Hi friends! This is my first post on the NEW Living Wellness Blog!! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in writing a guest blog post. We hope to have one interesting/funny/educational post up per week about physical, emotional/mental, or spiritual health. I look forward to your feedback (and welcome your topic suggestions)! Blessings!
My pilgrimage to a Hermitage
I must start by saying that this was my personal experience and should you choose to go to a Hermitage, you may have a different experience as God created us all differently. I say that because if you go and experience this for yourself, I encourage you to let go of your expectations - completely. God is faithful and he will move in your life if you set aside time just for him.
Upon arriving to the Hermitage (an hour and a half late). . . Wait, let me back up. I ran out of gas on the way there. I pulled out of my driveway and my meter said 4 miles to E. I had approximately 7 miles to travel to get to the gas station. Miraculously, I floated in and stopped my truck in front of the pump on fumes. I whispered a silent prayer of thanks to God for getting me to the pump.
I tell you this because running out of gas is exactly how I felt spiritually and emotionally when I arrived at the Hermitage. I was gassed out: tired, overwhelmed, emotionally spent. My bucket was empty. As a health and wellness professional, I'm embarrassed to admit this because I feel some unrealistic expectation to be able to maintain balance at every point in my life. My over-scheduled calendar and my under-filled bucket dictated my peace, or lack thereof. I had given everything and everyone all I had, and I was pretty empty.
Arriving at the Hermitage was the first wonderful part of the experience. I sat down with a very calm man while he asked about my life. It was a little uncomfortable at first. I felt like I was in a counseling session, but I wasn't sure if he was a counselor! I got over it pretty quickly as I started pouring out my tired soul. I told him about the challenges of life, specifically the last two years (sparing you the details for brevity’s sake). I have been saying, "I trust God and not my circumstances," for a while before I was actually put to the test. When a few things fell apart in my life, I fell apart. This was the exact opposite of trusting God instead of my circumstances. I had all my trust eggs in one basket, and it was definitely not God.
Before being taken to my hermitage, I was given a few instructions: 1. Write a letter to God. 2. Let the Holy Spirit lead my time. If I wanted to sleep, sleep. If I felt like walking, walk. If I was hungry, eat. My mentor encouraged me not to look at a clock. He said we were on "God's time." There was no judgement when I had to fire up my computer to shut it down and no judgement about what I brought with me (he did say he was impressed that I got everything into one bag, ahem).
After acquainting myself with my cozy hermitage, I wrote a letter to God, giving EVERYTHING to God: the good, bad, and the ugly, everything that was bothering me, challenging me, and stressing me out. It took a little while to write. I was exhausted afterward. And hungry. I ate a bit of food from the provided basket (cheese, homemade bread, and fruit), and then I took a nap, which felt amazing. When I woke up, I felt like walking. The sun was out (thank you God), and it was a beautiful day.
Walking through the meadow was a little like walking through the Garden of Eden, hand in hand with God (if I could imagine what that felt like). I felt free, at peace, and completely loved. I walked super slowly, taking in all of the sights, smells, and sounds, allowing my senses to come alive for the first time in a while. I would pray and listen, and God would answer. Every time. Every question I had was answered. God whispered things to my heart that I didn’t even know to ask.
I was never bored or lonely. The silence was liberating. There were very few distractions. I felt the presence of God the entire time. Some moments with God came easy and some were more challenging. There were times when a distraction would creep in (swarms of mosquitos) during one of my slow walks. I had to work hard to keep my thoughts from drifting to the irritation in front of me. It reminded me of what it’s like “in the real world.” But every time I got to a place of solitude with no distractions, I would be at peace again. Deep, joyful peace.
I have been back a week now and I have some follow up thoughts:
- I don’t need to be at a hermitage to find solitude or the voice of God. Although, I intend to go back on regular occurrences throughout the year. I can find solace in quiet moments throughout the day—since I have returned, I have been waking up before my household to observe silence and prayer. I like my sleep. I thought this would be much more difficult before I attempted it, but I have come to realize that I enjoy the silent time with God even more than I like my sleep.
- Walking really slowly is when I feel I can hear the whispers of God best. Not sitting in my rocking chair, not laying in my bed, not even reading Scripture. Walking. S.L.O.W.L.Y. I can’t tell you why because I don’t know, but I have tried other things and walking slowly is when I feel connected to God and best able to hear his magnificent voice.
- Not to wait so long before I fill my spiritual and emotional bucket. No one is going to take care of my health but me. I have to be my own advocate, and it’s not selfish to take care of myself. How can I serve my family, friends, or causes when I’m depleted? I think, work, and worship best when I am fully alive. . . Kind of fits the scripture verse for Living Wellness: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV)
You don’t need a reason to go visit a hermitage or to take time away or time for yourself. You don’t need to be depleted, lost, or hurting. Time with God is the reason. Most likely, those of you who are reading this have never spent two or three days in silence. The results of doing this will have an unexpected impact on your life.
I feel like I have a strong relationship with God, and I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. Regardless of where you are in your faith (or lack of faith), time with God is always rewarding. Take action, try it out, you are worth it.
Dear Father God, please bless all those who took the time to read this blog. Please deepen our relationship with you. Forgive my unhealthy disease to please. Let me live my life, starting with my calendar, my priorities, and my agenda, for you. I love you. Amen
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.