Most people find this contradictory, but it can be so important. Is it extremely essential for someone to be able to really find solace in solitude..? Maybe it is the introvert within me that finds it almost essential to draw back every few days and just take a few minutes to myself, but there is something powerful in finding comfort while you are alone.
In my college church leadership program’s summer reading list and homework, the question of “Are you Lonely?” popped up a few times. What is loneliness? Google it and the first response is “sadness because one has no friends or company.” The second is “(of a place) the quality of being unfrequented and remote; isolation.” And so we automatically think that being lonely is being with no friends or company and isolated from a particular group. In our JCD leadership program, we learned about isolation and feeling alone. We learned that being lonely is the state of feeling alone, and the state can be felt and is not limited to any situation. Robin Williams said it very eloquently when he said “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.” He passed away from suicide caused by depression, and I believe with all of me that he felt extremely alone. Digging deep into what loneliness is, I learned that it is feeling like you are alone, even if it is in the most crowded room. The introvert in me can identify one hundred percent, because I can feel just as companioned, if not more whole, by myself, as opposed to a room full of people with nothing happening.
Lately, I have been challenged in not putting things before God, whether it is hobbies, items, or even the people that mean the most to me. Being whole to me, is having him be first. This is where I find peace, serenity, and wholesome solace. Knowing that I am not fully alone gives me peace, and so much joy.
Finding Solace in Solitude, Huh? This is about drawing back and spending time with God to really re-charge and feel whole once more, through whatever situation and in whatever stage of life I may be in. My encouragement today is to not focus as much on relationships that involve leaning in to feel whole and full. Whether you feel lonely because you are without a significant other, or feel lonely even in your relationship, know that you are never alone, and do not have to feel like this. In John 14:15-31, Jesus leaves, but he does not leave us completely. He gives us his Holy Spirit to always be with us. We are never alone. We can only be made whole through Jesus. Colossians 2:9-10 promises genuine fullness: “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily”
John 14:15-31 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me,31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
“Come now; let us leave.