about who I am.  I renounce all agreements, ties and unholy alliances (name any specifics) I have made with the Enemy or other people.  I bring all evil spirits, named and unnamed, bound at the feet of Jesus.

I ask for eyes to see You and ears to hear You.  I ask for a heart to receive and a mind to comprehend.  I ask, more than anything, to move into a deeper and more connective intimacy with You.  Bring this fragile branch back to the vine.  You are the source of all my life, peace, joy and love and I receive a deeper measure right now.

Jesus, I invite you in and give you access to the deeper places in my heart.  I believe you are already present AND you respect my will and await my invitation to the places I have protected and hidden.  So, here I am God.  I open my life and heart to you.

Printable Version

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Think about the rhythms of solitude and community in your life. Ask Jesus what you can do to take care of your own heart more(intimacy with God). Also, ask Him in what ways can you enhance your rhythms of community (intimacy with others).

Worship

A few times a week pause your life to worship and connect with God.  Recalibrate what is most true about you, the world and God.  [wpex more=”Why?” less=”Why?”]Taking time to worship God by ourselves in our everyday lives is essential to continue to move towards the intimate connection to God that we need. In watching the video, meditation or interacting with some other form of worship is not intended to be prescriptive. You don’t have to sing along, just be present. Instead of trying to make something happen, we want to have a posture of open receptiveness towards what God has for us. We can just soak in the goodness of worship with God and it does something to our hearts whether we know it or not.[/wpex]

Reckless Love
Community

Think about those in your life that have been instrumental in your faith development. Think of those that you have traveled with and those that are even now at the beginning stages of developing a deeper friendship. Take time to thank God and praise Him for putting those people in your life. If you can, take time to tell these people how much they mean to you.
Take a moment to describe your takeaway from this section in the comments area below.  What did you learn?  How can you apply it in everyday life?   [wpex more=”Why?” less=”Why?”]When we share with others our own perspectives it allows us to process in a different way.  When we get a chance to experience someone else’s perspective ours is broadened.  In just a few sentences we can practice synthesizing down what we have learned to a 30,000 foot overview.[/wpex]