Solitude Isn’t Scary

It may be that after the lockdowns, social distancing and avoiding crowds in the interest of staying healthy, the last thing you want to do is be alone. But as you may have read here last week, solitude is a wonderful and even necessary tool in the transformation of Christians. It’s where we shed all the trappings of things like money, possessions, status, even gender, race (Galatians 3:28), family, culture – everything we are – and come before God in naked, open vulnerability. It’s just you and him, working through your issues, like lack of trust, doubt, anxieties and fears. It can also be a wonderful time of praise and worship.

If you’re afraid to dip your toes in the water of solitude, I have some guidelines for you. And it doesn’t require large amounts of time. You can practice silence and solitude for short periods, although the more you do it, the more you’ll want to do it – 15 minutes or half an hour won’t be nearly long enough. The following five tips are from A Model of Solitude, a handout from The Springs Retreat at NEWIM (Network of Evangelical Women in Ministry, www.newim.org). 

Intentionally place yourself in the Lord’s presence. Be silent for a few minutes, listening with pen and paper to jot down any troubles, concerns, or to-dos as they come to mind. Release them and as you do, withdraw from the busy world, leaving behind its pressures as you create this inner space for listening for his voice. 

Reflect on Scripture. Read a chapter or passage of the Bible out loud, hearing the words as an intimate message to you from your Abba-Father.

Silence your soul and listen for his words. Be still as you seek to hear his still, small voice of love whispering to your heart. Hearing his voice is an art and a skill that develops over time. Just enjoy being in his presence as you draw near to him. 

Write out your response to God. Include any words of encouragement, insights gained, nudging of his spirit, your feelings and experience in his presence. Pour them out without self-consciousness or hesitation. He knows them anyway. 

Pray and praise. Move gently out of your time of solitude, thanking him for his presence. Perhaps end your time by listening to music as you start to re-enter the world of activity. 

Give it a try, even for a few minutes at a time. We can’t all be monks who live in seclusion and take vows of silence. But a little bit of solitude can lead to longer times of being alone with the Lord and might even turn into a good kind of addiction – a hunger and thirst for righteousness that can only be quenched by his beautiful presence.

Author: ttkach

Writer, cyclist, paper-crafter, mom, gardener.

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