Loneliness is not the same as solitude.
Lonliness is a kind of negative feeling, as in being around others but still feeling lonely. It may mean you are living an isolated lifestyle. It can also come from just being tired or feeling a loss of vitality. Many times lonliness came because of something you feel in your mind and thinking rather than it being true of yourself, especially if you aren’t isolating. It might be because of loss, or because you feel everything is going sideways.
Solitude is a way of being away from society for a period of time. It may be chosen or it might have been chosen for you. It may be a time you experience changes in yourself; discover things about yourself or your life, without any other distractions influencing you. It’s a time of contemplation and self-examination. It gives space and time to reflect. We all need times of solitude.
God may use one to get to the other, but we don’t perceive it that way. I spend a lot of time alone from friends and family because in many cases, I have lived far away from them. And in this last year and a half, we have all had time away from all our friends and family. What I want to say about that is, God will use that time and sometimes purposefully move us out away for the purpose of getting our attention. He moved me to Missouri for two years to get my attention and to draw me closer to Him and give me knowledge I didn’t have before. I learned that as I worked for a minsitry there. I was on the Potter’s wheel. I learned SO much during that time. BUT…I WAS lonely even though I made friends at the ministry. It was difficult to be away from those I knew all my life, my family, particularly my kids and my dad. However, sometimes that is the way God can really speak into our lives in a big way. He did that for me. I have precious friends from my time there and gained experience I would not have had, and a depth of relationship with Him I would not have had. I saw Him perform big and large miracles going there and while I was there. I became more rooted and grounded in Him.
So what does that closer relationship have to do with you or me today? Let me share a few ideas with you and let’s let the Carpenter hone us a bit with His miraculous skill and tools. If we speak of knowing God, then that means we must allow God to know us in all areas of our lives. That means all those places you might not be willing to show Him. In fact, you may be doing some isolating from God because of those areas. If we invite Him into our lives, we must be willing to let Him into all our rooms. He knows them anyway, don’t you know?? We can’t hide our language at home from Him, or our secrets from our lifestyle, or all those inner things that go on with us…He knows them already. But coming to Him with that, means we are willing to allow Him in, we are acknowledging those areas to Him, and that allows Him to work within you to give you extra strength to give them up. This allows God to dwell within you in a way you have never felt before. When that happens, we are allowing God to work in our lives in ways we haven’t experienced prior in our lives. When we see God working in an area of our lives and see His miraculous works, we gain faith we didn’t have before…we come to experience yet another facet of God working in our lives. He wants to operate in your lives like never before! Boundless even. Stop and examine that paragraph again and see if it rings true for you.
If we want God to live in our hearts, we are giving Him access to our “house”. That means we give Him full access; not just one area, but ALL. He knows them anyway, as I said before. Why do you think we do that? Are we afraid of what God might find or show us if we open ourselves up like that? I think so. We talk about wanting a deeper relationship and feeling closer to Him, but then we don’t open up for Him to work in us. If we don’t, we open ourselves up to the devil using those areas or rooms we keep closed to badger us on a daily basis. I had an experience this last week and I had to walk over to the door of my studio and tell the devil to get out! I gave a kick for good measure using the Word as I kicked!
So if you are feeling alone or isolated, ask God what is up with it? Is He trying to get your attention for a purpose of teaching or correction? Is He trying to help you think through what you are feeling and why? I have learned asking myself questions is a good way to get honest with myself. THEN I can ask God to help me in those areas I discover. If you feel despondent, ask yourself why you feel that way, and ask God to show you what is really behind it. He will. He wants to heal you and open doors to your “house” where you both can sit and have a conversation about it. Can you imagine that? You and Jesus sitting across from one another and chatting about a difficult situation, season, loss, misdirection, sinful act, or whatever it be? He wants to hear from you and He may just bring you to a place of being by yourself, so that, He may speak into your life and help you discover where that hurt started, and now where it can be surrendered to the only One that can really take it away forever.
Don’t be afraid to be alone and enjoy those times of lonliness or solititude to really listen. It can be very beneficial. If you feel you are isolating yourself on purpose becasue of some of your feelings, then it is wisdom to learn why. To do that for long periods of time is not healthy either because other problems can come into play. But God knows the difference and He will help you navigate that journey. Trust Him. Don’t lose heart. He has seen it all. There is nothing new under the Son.
For the love of the moment…