Could you really be by yourself? I mean, really by your self – not hanging out in your bedroom, chatting with your friends on Facebook while listening to the latest Francesca Battistelli CD. Could you be alone in silent solitude? Would your thoughts overwhelm you? Would you be bored? Would you be afraid of what you discover in the quiet stillness?
Being alone is different than being lonely. Being alone is about being on your own, while being lonely is a feeling of the lack of companionship and connection with other people. Being lonely is a common feeling in our society. It’s easy to feel lonely in a world that is full of quick connections that exist only on a surface level. But, being alone actually has many benefits.
Push aside fear to find restoration.
Being alone scares many of us. We don’t want to be alone with our thoughts, and being by ourselves with God is even more frightening. What good does He have to say? We feel like He’ll just point out all the bad things we’ve done and remind us how horrible we are. If God doesn’t pick on us, we’ll certainly rip ourselves apart. We’ll count all our mistakes and failures. We’ll recall all the things we should do in order to be good daughters, students, team players and Christians. Plus, are we really all the interesting? Do we really have anything of value to think and say?
The truth is, God has a lot to say to us, and it’s wonderful. He is very kind, good, generous and loving. He desires for us to know how much He loves us and the plans He has for our life, so we mustn’t be afraid of what He’ll say because it will be glorious. Then, if the God who crafted us wants to show how much He loves us, then wouldn’t He want us to do the same? Being alone with our thoughts can be an incredible time to encourage ourselves, heal our wounds and lift ourselves out of any pits we’ve dug.
Being alone is where we find God.
When we spend time alone, without any outside disruptions, we’re able to communicate, unhindered with God. When we’re quiet and still, we’re able to hear Him speak to us. When God is freely able to communicate with us, we’re open to hear how much He loves us and how much He desires for our lives.
Being in a state of solitude is where we discover who we really are.
Once we begin to hear from God, we can readily reflect on who we are and who we’d like to become. Being in a place of solitude, we can see where God wants us to go as well as understand how we’re going to make it there. We’re able to clearly see the goals God has set before us, and the path to take in order to reach those goals. It’s where we discover if we like the person we are, or if there are major changes that need to happen in our lives.
Discovering how to find solitude.
There’s so much distraction and noise in our world, it seems impossible to escape for a moment of solitude. Pure silence is nearly impossible, but our efforts will be noticed and God will reward us for stepping out and taking time to seek Him. Challenge yourself to take at least 5 minutes once a week to spend in quiet solitude. Here are some helpful tips to make the transition from a noisy world to a state of peace easier:
1. Get out of town or get comfortable.
Sometimes the best way to find solitude is to step away from your typical daily life. If you’re able, head out on a retreat or a quiet, secluded place in nature. Since this isn’t easy to do, then consider a nearby park, your backyard or a special place in your house. If you aren’t able to find a location away from your daily life, then make sure you’re comfortable. Are you too warm or too cold? Are you hungry or tired? Are you sitting or lying in a pleasant position? Your discomfort will drag you away from focusing on the Lord, so find what you need to be comfortable and settle in.
2. Find quiet.
It’s difficult to move directly into a time of solitude, ignoring all the distractions around your world. So, transition into a time of peace and quiet by listing to soft music, preferably worship music. This will quiet your mind, heart and body as well as help you turn your focus onto the Lord.
3. Spend time writing.
To further help you focus on the Lord, spend time journaling or writing down your prayer requests. Reflect on what God is doing in your life – what opportunities is He providing you, what is He trying to teach you or where is He challenging you? Write down your answers to these questions. Write down what struggles you need prayers for or jot down your praises.
4. Start reading.
Read His word and ask God what He’d like to teach you about what you just read. If you need to, write down your answer in your journal, otherwise just wait.
5. Listen for His answer.
Sit, in silent solitude and wait for God to respond to your question. He won’t leave you hanging.
6. Bring yourself back.
If you become distracted while listening for God, then bring yourself back to the bible, your prayer list or your journal. Don’t become frustrated or upset because you couldn’t focus long enough to hear God. The point of solitude is finding restoration, so condemning yourself defeats the purpose. Bring yourself back again and again until you experience God’s peace pouring over you. Over time, you’ll become more aware of His presence and time in silent solitude will be easier and more beneficial.
Peace be with you.
Let us know what other methods you use to help you find time in solitude. We’d also love to hear what God reveals to you during your time alone with Him. Email us or sent us a note via Facebook or Twitter.