Let me start by exclaiming . . . SOLITUDE IS NOT A DIRTY WORD . . . .
On the contrary, it can be a richly rewarding word!
Its enormous value is often underrated and unappreciated. Its hidden worth can be sadly overshadowed by society’s subtle assumption that solitude must surely be accompanied by loneliness and abandonment. Solitude can be an unrelenting place of loneliness for a great number of people. But choosing to spend some time alone doesn’t necessarily equate to loneliness. There are some real benefits to pausing and spending moments alone and free from a distracted world that seeks only to distract us.
For some people, solitude has no purpose. And for others, our purpose is not easily discovered without it.
God invites us to spend time with Him alone—away from the noise and life’s stressors. He desires to commune with us regularly and individually. This is important. Time alone with Him affords us the opportunity to learn more about Him and thus discover more about ourselves. Who better to ask concerning our purpose than the One who created us for His purpose?
When I began to spend quality time alone with the Lord, my purpose (as I understood it) began to unfold for me. It was always true, but during my quiet time of prayer, listening and reflecting, it became apparent what the Lord had been attempting to show me for years prior. Because I find the experience so rewarding, I make silence and solitude a valuable intention in my life. I can’t always get away for weekends alone, but I always find space on my calendar to make sure I am regularly embracing stillness and solitude. There are good reasons for this intention.
- Intentional solitude creates an atmosphere to hear God’s voice. Our purpose has been predetermined by our great God. The only way to truly know for what specific purpose we were created and learn of the unfolding of His plan for us is to spend quality alone in His Word and in prayer. Prayer’s purpose is to align our will with His. Therefore, in stillness and prayer, we have the opportunity to hear with precision. It’s hard to hear with the world constantly vying for our attention. Intentional solitude is a non-negotiable for anyone desiring to discern God’s voice and move forward in purpose.
- Intentional solitude invites God’s counsel for how to proceed. If we want to please God, we will need to follow the plan! Being alone with Him offers occasions that promote obedience. Once we learn what our specific purpose may be, we will still need to learn daily how to fulfill it. When we designate time alone for this aim (to please God as it relates to His purpose and plan for us), we afford Him the opportunity to give us specific instructions and admonitions that guide us in the path He has planned for us. Now we not only know what we should be doing, we know how to do it.
- Intentional solitude gives us strength for the journey. I cannot say enough about how important this is. The potential to become discouraged on the journey can be overwhelming at times. At least it has been for me. There will be opposition. Count on it. Sometimes the opposition is from others, but I would offer that more often self-sabotage takes center stage. Every day, we need His strength to persevere as scripted. Knowing our purpose is only a fragment; continually responding to His love, protection, and provision as we fulfill it is the major component.
We have the assurance that God will speak to us when we take the time to seek Him in the stillness and intentional solitude. At dawn and dusk of a busy day, we need time alone with Him to be refreshed and replenished. Amid the chaos, we are free to ask Him for wisdom, direction, and gain strength to persevere.
Solitude need not imply loneliness and abandonment. It is imperative for purpose! When it is approached as a precious and sacred time of communion with the Lord, we will not only look forward to it, we will do everything we can to create it.
Where are finding valuable times of solitude? What benefits are you realizing because of it? Leave a comment.
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