A few weeks ago I was able to go on a “Date Alone With God” (D.A.W.G.). God met me and refreshed me in a very special way and reminded me of the importance of solitude.
I had forgotten the gift that solitude really is. As we search out what it means to abide in Christ and labor for His Kingdom, we can sometimes become so busy that we neglect making room for this quiet and precious space for us and God.
We all have obstacles to prioritizing a time of solitude. We may not know what to do once we get there. We may be so worn out that by the time we reach a quiet place we fall asleep! Sometimes it feels impossible to find space where we truly are alone. Or we may actually resist it because we know we’ll face our true self – the ugliness (pain, fear, worry, doubt, anger) going on inside our hearts and minds. What are your obstacles to solitude?
During my day alone with God, settling in took some wrestling and adjusting, and I think that’s ok. Minimizing distractions is important, so for me, I made sure no one was home, tidied up a bit, and even closed the curtains. After lighting some candles, I sat down with my Bible, my journal, and (if you haven’t guessed) Henri J.M. Nouwen’s The Only Necessary Thing, a collection of his writings discussing prayer. What happened next was all God’s grace, mercy, and transformation. I simply came and made space, and God took it from there.
I found this to be true: “It is precisely where we are most alone, most unique, most ourselves, that God is closest to us” (Nouwen). Solitude may take some effort, but it’s worth it. Although it may feel like our inner ugliness (doubt, anger, worry, pride, fear, etc.) literally screeches in the silence, you will quickly notice just how near God is. He can “clean house” as we let all that is ugly in us fall dead against His living truth and light. In that very alone place my most unique self came alive, Jesus met me, and the outpouring of worship from my heart flowed freely once again.
As you think about your week ahead, is there a time and place you can settle into solitude?
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:15-17
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