One of my cherished books was given to me several years ago when I was going through a particularly dark time. Waiting for Morning: Hearing God's Voice in the Darkness has continued to encourage me over the years. In chapter nine (a particular favorite), Cindy Crosby shares her love of nature and fishing. On occasion, she will go down to the pond and fish without bait. She shares that "it gives the worms a day off and offers other folks the illusion that I am occupied with something industrious and worthwhile. There is implied permission, somehow, to sit quietly and do nothing without being questioned about it. It's more acceptable to say, 'I'm going fishing' rather than, 'I'm going to go sit for while,' or even the more lofty, 'I am taking a spiritual retreat for personal reflection and meditation.'" How sad that we must find an excuse to give our souls rest. The personal guilt we heap on ourselves has become so socially-accepted that we fail to see that we are letting the very essence of who we are starve to death.
John Ortberg states, "Again and again as we pursue spiritual life, we must do battle with hurry. For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them."
So take a little journey today, or if you can't do it today, schedule it on your calender. Take a short excursion for the simple purpose of soul maintenance, and give yourself permission to not feel guilty about it.
Remember that even Jesus himself withdrew for quiet times. And there were needs left unmet, people clamoring for his attention, and disciples who didn't understand. Yet, he knew the deeper need was to draw near to the Father and give his soul permission to hear the deeper voice of God. So if the Son of God needed that time, surely you are no different.
I will leave you with a quote from Thomas A Kempis: "The further the soul is from the noise of the world, the closer it may be to its Creator, for God, with His Holy angels, will draw close to a person who seeks solitude and silence."