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Seclusion December 25, 2006

Posted by amybeth in Deep.

I’ve had a couple of posts in mind over the last few weeks but have been too busy with exams and then Christmas preparations. One I was going to title ‘Isolated’. It was about how, during exams with my nose in the books and the world shut away, I can feel very alone. And exams are followed by Christmas which, while enjoyable, has an element of isolation for me, a single in a word of couples. But now that I’ve waited, the post I had in mind has been altered by recent thoughts and experiences.

Enhancing my feeling of isolation this year is a sense that God is calling me apart in a different way than in the past. As I’ve been recovering from a bout with overstress and the resulting insomnia, I’ve been finding myself in a quiet, reflective mood, observing the world as if from afar. God’s been speaking to me about the false props I have leaned on as far as my identity and security are concerned and he’s been bringing to my recogntion the aspects of the person he’s created me to be. One of the things he’s been speaking over and over again to me is that I am a writer and as such I must write. I’ve been sensing in myself a withdrawing in order to make time and space for my thoughts to percolate in order to give way to that expression.

Last week, I received an email newsletter. The author shared a dream she had in which the Lord had told her she was pregnant, not with a baby but with a vision he had placed within her. I can’t remember the details of what she shared, but something she said must have been unique enough to stick with me, ruminating in the back of my mind. Then two days ago, I went to see the movie ‘The Nativity Story’ which gives a more true-to-reality depiction than I’ve seen before of what Mary’s experience must have been like as the young woman impregnated by the Holy Spirit with the Son of God.

I’ve heard people talk before of how visions and dreams from God are like seeds planted in the womb and that, often, there is a time of labor and travail to bring forth his purposes in ther lives or ministries. I’ve thought that was a neat analogy but have never experienced anything I would class as such. But then this morning, my pastor shared the Christmas story and he spoke of how Elizabeth had gone into seclusion for a period of time before the birth of John. In many cultures of the past women withdrew from society during the latter stages of pregnancy. Somehow the word ‘seclusion’ resounded in my ears.

And so, I chose that as the title of this entry rather than ‘isolation’. I have the sense that there has been an inner withdrawing, a secluding myself from the hustle and bustle around me for the purpose of protecting, guarding, keeping hidden for a time, that which God is working in me. I’m not withdrawn as in refraining from participating in the celebrations and so forth. But inside, I’ve taken a step back. I think there is something God is doing within me…perhaps a setting free, perhaps a commissioning. I really don’t know. But like Mary this Christmas, I’m hiding these things in my heart and ponderng them. And obeying by writing them down.

I used to fear quiet seasons. I used to hate times of loneliness. I still don’t find them pleasant, but there is a growing recognition within me of the ebbs and flows of life and that the quiet places, the withdrawn seasons, are an important part of God’s timetable as he brings us to a place of stillness where he can speak, as he hides what he is doing in us from the world for a time, until the fruit of it has been established and gathered strength to withstand the gazes and speculations of others.

And so this Christmas, I am in seclusion. Be it unto me according to your will, O Lord.



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