With the new year arriving in just weeks, it’s time to rest up and get ready for a new season of life. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the busyness of the holidays! You don’t want to start the new year frazzled and scrambling to catch up.

A single day of solitude might be just the jump start you need to begin a brand new year with intentionality and energy.

Solitude is an essential spiritual discipline. In The Celebration of Discipline Richard Foster says, “The purpose of solitude is to see and hear” (p. 98 - click here for my full review)

Take a decent chunk of time (I say at least 4-6 hours, and more if you can) and head out to a relatively isolated place. Good ideas in the city are local libraries, churches with nice grounds, a botanical garden. If you can get out in nature on a trail, lake, or beach, so much the better. Avoid places like your neighborhood coffee shop or mall.

Spend the time to read a long portion of Scripture (maybe even a complete book) and pray about everything on your mind. Bring a journal so you can write thoughts and prayers down as they come to you. Keep your electronic devices down to a minimum to in order to kill distractions; at least turn of notifications so you don’t spend this valuable time on Facebook and Twitter.

This is an ideal time to reflect back on last year. Ask yourself some questions and write down the answers:

What went well? What challenges did you face? How did they prepare you going forward? What obstacles can you see ahead of you now? How did God work in your life last year to prepare your for the next one? If you could accomplish one thing each in your family life, as an individual, and at work this year, what would it be?

Consider bringing a book other than the Bible, but only if it is essential to your goals for the new year. Otherwise devote the time to prayer, reflection, and planning.

You’ll find taking a day like this to be spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually refreshing.

Start your year off right…start with solitude.