Solitude Speaks


After leaving the synagogue, Jesus, James, and John went home with Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once. He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them.  That evening, at sunset, people brought to Jesus those who were sick or demon-possessed. The whole town gathered near the door. He healed many who were sick with all kinds of diseases, and he threw out many demons. But he didn’t let the demons speak, because they recognized him. Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. Simon and those with him tracked him down. When they found him, they told him, “Everyone’s looking for you!” He replied, “Let’s head in the other direction, to the nearby villages, so that I can preach there too. That’s why I’ve come.” He traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and throwing out demons (Mark 1:29-39, Common English Bible).

I am the quintessential extrovert. What that means is, I get my energy from being around people. I love being around people. I enjoy watching people but even more I love the interactions I have with people. At times in the past it has not been uncommon when Cindy and I both come in at the end of a day, and I have spent much of the day by myself, for me to say, “Let’s go somewhere.” Cindy responds, “Where? Then I say, “Anywhere I can be around people.” For me, being by myself can be draining and I need to go and recharge.

I know many of you are the opposite. Being around people is draining. You need to go off by yourself  to recharge. You get your batteries going again from the peace and quiet of solitude.

The thing is, we all need both. For the introvert, being around people is important because it is where we make a difference in people’s lives, being with people is where real ministry happens. But, being with people, performing the ministry God calls us to requires the expenditure of energy and they need to go off for a time of quiet and recharge.

I, and other extroverts, don’t so much need that alone time to recharge. I am getting that, at least to some degree, while I am doing the work of ministry. Still, I need some time in solitude because it is in the stillness, in the quiet that I best hear God speak.

As I type these words it is  about 12:30 a.m. For me (a night owl) it is the end of a long day of ministry. A good deal of it spent with God’s people. But, now that I am home, I need this time of solitude for writing this blog. I need it to cap my day off with a time of prayer. Without this time where I am quietly alone, I would probably fail in the work I will need to accomplish tomorrow.

I am not sure if Jesus was an introvert or an extrovert. What I do know is, Jesus shows us again and again through out Scripture that we need to both be around people and we need time to be alone with God. The lesson above is a perfect example. Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law, he heals others who are sick, he casts out a demon or two and then he retreats to “a deserted place” for some alone time, in prayer with God. And, as much as Jesus seems to love these moments, he knows he can’t stay there. He is back out among the people and at the work God gave him to do.

It seems to me, this is just what we are called to do. We are called to spend that alone time with God but we can’t stay there, and some of us really don’t want to. We have to get up, go back out and do the work of ministry, do the work God calls us to do.

God gives us a way to recharge. God gives us time alone with him. But, we can never forget, God gives us this time but God also expects us to be back out doing our work, making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Have a Great day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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