Today we’re going to dig into the spiritual discipline of solitude. Solitude is not merely being alone. It is being alone WITH God. Those are two very different things. Just like being home alone is very different than being home alone with my wife. The second is relational, beautiful, and exciting. The first is just being alone. Both silence and solitude have a purpose: being purposefully, intentionally with God. Separating ourselves from other things that might demand or distract our attention so we can totally focus on Him.
“Solitude is the practice of being absent from other people and other things so that you can be present with God.” – watersedge.com
When you are alone with someone, you find out just how much happiness and fulfillment they bring you. Years ago, there was a girl in our group of friends that seemed like a great match for me. She was godly, smart, and pretty. So we went to dinner, and once it was just the two of us, we realized that we were both incredibly bored. We brought each other no happiness at all, and it was obvious once it was only the two of us. There was nothing wrong with her. And there was nothing wrong with me (well, actually there were lots of things wrong with me, but none had come up yet). We just didn’t connect in any kind of way that brought each other happiness, and that was very apparent once we were alone. I think that is why we fear being alone with God: because so much of our happiness depends on other things.
That is one reason solitude is so important. It reveals where our heart searches for fulfillment. When we have nothing else, it becomes quite obvious where our contentment lies. Do we truly find our fulfillment in God alone? Or are we still digging wells, hoping to find happiness in a sixth husband? C.S. Lewis said, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there. There is no such thing.” True contentment only comes from God; it cannot be found apart from Him.
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” Matthew 6:21 (ESV).
It doesn’t say that your heart SHOULD be there, or even that it SHOULDN’T. Only that it WILL. Taking time to separate ourselves from everything else besides God is making an investment of our treasure in Him. Solitude is beneficial for understanding ourselves and for investing in what is good and right. Time alone with God is a beautiful thing to be longed for, not feared. Just like getting precious time alone with my wife is the treasure of the discipline of solitude.
(For more of Todd’s blogs, go to toddagnew.com)