ADHD and the Spiritual Discipline of Solitude

Spiritual Disciplines and ADHD: A Series



“We read in the Gospels that, “Jesus often withdrew into lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). Practicing solitude and silence is an important way that Jesus fostered his intimacy with the Father, from which he heard his voice and was empowered for his ministry. He taught this same practice to his disciples.”

The idea of a person with ADHD engaging in the spiritual practice of solitude and silence might sound like an impossibility, but it isn’t. Those of us with ADHD can remain silent and be in solitude, especially for spiritual purposes. How do I know this? When we ask for God’s help, we do things not with our own strength, instead it is in His power that we are able to accomplish what seems impossible or difficult to overcome.

I will admit that it can be difficult, but all of the spiritual disciplines can be a challenge, this is why they are called disciplines. Anything that is easy and mindless doesn’t require discipline. It will take practice to be able to sit still before the presence of God in silence, but it can be done. Approach this time with God believing that it can be done and it will happen. If you don’t include silence into your time of solitude, it will be fruitless. Silence is necessary to fully hear what God’s spirit is communicating to you.

I find that both extroverts and introverts have a difficult time with silence and solitude. Extroverts are uncomfortable being alone and introverts often mistakenly believe that being alone is the same as being in solitude. During solitude you are not “alone”, the spirit of God is with you. It is a time for you to be with God without involving any other person. Introversion is when you are refuelled while being by yourself and doesn’t involve a spiritual component. This discipline doesn’t include being alone while engaged in a variety of other activities. Solitude is a focus on God, not on yourself.

What happens during times of solitude and silence?

We silence our mouths and our minds so that our hearts can be receptive to whatever it is that the Spirit of our LORD has to say to us in that moment. We learn to manage our urge to control other people and our environment. We take that time to stop and say to God, “I will be still and I will listen with my heart so that I may be closer to you and those around me. I will be still and I will listen so that I may better serve the world around me. I will be still and I will listen so that I may live my life on a godly path with godly intentions.

Our attention deficit will make this an especially difficult discipline to partake in, but it is necessary for our spiritual growth and with the power of God in us, we can accomplish this. We can’t afford to let ADHD take us away from precious time with God. Your time of solitude and silence might only be a few minutes to begin with, but over time you will be able to dedicate as much time as you deem necessary to this important discipline.

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