Rethinking Solitude

“Being a mom can be so isolating,” Margie shares.

The heads of other fresh-faced moms are nodding.

Then Christie, of older years, adds, “Just wait till they leave the nest.  That’s when you’ll really feel isolated.”  Several women chuckle. Myself included.

Whether you’re overwhelmed by non-stop toddlers or transporting pre-teens to impossibly long swim meets – or  you’re waiting for that text confirming your adult child has arrived at his destination – whatever season of parental life or ANY life you are in, there will be times of loneliness and isolation.

This can happen when surrounded by people.

A social gathering, for example, where you are at your animated best, the master of small talk – so you think. Then the person you’re attempting to engage looks over your shoulder and feigns needing to fill a glass.  When you turn to find another conversation, all you see are people’s backs.   All you hear is genial laughter.

Speaking of turning, I am not a fan of that turn-and-greet thing most churches do.  Where you awkwardly shake a hand, smile, or bid a stranger peace.  It seems everyone in the congregation is best friends with everyone else.  Minus you.

Facebook does not offer any assistance.  Those picture-frame photos of lush vacations and babies with monthly milestones – well, how can you NOT think your life pales in comparison?  Yet if you miss a day, you’ll be out of the loop.  A loop you never had access to in the first place.

Thankfully there’s an antidote to loneliness and isolation.  Ironically, it’s Solitude.

Solitude a spiritual discipline with ancient roots.  The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  In our ADHD, device ridden lives, solitude helps us reconnect with the only one who truly will never turn his back – who is inviting us to “perfect peace”.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”  (Isaiah 26:3)

Ruth Haley Barten, author of a Invitation to Solitude and Silence, says:

Seek rest for your body, mind, and soul. 

Pray for the wisdom you need to recognize when you’ve become dangerously tired – exhausted by life’s demands, to the point where you can’t hear God’s voice speaking to you. Accept God’s invitation to rest in His presence during solitude and silence. Rather than showing up tired for your special meetings with God, give your body the rest it needs by getting enough sleep and exercise, eating well, and drinking water regularly. While you’re spending time in solitude and silence, take deep breaths and let the peace of God’s presence fill your body. Let go of concerns that your mind is trying to hold onto during solitude and silence by opening yourself up to the revelation that comes from beyond your mind – from God Himself, who can speak to you about things that your mind can’t figure out, but your spirit can hear. Ask God to help you quiet your mind and listen to Him with your spirit, trusting that He will respond to your prayer by speaking to you. If grief is weighing on your soul, confess it to God. When your soul feels grateful for God’s love, express that gratitude to God.

So even though those friendly faced church goers cringe when they shake my cold and clammy hand…

Even though I struggle with Facebook-jealousy..

Even though my small talk skill set is lacking…

Hey, the God of the universe wants to have a “special meeting” with ME.  How cool is that?

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