As a fellow card-carrying member of the club for introverts, I have always believed that social interactions are overrated.
Sure, “company is OK, but solitude is bliss.” And if you’re nodding your head right now in agreement, then you too have discovered the serenity of solitude.
Jesus certainly knew of the riches of solitude, as our Bible tells us that he routinely withdrew himself from the presence of others. According to Mark 1:35, “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (NASB).
There are other examples of Jesus withdrawing from the disciples and large crowds to pray in the wilderness (Luke 5:16). In fact, according to Luke 6:12, Jesus spent an entire night praying to God in solitude.
Jesus made a conscious decision to engage in a practice of solitude. That is, He routinely silenced the world by going to a quiet place to be alone with God. In a world where social connection is as readily available as the swipe of our finger on any smart device, solitude has become a lost art.
Solitude is of great spiritual gain because it allows us to tune-out the world to reflect on our inner feelings, desires, and hopes. It also allows greater intimacy with God, as it creates an opportunity to share our gravest concerns and listen for wisdom and discernment about God’s perfect will for our life.
Many of us desire to experience more of God in our life. We want to be soaked with His presence, guided by His Spirit, and comforted with the assurance that our hands are clasped securely in the hand of our Father. Developing a practice of solitude, just as Jesus did, can allow us to discover this level of intimacy and closeness with God.
Have you always wanted to be closer to God, but never knew how to practice solitude?
Here are a few key components to make any quest for solitude successful:
Be Quiet, Still, and Reflect: The first order of business for creating a space to hear from your inner heart and from the Spirit of God is to remove yourself from the presence of others. Jesus sometimes rose early in the morning to find a quiet place to connect with God. This may require a sacrifice of sleep, but the reward is well worth it. Find a place where you can be still and begin the work of reflecting with God about the matters of your heart.
Prayer, Praise, and Petition: In your quiet time, connect to God through prayer with praise continually flowing from your lips. Shower God with the adoration that He so greatly deserves. Remind God that He has no rival and that He reigns above all. Your prayer of praise creates a tender ear for God to hear your subsequent petitions for grace, mercy, wisdom and discernment.
Listen and Journal: Prayer initiates your end of the dialogue between you and God. However, don’t forget the true bliss of solitude is not just being heard by God, but also hearing from God. So be prepared to listen with the expectation of a word from God. Whatever God downloads into your spirit, be sure to capture in a journal. This has always been helpful for me to retain an accurate memory of the wisdom that God grants me. It also creates a record of my talks with God, which I can refer to when I need strength, focus, and re-direction.
I’m afraid solitude has gotten a bad reputation.
Solitude is not marked by the absence of social connection but rather the presence of a deeper connection with God. That is why “company is OK, but solitude is bliss.”
Here are some resources if you desire to cultivate a deeper faith, so that you can grow more intimately connected to our Father: