Thursday, June 25, 2009

I remember sitting in a restaraunt by myself while I was in college, an unusual event at that point in my life. I was there with a book, whether studying or just casual reading I don't remember but I do remember very clearly the thought overwhelming me that this would be a regular part of my life. I had a sense that I would be live as a single man and to date this has been the case. Whether this was a "revelation" or just a projection because of a lonely frame of mind I can't tell you, I just know that I have never forgotten it.

Some people would call it a self-fullfilling prophecy, others a fear of commitment, still others have various ideas but you get the idea. In all honesty I can't say for certain why I am still single and I don't normally worry about it and often enjoy it. Henri Nouwen wrote that "we are called to convert our lonliness into solitude. We are called to experience our aloneness, not as a wound but as a gift - as God's gift -so that in our aloneness we might discover how deeply we are loved by God."

I believe that singleness can be a gift from God and I have believed that this was the case in my own life. Paul desired it (see I Corinthians 7:7-8 among other verses) for its freedom to be single-minded to Christ. Like all gifts God gives it is given for a reason to those upon whom He bestows it and it is here that I started to worry.

There have been times in my life where I knew that I was able to serve others in a unique way because of my circumstances. When I go through periods of spiritual drought I find myself filled with doubts about where my heart is, whether or not I am living in relationship with my Lord. When I am not, life seems and feels hollow or meaningless. I know that it isn't.

I have enjoyed a degree of solitude for as long as I can remember. My Mom will tell you that I was always good at finding ways to entertain myself. In solitude I have sought the will of my Father and felt tuned to His voice -- I don't always hear it so well in the clutter of life; then, solitude becomes lonliness as our focus shifts from relationship to selfishness.

As Nouwen indicates, solitude can be a very good thing, but isolation from Christ is not. We can seek Him out in quiet places and escape the stress of our lives temporarily by seperating ourselves from our routines. But if we allow ourselves to be isolated from Him we lose our fellowship and our focus. This is my struggle especially now as I get older; I too often isolate myself in my solitude and it becomes lonliness.

Think of it this way: Solitude is like putting a pane of glass between yourself and the world around you. Now paint one side of the glass silver and you have a mirror with which you can see yourself in everything else you try to look at in the glass. That silver paint prevents you from seeing past your own reflection to the world beyond, a world very near that needs His light -- this is lonliness. A mirror reflects light back at us while a window lets it pass through to those beyond ourselves who need it.

Today, let's spend less time in front of the mirror and more time at the window. Better yet, walk through the door and be a part of what you see outside.



At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brad,what a profound truth.Thank you for sharing.Love,Aunt Betty

At 10:21 PM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

What did I see the other day about Brent being a great writer and Brad, not so much?

What did I read about Brad's relationship with God being somehow less powerful than another's?

I remember now. It was the wrong voice!

The voice of truth sounds a lot like the voice I read today. That's the one who recognizes God's sovereign hand and gracious power in times of strength and weakness. That's the one who points others (even a young nephew destined for a martyr's death) to the truth. That's the brother who endured a long travail at Brent and Deanna's side. That's the uncle whose family members all consider him their favorite. That's the friend who takes those amazing photographs. That's the encourager who writes such thoughtful notes. And yes, that's the Brad I know and love.

Thanks for sharing him with us through these days. Praying with you for Brent and his team as they head to Ecuador, then Peru,

in pink
with tender love,


At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for being open and honest. One of the hardest things we can do in life is look inward and admit to our fears and struggles . My journey is a constant struggle to stay focused on God. Thankfully, He loves me anyway.

The lonely days for me seem to be when I am focused on myself and my situation. Thanks for your words of encouragement and reminding me that the door is there if I will just walk through it.

At 1:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Higgins Family,
I just got done reading "I Would Die For You" and I know it's been about 4 years since BJ's passing, but to God be the glory! Thank you for writing the book. Thank you for keeping this blog updated. I've been inspired through reading the book and I am getting back on track with my life. I've been a Christian all my life, but's come to a whole new level. I would like to be able to say "I WOULD DIE FOR YOU!" I'm getting there and I want to thank you for the amazing book you have written.


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