There are times when I enjoy solitude. With no distractions, I can get lost in whatever I am doing and time just flies.
Simply defined, solitude is the state of being alone. I always feel more refreshed and peaceful after such times.
But I believe there are benefits to solitude other than just having ‘alone time.’ Author, Sue Monk Kidd has been writing books since 1990. In her early years of writing on contemplative prayer, she wrote ‘God’s Joyful Surprise.’
In it she says:
‘Solitude is a time for ‘God and God alone’. Who knows what can happen when we focus only on God. In solitude we sense our deep oneness with God and keep company with him. Solitude is breaking through my isolation into sharing and being in touch with my Creator. In fact we can begin to heal our loneliness by transforming it into solitude.’
Even Jesus practiced solitude during his life and invited his closest friends to do the same:
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place: and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35 NKJV)
Then because so many people were coming and going that they didn’t even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come away with me to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves on a boat to a solitary place. (Mark 6:31-32 NIV)
My best solitary times have been spent with my bible, journal and pen. Sometimes I’ve received direction for my life or an answer to prayer. Other times I’ve written poetry. Often, there will be no agenda at all, just a time to be still and not feel guilty about it. When I’ve been intentional about time with God, I have experienced more peace and joy in my life.
A few years ago I had an argument with my mom. It was a small matter but because of a misunderstanding ended up being much larger. I took some time alone to pray and really wanted to make things right. It was during this time of solitude I wrestled with my hurt and forgiving my mom.
God assured me if I would let things go and be the first to forgive, everything would be alright. That is what I did and our relationship is much better, though we continue to work at it.
To be honest, practicing solitude is not always easy. I often struggle with busyness, distractions and restlessness. Nevertheless, the invitation still remains, ‘come away to a quiet place’ and when I get there it will be wonderful!