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David Mathis is executive editor for desiring and pastor at Cities Church in Minneapolis. That’s my experience each winter, sitting there in the deer stand, the only manmade structure in sight.He is a husband, father of four, and author of Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines. I am alone in the woods, it is silent — but for the whipping of the frigid Minnesota wind — and my soul is decompressing from months on end in the urban jungle.Even the God-man himself was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Matthew 4:1), “went out to a desolate place” (Mark ; Luke ), and “went up on the mountain by himself to pray . Sometimes I catch myself thoughtlessly flipping on the radio every time in the car.On occasion I’ll turn it off and try to consciously be mindful of God and pray.You need the spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude. We were made for rhythms of silence and noise, community and solitude.
But there’s nothing distinctly Christian about that.And it can be fruitful to set aside special retreats as well.In my current season of life as a young parent, about all that’s realistic for me is a long weekend in the deer stand once a year.God made us for cycles and seasons, for routines and cadences. Getting away from time to time has always been a human necessity, but it’s all the more pressing in modern life. By all accounts, things are more crowded, and noisier, than they’ve ever been.From the dawn of time, we have needed our respites. “One of the costs of technological advancement,” says Don Whitney, “is a greater temptation to avoid quietness.” And so, many of us “need to realize the addiction we have to noise” (, 228).